2013-11-30 / The Bullhorn

Constructing a new future

BULLHORN REPORTER
BY ALDEN EARWOOD

Robotics is an intriguing, challenging mechanical engineering field, involving a wide variety of professions. I have always had an interest in the fields of science and medicine, so when I discovered robotics I jumped at the opportunity to explore and learn about it.

At the start of the ninth-grade my two best friends, Matt Grey and Andrew Cahalane, and I were looking into possible electives. We wanted something that could hold our attention, something challenging and novel. That is when I noticed Robotics; five seconds later I had them convinced and signed up. That class was amazing. I have fond memories of time spent with friends, eating pizza and donuts, working while taking a hands-on approach to education.

The second semester was my personal favorite, Battlebots. The Robotics II curriculum was to design a robot that would scratch, shred, flip and pulverize the competition. The robots were covered in steel armor; the overall bot weighing up to 40 pounds (national competitions used to involve 200 pound maximum robots). Robotics became my passion for the rest of the year. Andrew, Matt and I would come in 30 minutes to an hour in advance, stay an hour or two after school, and dedicate segments of our Saturdays to the construction of S.B.O.D., or Spinning Bot Of Doom. Don’t judge – S.B.O.D. was a beast.

I decided to construct a sphere-like robot. The bottom of the bot, which held all the internal gear, would be flat with the armor constructed in the form of a dome around it. The hard part was the outside exterior, which would have blades welded to it, and would spin in a 360 rotation at high RPM (rounds per minute), the idea being to deflect incoming attacks while instantly counter-attacking.

Our brilliant instructor, Mr. Urbanek, didn’t even know how to construct this design, much less make the attack/defend theory plausible...can you say “try hard much?”

Last year at the start of 10thgrade my family and I moved from Buffalo, New York to North Carolina and formed the robotics division as a part of the Science Club led by Roxboro Community School science teacher Mike Czysz. My desire is to give fellow students a fun, hands-on experience.

My goal is to earn money via sponsors and fundraising, so the club can afford the materials needed to construct a BattleBot and create North Carolina’s first Robotic competition.

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