Royal Ro­bots for the win

Val­ley well rep­re­sented at Aca­dia Univer­sity’s 2018 ro­bot­ics com­pe­ti­tion

Annapolis Valley Register - - FRONT PAGE - BY ASH­LEY THOMP­SON KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA Ash­ley.thomp­

Trial and er­ror has never been so fun.

Mid­dle and high school stu­dents alike wowed crowds with their use of cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy at Aca­dia Univer­sity’s provin­cial ro­bot pro­gram­ming com­pe­ti­tions hosted in the ath­let­ics com­plex Feb. 17.

Stu­dents were tasked with putting their heads to­gether to solve tech­ni­cal chal­lenges us­ing their knowl­edge of math, en­gi­neer­ing, com­puter sci­ence and au­ton­o­mous pro­gram-con­trolled ro­bots.

Mid­dle school teams tested their cod­ing skills in the FIRST LEGO league HY­DRO DYNAMICS Chal­lenge. High school squads de­signed ro­bots for the head-to-head ROBOFEST Au­ton­o­mous Ten­nis Ball Col­lec­tor chal­lenge.

The top four teams in the high school chal­lenge will be in­vited to at­tend in the Robofest World Cham­pi­onships at Lawrence Tech­no­log­i­cal Univer­sity in South­field, Michi­gan from May 17-19.

“The plan was for the ro­bot to drive around on the table and look for ten­nis balls, and look for wa­ter bot­tles,” said Hor­ton High School stu­dent Ly­dia Wilks, who com­peted with fel­low Hor­ton stu­dents Chloe Sy­mons and Anna Joy Burgess.

“If it saw a ten­nis ball, it would Hor­ton High School ro­bot­ics com­peti­tors Chloe Sy­mons, Ly­dia Wilks and Anna Joy Burgess had fun de­sign­ing a ro­bot for the provin­cial com­pe­ti­tion hosted at Aca­dia Univer­sity Feb. 17.

pick it up and put it into its box on the back. If it saw a wa­ter bot­tle, it would turn and push it off of the table.”

The goal was to de­sign a ro­bot that would ul­ti­mately col­lect all of the ten­nis balls and drop them into a box at the end of the table be­fore the timed event was over. In many cases, things didn’t go quite as planned when the ro­bots were in ac­tion but tweaking things in be­tween rounds and try­ing again was all part of the fun.

“I en­joy try­ing to fig­ure out how the ro­bot is go­ing to think about things so I can get it to do se­quences of ac­tions and get it to re­mem­ber things it’s done to af­fect things fur­ther on,” said Burgess.

“It took a long time to build that and we sort of ended up spend­ing too long build­ing and we didn’t have enough time to make a re­ally pol­ished pro­gram, so that was our main prob­lem,” Wilks added.

None­the­less, the ro­bot­ics com­peti­tors were all smiles as they col­lab­o­rated to work out the kinks.

“The chal­lenge and find­ing a way to solve it is pretty cool,” said Sy­mons.


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