Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The members of the Orleans County 4-H Robotics Club were excited to find out what challenge they’d face in this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition. Now that they have their marching orders, the hard work can begin.
The team, nicknamed Joe’s Average Slackers, is made up of high school students from across the county. They are working together with a group of mentors to design, build and program a robot that will compete with and against others at a regional competition at the end of February.
They gathered at Kodak Park last week to find out the details of Ultimate Ascent, a challenge that teams from across the world will also tackle this spring.
Ultimate Ascent has a pair of three-team groups competing to score the most points in a two minute and 15 second game. Points are scored either by firing or placing one of many frisbees through targets set a various heights and by climbing a skeletal pyramid inside the 27 ft. by 54 ft. course.
The Slackers are now spending about ten hours each week at RS Automation in Albion to build their robot before sealing it up in mid-February. They will first build a prototype, something the team didn’t do last year.
“We’re coming up with the idea now,” said Medina student Hayden Allis. The basic concept is to eschew a throwing mechanism and instead focus on climbing the pyramid and depositing their frisbees in a goal at its peak. “We’re figuring out how much power we need to lift it up.”
Mentor and mechanical engineer John Redshaw, who has worked with the team both years, said the students have already picked up an understanding of the mechanics of what they want their robot to do.
“They’ve gotten good at working things out on their own,” Redshaw said. “They bring us their theories, and ask ‘can we build it this way?’ ”