Robotics Club kicks off their season

January 27, 2009 — by Tiffany Tung

After being unable to find sponsors for the first three months of the school year, the Robotics Club began its activities following the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition Kick-off on Jan. 3.

Because of the unstable economy, the club was unable to start in the fall and found itself searching for sponsors to help it fund its annual budget of $10,000. Without the money, the members would be unable to build their robots and therefore be unable to compete.

According to Vice President junior Kandice Wong, one of the club’s mentors, Ken Fukui, arranged for the club to present itself to some local
companies in hopes that they would provide sponsorship.

Festo, Bosch, Silicon Light Machines and Automation Controls were among the companies that the Robotics Club presented to and mainly helped the club in terms of supplying materials and software. Private donors contributed to the club as well.

“Festo, which is a pneumatics company, offered all the pneumatics we wanted,” said Robotics Team IT manager junior Craig Shih, “and Solidworks gave us software to work with, and we had some private donors like Hal Zarem, the Stevens Family and the Pham Family. Overall, we’re really grateful.”

The club has about four weeks to complete its robot after having a late start, and have already begun building the prototype in the Robotics Room. The members will spend approximately 250 hours in total building the robot, which will be programmed to shoot balls into a goal against other robots.

“We need to get out robot shipped out by the end of February to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition on March 12,” said Wong.

For now, the Robotics team is doing the best they can with what they have, and brainstorming for future projects.

“I hope we will stick to our schedule,” said Wong. “It will be rushed, but I think we will be all right in the end.”

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