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Robotics team enters new phase

By Submitted, 10/18/18 9:46 AM

HOPE – The rules have changed. The Hope High School Robotics Team enters a new competition this year with at the annual BEST Robotics Contest.
Adaptation and innovation are the keys to the contest, according to HHS team sponsor Kathy Knight.
“We have to show everything about our work,” Knight said. “We have to show how everything relates to what we are going to do with the robot.”
She said the concept for the Nov. 3 competition at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock is different from the spring event in that it is not a head-to-head or designed course event.
“The theme is ‘Current Events’,” Knight said. “It is all about cleaning our oceans, lakes and streams.”
Each team is given a specific set of materials from which to build its robot and it must conform to the environmental concept at the heart of the contest. Each team works with the same materials, including plywood, PVC pipe, and other repurposed and organic items.
The students must construct each component of the robot with particular care, because they are not allowed to replace or substitute materials.
The team is required to document every aspect of its robotic design and purpose in an engineering notebook, and must produce a table-top display explaining its robotic concept.
“The biggest part of this competition is the engineering notebook,” Knight said.
Judges will interview the contest performance team and a demonstration of the robot completing its purposed task is required.
The team must construct a robotic concept that solves the problem of removing debris from an imaginary “ocean,” and must relate that problem to a local or area need. The HHS team has designated a cleanup of Huckabee Lake at Hope Fair Park as its application.
The HHS representation of the problem is a Hula Hoop fitted with netting that will hold debris which the robot must remove by moving along a wooden beam serving as a track extended over the “ocean,” and using a robotic arm to extract each item from the netting.
It is a challenging concept, because the robot itself actually accounts for only 15 percent of the total score in this competition. But the HHS team is working from experience with two years of competition under its collective belt.
“We’re ahead of the last two years,” Knight said.
HHS Robotics Team members include co-captains Zoltin Delloso and Katie Hooker; secretary-treasurer Kelsey Reedy; Brenda Ventura, Ally Fincher, Hanna McCorkle, Samantha Bailey, Yovanna Martinez, Mayra Garcia, Jerry Noble, Timothy Rowe, Jalen Pool, Jacob Gunn, Benjamin Knight, Tristain Martin, and Madison Hair.
Parent mentors are Val Knight, Jerry Martin, and Tony Hooker.

Hope High School Robotics Team co-captain Katie Hooker carefully cuts a component from a sheet of wood provided for robot construction. The materials provided are the only materials which can be used in construction of the robot and cannot be replaced under competition rules. Parent mentor Jerry Martin works with team member Jacob Gunn to test the robot body.

A major part of the competition judging for the Hope High School Robotics Team’s fall BEST Robotics contest in November will be engineering documentation. That requires keeping extensive notes regarding the design process for the robot and the thinking that is incorporated into the concepts involved. Kelsey Reedy, left, and Hanna McCorkle get input from robotics sponsor Kathy Knight on how best to present their information.