The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

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March 8, 2012

No time for slacking off

Robotics team heading to RIT for regional competition

ALBION —  

The local students who make up FIRST Team 4093, a rookie robotics team, call themselves Joe’s Average Slackers. They haven’t lived up to the name lately.

Team 4093, which departs this morning for the Finger Lakes Regional competition at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has been hard at work finishing up their robot for this weekend’s contest.

The team tackled tasks Tuesday ranging from coming up with plans for a “retractable ski wedge” for one aspect of this year’s competition to making sure nothing is being left at RS Automation, the team’s home base, on the way to Rochester. 

The robot’s shooting mechanism, described by team mentor John Redshaw as “like a cross bow,” sat disassembled.

“It’s being reinforced,” Medina student Sterling Allis said. “We’re tweaking some big stuff.”

It will be improved, put back together and added to the main robot, which by rule has sat under wraps since late February.

The Slackers will compete with and against more than 40 teams from Western New York, Canada and Pennsylvania on Friday and Saturday.

The team is tasked with a challenge that includes shooting basketballs through a multitude of hoops, manipulating a teetering bridge and working within a team of three robots during the two minute rounds.

A group of students brainstormed what type of latched mechanism to have in order to push down on the bridge at the start and hold up the bridge at the end of each round.

“To score, you have to have the robot balanced,” Albion student Allen Sanford said.

Four teams will head to the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Event in April — the three-team alliance that wins the competition and a rookie team that is chosen that is chosen based on their robot and other factors.

With only a handful of rookie teams competing this weekend, Team 4093 could soon face a new challenge — making travel plans for the St. Louis-hosted final.

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