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Colorado High Schoolers Cram For Robotics Competition

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A Poudre High School student works on their robot (credit: CBS)

A Poudre High School student works on their robot (credit: CBS)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) - There’s a battle brewing among dozens of high schools in Colorado — students are building a better robot. Denver will again host the Regional Robotics Competition in early April, but teams have to finish their creations by Tuesday night.

It’s crunch time for 45 teams that will compete at the University of Denver for a chance to go to nationals as part of a science and technology program called “First.” CBS4’s Mike Hooker visited a group of students at Poudre High School who were cramming to get their robot finished.

The robot is being created by a team of 40 students at Poudre High who had to not only design and build the robot, machining many of the parts in their own shop, but also had to do things like creating a brand for the team and working with younger students in Fort Collins.

Now everyone’s focused of making sure this robot’s ready to compete.

“The goal is to pick up inner tubes that are kind of delicate … and the rubber bands in our spokes give it suspension so that we don’t pop any tubes, but we still maintain a good grip on them,” junior Isaak Malers said.
space Colorado High Schoolers Cram For Robotics Competition

But now after long hours — 6 weeks — of robot building there’s another problem to work through. Motors are burning out and sending funky signals.

“We have a 50-foot field and we want to be able to shoot right across it as fast as we can and relatively straight so we don’t go bonking into other robots,” senior Elizabeth Mahon said.

“We’re all super stressed,” junior Gavin Miller said.

Stressed and happy.

“Personally I really like solving problems,” Miller said.

“I just like building things, designing and building things, and working with other people who like to do that too,” sophomore Patrick Amato said.

The advisors mostly stand back and let the robotics veterans lead the younger students.

“The long-term effect is their ability to work with others, to engage in problems that they don’t know the answers to,” math teacher Steve Sayers said.

“I want to be a mechanical engineer when I get older because it’s what I really like to do,” Malers said.

It’s real-life, a looming deadline — more problems — and teammates that know, somehow, they’ve got to make the robot work.

Right now 35 teams in Colorado are doing the same final work the Poudre team is doing to be ready for regionals where they’ll compete against teams from seven other states and Mexico.

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