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High school team preps for robotics competition

February 4, 2019

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Kennedy High School’s Nuts and Bolts of Fury Robotics team were working out the kinks in the design of the robot they’ve been building over the past few weeks for the first time Sunday morning.

Next month, they and other robotics teams around Southern New England will converge at Wilby High School, competing in a challenge called “Destination: Deep Space.” The challenge asks them to make robots capable of gathering balls, which in the contest are called pods, to prepare their spaceships to take off before a sandstorm arrives.

The team’s advisers, including one-time team member Carrie Work, were overseeing Saturday’s progress.

Kaitlyn Giron, a Kennedy senior and fourth-year member of the Nuts and Bolts of Fury, said she and her teammates saw kinks in their yet-to-be-named robot when they first launched it Thursday.

“We saw what can be changed, what didn’t work, what could be improved upon,” Giron said. So the team got back to work on Saturday and Sunday to fix the components of their remote-controlled and partly autonomous robot that didn’t work initially and to get it ready for practice runs.

The hypothetical sandstorm part of the challenge is one of the wrinkles. During competition, a curtain will be drawn, obscuring vision, Giron said.

“You’re not going to be able to see the field,” she said. “Instead you’re going to have to follow a camera to look around and control your robot through that camera . It’s supposed to be like you can’t see through the sand. So you’re looking from the camera as if you’re on that new planet.”

Giron said the four-year journey of going from a freshman member with little mechanical knowledge to a captain of the team “has been an experience.” She started out with little knowledge of how to build a robot. And now she is coaching rookie team members, helping them “figure out those things that I couldn’t figure out freshman year. It’s a really great experience, seeing how others learn.”

Before the team can venture into competitions at Wilby and later in Maine, they must raise funds. So on Feb. 22 they will hold their annual all-you-can-eat pasta and meatballs dinner, the proceeds from which will help fund their upcoming treks. The dinner runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with takeout options available. Tickets cost $10.

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Online: https://bit.ly/2Spj0vg

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Information from: Republican-American, http://www.rep-am.com