FAIRBORN — While combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology, the FIRST Robotics Competition calls itself the “ultimate Sport for the Mind.”
That excitement and competition was on display last Friday at Wright State’s Nutter Center as 61 robotics teams from 16 states gathered to compete in this year’s challenge at the Miami Valley Regional.
Team 3138, which includes students from Vandalia, Troy, Huber Heights, and Dayton, competed in the challenge in which students are given just six weeks to raise funds, design, and build industrial-sized robots to compete in the challenge. The robot built by Team 3138 cost approximately $5,000.
During the competition, teams had to maneuver their robots through a course, pick up blocks and place them in various bins and slots to earn points. The robots eventually face a “boss” to defeat the game.
“Now that we are at the competition, the teams are working with other alliance partners to see what capabilities their robot has, how do they work together, and how they can best compete against the other teams on the field,” said mentor Scott Milligan.
One of the goals of FIRST is to get students excited about STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – by presenting real-world, hands on projects.
Savana Stewart, who is a senior at Troy Christian, did the design work using Computer-aided design, or CAD.
“I’ve known for a long time that I really liked math and science and wanted to go into engineering,” said Stewart. “I really enjoy this and it really confirmed that I wanted to go into engineering in the future.”
Clarissa Milligan is the lead programmer on the team and has been mentoring new team member Neeti Prasad.
“We program in C++ which I’ve basically learned the last three years on the team,” said Milligan. “The robot we built is really cool. For the most part its student-built, we designed all of it and programmed all of it. We have an elevator that moves up and down along with wheels to capture the cubes.”
Students from Butler include Trevor Back, Brice Helmen, Josh Cope, Zach Luttrell, Josh Potter, Matt Heeter, and Gillian Heineman. The team also includes Troy students Anoop Patel, along with Savana Stewart and Nick Flannery who attend Troy Christian High School, Waume student Connor Chambers, and Clarissa Milligan, Neeti Prasad, Chris Dooley, and Kaleb Eshbaugh who attend Dayton Regional STEM School.
Adult mentors include Scott Milligan of Leidos, Mike Gehron (AIMS-CMI Technology), Michael Hill (WPAFB), Rob Miller (Kronos), Tedd Hood (UD Research Institute), Mark Adkins (Worthington Steel), Lisa Adkins (LM Tech), Jeff Lipscomb (UD Research Institute), Ean Milligan (Wright State University student), and Jon Potter (GE Aviation).
The team will be back in action later this month as they attend the Buckeye Regional in Cleveland.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.