By February 21, the rope-climbing, gear-carrying Frankenbot 2.0 should be ready for competition.
“I’m almost nervous,” said Aynor High School sophomore Emily Shibley. “I’m sure we’ll get it done in time, but as anything, you kind of get nervous. I’m ready for the competition to be here.”
The Aynor Buzzbots, along with teams from every other high school in Horry County, are building their robots in order to compete in the steampunk-themed Palmetto FIRST Robotics Competition that runs March 2 through 4.
We have a lot of little stores, and they’re big in giving even though they’re not very big, they do enjoy giving what they can to help us. Michael Lane, science teacher
Aynor High School doesn’t offer an engineering or robotics class, but this will be the team’s fourth year in the competition that draws teams worldwide.
Right now, the robot is a “hunk of metal,” said Shibley, who’s in charge of programming the machine. When completed, the robot will be able to pick up gears and transport them across the competition arena and use a built-in winch to lift itself up a rope. Completing those tasks will earn the team points, and the winner will advance to another round of tournaments.
We’ve got a lot of programming difficulties we need to fix right now, and once we get that done we’ll be about 15 percent done. Emily Shibley, Aynor Buzzbots
“We’ve got a lot of programming difficulties we need to fix right now, and once we get that done we’ll be about 15 percent done,” said Shibley.
When completed, the robot will be box-shaped and weigh less than 120 pounds.
Besides building the robot, team members are keeping a website, fund raising and keeping track of expenses.
Team supervisor and science teacher Michael Lane said the competition usually costs the team between $8,000 and $9,000.
The team gets about $5,000 from Horry County Schools to enter the competition and start building the robot, but other money for tools, parts, t-shirts and travel expenses come from sponsors.
“And we really have a pretty good turnout here in Aynor,” said Lane. “We have a lot of little stores, and they’re big in giving even though they’re not very big, they do enjoy giving what they can to help us.”
What I want to major in is definitely something in computers. So me focusing on the programming on the team is definitely going to help me in college. Emily Shibley, Aynor Buzzbots
The team has never advanced to any tournament beyond the Palmetto FIRST competition, but Lane said building robots helps student learn skills that will be useful later in life, such as computer programming and critical thinking skills.
“What I want to major in is definitely something in computers,” Shibley said. “So me focusing on the programming on the team is definitely going to help me in college.”
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian