The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

March 4, 2013

QUICK THINKING

Medina Journal-Register — HENRIETTA — The Orleans County 4-H Robotics Club took weeks to design, build and refine their entry in the annual FIRST Robotics Competition.

At this weekend’s Finger Lakes Regional, the clock sped up as a whirlwind of noise, chaos and energy surrounded FRC Team 4093’s last-minute efforts.

New ideas raced from brainstorms to production to the course in just a few hours to attack this year’s Ultimate Ascent challenge.

Each of the regional’s 49 teams went about the challenge, which was scored by launching frisbees into high nets and by climbing pyramidal frames, in unique ways.

Some built robots that worked like souped-up pitching machines, firing frisbees with great force. Others grabbed and clung onto the pyramid’s lowest level, swaying inches of the ground.

Team 4093 opted to go with a strategy that was more King Kong than little chimp, scaling up the corner of a pyramid frame with the intent of reaching the structure’s high-scoring upper levels. 

Their robot was designed to grab onto the frame after a piston pitched the tall, boxy beast on the corner. From there, a hooked track would rotate, pulling it higher — in theory.

“In the first match we were top heavy, it fell over almost immediately ... we’re tried to do a little bit of everything, but now we’re sticking with climbing,” team mentor Eric Seielstad said while the team fixed their robot following match four of Friday.

The team’s young engineers reacted with relish to the challenge, adding an outrigger to keep the robot steady at lower levels.

“The mechanism makes sure it doesn’t fall over when climbing,” Co-Captain Hayden Allis of Medina said.

Then came an attachment centered on the robot’s roof.

“We’re think about using a hook mechanism to grab above the robot,” Co-Captain Allen Sanford of Albion said one moment. Within a 40-minute break in matches the part was designed and installed. 

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