Robotics Club: Building Their Way to the Top

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By Nikolai Saporoschetz

The Hopkinton High School Robotics Club is a team of 25 students who work together to design and create robots with the goal of submitting a robot to the For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology robotics competition (FIRST) at Boston University.

Rish Shadra, junior, is a three year member and lead programmer for the Robotics Club and is working with his team to design robots for the 2014-2015 school year. Photo by Nikolai Saporoschetz.
Rish Shadra, Junior, is a three year member and lead programmer and is working with his team to design robots for the FIRST Robotics Competition
Photo by Nikolai Saporoschetz.

Hopkinton High School teacher Michael Mcfarland has been in charge of the Robotics Club for two years and his intent in running the club is, “to let the club be a student run organization. I let the leaders of club know what needs to be done and expect that they accomplish or delegate the tasks. The club appeals to students who enjoy the challenges presented by designing building and programming robots. Students tend to be creative, energetic, and possess communication skills” he says.

Hopkinton’s team has advanced to the most highest level in the competition over the past three years, “This year will be our second year participating in the FIRST Robotics competition (FRC). Until last year, we competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). FRC is a more advanced level of competition with more skilled and experienced teams”, says Junior Evan Goldstein.

The way the design process works is a direct reflection of how the group enjoys working together. Goldstein says that, “We sit down as a whole team and brainstorm together. There are always many ideas of what will work, and the final design usually reflects a combination of the ideas.”

Goldstein has been a member of the robotics club for three years. He is one of the lead engineers for the club along with his partner Kyle Heavy. “Our roles are determined by skill. Kyle and I are best at building and design.” says Goldstein.

The robotics club constructs machines designed specifically to complete certain tasks. For example, “We have made a couple robots during my time with the team, one of these robots was made to throw a large ball through a vertical hoop or over a bar, this was the goal of the 2013-2014 FIRST robotics competition”, says junior Rish Shadra. The Hopkinton robotics club will submit their second robot to the FRC competition this school year.

Evan Goldstein, junior, is a three year member and co-leading engineer of the Robotics Club and is working with his team to design new robots for the 2014-2015 school year. Photo by Nikolai Saporoschetz.
Evan Goldstein, junior, is a three year member and co-leading engineer of the Robotics Club and is working with his team to design new robots for the 2014-2015 school year.
Photo by Nikolai Saporoschetz.

Although FRC does not release the task for this years competition until January, the group still meets to design robots all school year because there is more to the club than the competition aspect.

Matt Joseph, two year member and safety advisor for the club says that, “The main purpose of the club is to have fun building things that move”.

Although victory may seem important the team does not participate just to win,”Winning is great, but really our main goal is to have fun. None of us are on the team because we desperately want to be the world champion team. We are on the team because we enjoy the challenge, we enjoy building and programming the robot, and we enjoy working with each other”, says Goldstein.

The club meets every Wednesday after school from 2 p.m. to about 4 p.m. in room C206.

 

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