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Nevis robotics team receives world-class training at Toro

As a result of what they learned at the training, Nevis will be using a different type of drivetrain called swerve drive for their 2023 competition.

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Nevis team members who took part in the Toro experience, from left, were Alex Grundeen, Ella Marotte, Kiana Bjorkstrand, Jasmine Walker, Kael Netteberg, Sarah Boettcher and Natile Proffit (not pictured).
Contributed / Olaf Netteberg
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Nevis robotics team members came back from a recent training “Elevate your game” at Toro headquarters put on by Toro and team 1619 - Up a Creek Robotics from Boulder, Colo.

“Team 1619 was part of the championship alliance at Worlds in Houston last spring,” robotics mentor Olaf Netteberg said. “They’re world-class. Their mentors are Toro employees out of Colorado, but they came to Toro headquarters in Minnesota to do this training. Team members spent the day training students and adults from nine teams and shared their opinions on what it takes to create one of the 24 top robots in the world. After this presentation, the kids were motivated to work harder because they saw the effort it takes to be world-class.”

As a result of what they learned at the training, Nevis will be using a different type of drivetrain called swerve drive for their 2023 competition.

While this year’s game won’t be announced until January, the team has already started holding weekly meetings to start to work on layout for their awards process, studying and learning about different elements of building a robot, learning new components of the robots and swerve drive.

“We’re doing some homework and research in advance,” Olaf said.

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“The Up a Creek team showed common drivetrain elements from the top 24 robots at worlds, and they all used swerve drive,” team member Kael Netteberg said. “We have talked about switching and now it is final, pushing us over the edge, to switch and update our drivetrain.”

Team member Ella Marotte said the strategy and general build advice was very helpful. “As a complete newbie to the program, it helped me figure out what I need to do and really gave me a look into what I want to do on the team and possibly in a work setting,” she said. “I will definitely be applying everything I picked up during Week Zero, which is when the fun really starts up in robotics. For a future career, I will definitely be looking at the super-simplistic approach Toro has taken with their domestic and commercial automation.”

Natile Proffit said the most interesting thing she learned was how the drivetrain the Nevis team has used in the past is not as good as the swerve drive because it has lower traction and is harder to line up. She also learned things she hopes to use in her future career.

“This could apply to me wanting to be an auto mechanic because some of the things you learn on the robot can very well help with applying things to cars,” she said.

On Dec. 3, the Nevis team will be attending a Jump Start training at Becker High School. “It’s a day of classes that are taught by students and we will also be teaching a class on how to pursue awards to build your team,” Olaf said.

“We’re celebrating 15 years of robotics and over that time we’ve won quite a significant number of awards – the Spirit Award, safety awards and engineering excellence awards.”

In January, the new game will be announced, followed by a “Week Zero” 24-team scrimmage at Bemidji High School in February. In March they will be competing in Arkansas, followed by another road trip for a competition in Iowa later this spring.

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Related Topics: NEVIS ROBOTICSEDUCATION
Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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