Nevis, Park Rapids robotics team forming for state competition
Nevis and Park Rapids schools are partnering to create a robot, the life size automaton heading to state competition in April. A $10,000 grant from 3M is funding the FIRST (for inspiration and recognition of science and technology) robotics team....
Nevis and Park Rapids schools are partnering to create a robot, the life size automaton heading to state competition in April.
A $10,000 grant from 3M is funding the FIRST (for inspiration and recognition of science and technology) robotics team.
Nevis principal Jodi Sandmeyer announced the team formation at this week's board meeting. Eight students from Nevis have shown an interest, four, to date, from Park Rapids, she said. Park Rapids will serve as the building site.
The robot will be designed for a specific task, with another robot "interfering" at competitions, she explained. Four team members will control the robot at the state contest.
Peter Dombrowski, Wonewok manager, will serve as team leader, with volunteer engineers, welders and programmers sought to lend expertise.
Team candidates are industrial tech students - "those who enjoy tinkering" - science, math and engineering students and those interested in programming, Sandmeyer told the board.
"This is an exciting opportunity," team member Michael Kempnich told the board Monday night.
Friend Jerald Thomas approached Kempnich to gauge his interest in the robotics team formation.
"Yeah, for sure!" Kempnich told him. Recruiting began.
Kempnich is heading online for tutelage on creating the "complex electronic controller" that will respond to the team commands.
"I'm excited to begin," he said Tuesday.
FIRST was established in 1992 by Dean Kamen (Segway inventor) to inspire high school students to pursue careers in science and technology.
More than 1,500 teams participated in the 2008 "varsity sport of the mind" competition. The Minnesota contingent has grown from two to 54 teams in the past two years.
Saturday, Dec. 6 the students will head to Lockheed-Martin in Eagan for training in team organization, programming, pneumatics, a new 32-bit controller and other issues.
Saturday, Jan. 3, the engineers-in-training will travel to the University of Minnesota for the official kickoff. (The dedicated roboticists will depart at 4 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., respectively.)
Then the work begins.
The students are asked to make a time commitment of three afternoons or evenings a week and one day on weekends during the 6.5-week "build season."
Wonewok will be providing food and snacks on work nights.
April 2, the team will head to the U of M for regional competition. Fifty teams are expected for the event.
Most teams develop a Web site and design uniforms for the competition. "Outreach" - fundraising, mentor recruitment, public relations and communications with other teams - is also part of their "job description."
The Nevis-Park Rapids team hopes to secure a mentoring team - possibly Brainerd - to demonstrate a completed robot and answer questions.
School contacts are Park Rapids Area High School principal Al Judson and Sandmeyer.