Thanks to television shows, robotics competitions are commonly assumed to be fights to the (robotic) death, but this is a misconception. Really, the goal is not annihilation, just getting a robot to do a certain task. This year, NLA’s Robotics Team is convening to build a better robot once more. The season began with a mock kickoff where students went to the University of Minnesota to get some helpful tips for building the robot; now the team awaits instructions for this year’s competition.
The team will see a few changes in its second year, according to coach Paul Good, who teaches physics and robotics at NLA. Membership is up to 17 members and several of them are veterans, full of great knowledge and experience from last year. Also, previously, NLA teamed up with Forest Lake High School and was FLASH/NLA, but this year NLA is its own team. This eliminates the extra stress caused by trying to get over to the other school. Also, there has been a change in competition; last year, the team competed in Minneapolis, but will be traveling instead to Duluth this season.
One thing the team plans on doing differently is “making sure we know all the rules and not have so many complications,” said Hannah Quarnstrom (10), a veteran of last year’s competition.
What the robot’s goal for year hasn’t been revealed, but if Good had to guess, he thought the robot “…would have to pick up some sort of objects and transport them.” Last year’s goal was throwing disks into a goal, because breaking a $10,000 machine is not something the team wants to be doing. Once the goal is revealed on the official kick-off, then the team has 6 weeks to build the robot to tip top condition.
The year has started out well for robotics, and the student body wishes them good luck at their competition which will take place in Duluth March 6-8.