Port Aransas High School to host Robotics Day Oct. 13
Get a sneak preview of a robot in action on Tuesday, Oct. 13, when the Port Aransas High School Island Robotics Team hosts Robotics Day in Port A.
The event is a warm-up to the real competition in Kingsville on Saturday, Oct. 24.
The program is designed to get youths into fields of engineering and science by challenging them with the design and construction of a robot that must perform in a contest.
The team’s challenge is to produce hydrocarbon-based fuels: Ethylene, benzene, naphtha and isooctane.
“Scoring is based on inventory of game pieces collected and of fuels produced. Individual pieces are worth nothing,” according to team member Cheyenne Cowen.
The team will build a robot capable of attempting to collect four different objects, each representing the elements: H20, catalyst, energy and CO2.
“Different combinations of the elements create the different fuels. Different fuels score points for the team,” according to team sponsor Monica Sonnier.
The students are creating a robot that will move from a starting position onto a field to collect the water (or racket balls), while energy (6-ounce tomato paste cans) must be retrieved by lifting a lever from a rotating dispenser in the center of the field.
A vertical tube is positioned at each corner of the field. When the robot presses a button on the tube, tennis balls (catalyst) are released. The tube shoots them across the field, and the robot must retrieve the balls or catch them as they are released.
Finally, carbon dioxide (represented by beach balls that move up, down and side to side) is suspended above the field.
The tasks do not have to be performed in a specific order, nor does each task have to be performed in each round.
The team can choose to collect only one item per round, and receive points at the end of the fourth round, because the scoring is based on the total elements collected throughout the game, and not in a particular round, which is new to this year’s game.
“A team could drop from first to last place in one round depending on the strategy teams are using to collect items. It works the other way, also. If a team chooses to select one item per round, they will have no score until four elements are in their retaining bin. Then they could possibly have a large score, knocking others off the scoreboard. This competition is going to be highly stressful, with the scores fluctuating so radically,” said team member John Eggleston.
The team kicked off the season Sept. 12 at Texas A&M University-Kingsville at the Coastal Bend BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) where they were given supplies provided to each team in the competition to build the robot to meet the assigned challenge.
Members of the team in addition to Cowen and Eggleston are Connor Collins, Kristen Krause, Katie Voyles, Brittany Feritti, Jessica Etheridge, Jonathon Salmon, Nick Lance, Cody Angel and Ryan Minor.
“This year’s competition is intricate, creative and requires strategic planning,” Sonnier said.