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Decorah High School Robotics Club hosting competition this coming Saturday

Posted: Sun, Nov 12, 2017 11:11 AM
(From L-R): Jordan Sabanish, David Jensen, Isaac Roberts, Ben Flack, and Bryan Anderson showing off their first successful attempt at building a clamp to help with the foam cube glyphs.

The Decorah High School Robotics Club with host its second annual "First Tech Challenge Robotics Competition" Saturday in the Decorah High School gym.

Registration and robot inspection will begin at 10:00 a.m. with matches slated to begin around noon and running to about 4:00 p.m. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend to watch the two Decorah Robotics teams compete with other clubs from around Northeast Iowa.

The Decorah Robotics Club consists of two teams: The Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men & Women and The Norwegian Ninjas.  Both teams participate in a program called "First Tech Challenge."

At the beginning of the year, teams comprised of 6th 12th grade students from around the world are given an obstacle course scenario. Teams then design, build, and program an 18 x 18 x 18 inch robot that they can control in order to score as many points as possible within that scenario. The obstacle course this year, named First Relic Recovery, is modeled after situations archaeologists face.

Matches are completed in a 2 team versus 2 team format and include a 30 second autonomous period (students have to have pre-programmed the robot to move in a certain way) and then a 2 minute driver-controlled period where students have programmed the robot to respond to controllers they have on the sideline. Teams score points by recovering relics, picking up glyphs (large foam cubes) arranged in different patterns, and balancing the robot on a balancing board. The most points are awarded to the team whose robot can complete a special pattern with the foam cubes or place a relic in the third recovery zone, forty-eight inches away from the playing field.