J-L Robotics Team


ROBOTICS:
Robotics schedule for the week of 2/13-2/17/17

Monday & Friday – 3:00-5:30 p.m.
Saturday – 9:00 - ? STOP BUILD DAY.

GHS set to host spring robotics competition

J-L Robotics Season Begins - GHT Courtesy Photo

J-L team plans strategy as robotics season begins
By Arielle Breen ~ Gaylord Herald Times

JOHANNESBURG — The season has officially started. Some sports fans may be focusing their attention on the NFL playoffs, but others around the U.S. have turned their attention toward another game.

The Johannesburg-Lewiston High School’s Army of Sum robotics team started its season Jan. 7 with a new strategy. Coach Ann Greif said last year the team ran out of time for any pre-competition trial runs.

“Now, we have teams where everybody is not going to work on this one thing — we’re going to split up so that it’s more efficient,” Greif said.

This year, the team will split into different focus groups and have better time management.

The team is competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

The 2017 theme is steam punk and combines a Victorian Era setting before electricity where people used alternative forms of energy like steam with a science fiction or fantasy twist.

During the competition, three teams work together against three other teams in an alliance to see which group can climb aboard a steam-powered airship and fly off first.

Bots are required to operate for a short amount of time on their own at first without a remote control on the game field. Then, the competing robots collect gears and softball-sized hollow balls from the field. Players can later use a remote control to maneuver the bots.

The balls and gears fuel a boiler for airships where robots can then pull themselves aboard once the team has enough fuel.

Last year’s competition was a storm-the-castle type of game.

Sophomore Bridget Richardson worked on cutting parts for the metal frame and said this is her first year with the team after learning about it from a fellow student.

“I like to build things,” she said.

The J-L team is looking at strategically preparing, planning and building its bot, and is also focusing on its imagery or brand.

Junior Harley Heidman said she joined this year after Greif invited her and after her friends convinced her there was more to the team than robots.

“I thought there wasn’t going to be anything I’d be interested in in robotics, but then (friends) said (there is) design,” Heidman said. “We’re just the creative group, I suppose.”

The team’s imagery group designs flags and banners for competitions, promotes the team on social media and also distributes little toy creatures to give to supporters at competitions.

Greif said some teams have been around longer than others, but the game is constantly changing as new technology emerges. Thus, there is no guarantee how teams will perform.

“What they did five years ago is completely out-of-date,” Greif said. "It helps to just network with other (teams).”

The J-L team has been around for a decade and this is her second year with Army of Sum, Greif said.

The group also works with several mentors who graduated in the past who help students with the programming and imagery.

“My sister and her boyfriend used to be in it. They’re mentors this year,” junior Timmy LaPointe said. “She asked me if I wanted to join. It turned out to be a lot of fun.”

This is LaPointe's third year with the team and this year he is focusing on learning how to program the robot.

Last year, students decided to go with a dark camouflage theme. The Army of Sum also uses the mathematical sigma sign for sum in the team name.

Students have about five weeks until they are required to weigh and bag up their bots Feb. 21 before the start of March competitions, the first of which is in Gaylord.

J-L Robotics Season Begins - GHT Courtesy Photo

GHS set to host spring robotics competition
By Arielle Breen ~ Gaylord Herald Times

GAYLORD — Forty high school robotics teams are scheduled to visit Gaylord March 16-18 for a FIRST Robotics district tournament.

Angela Zastrow-Thayer, Gaylord High School Devil Bots alternative coach, said some team members are working with local businesses since each of the 40 teams will bring students, coaches and parents to the area.

“Forty teams and so if you figure even 10 people per team and most teams are more than 10 people, that’s 400 (people coming) and then their parents,” Zastrow-Thayer said. “It’s very exciting.”

FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and the March match is the first time Gaylord has hosted a robotics tournament. The event is planned to take place at the high school gym.

Mike Rinke, Devil Bots coach, said the FIRST Robotics regional director visited the school to determine if was a good fit for a tournament.

“They looked at other schools in the north. We were in a good location because Gaylord is right in the middle, so they really wanted our school (to host a competition),” Rinke said. “It’s a lot to put into to have school on Friday and it’s competition on the gym end with 40 teams. It’s a big thing to coordinate.”

He said the hosting team needs to have about 150 volunteers to set up the game field, hand out safety glasses and help coordinate parts of the event.

The team started its season Jan. 7. GHS senior Morgan Armstrong is the team captain and event coordinator and said the size of the team has doubled.

“We’re more organized, getting out in the community (and) getting our name out there,” Armstrong said. “Having something like (the GHS hosted tournament) in our community will get more people knowing what FIRST is. Because (before) I joined the team, I didn’t even know that we had a robotics team.”

Zastrow-Thayer said the team has community members and seasoned teammates who work with other students as mentors.

“Part of this process is mentorship,” Zastrow-Thayer said. “And so you want to make sure that some of our seniors are teaching the younger students what to do and how to get involved with the robot.”

The Game

The 2017 competition theme is steam punk and combines a Victorian Era setting before electricity where people used alternative forms of energy like steam with a science fiction or fantasy twist.

During the competition, three teams work together against three other teams in an alliance to see which group can climb aboard a steam-powered airship and fly off first.

Bots are required to operate for 15 seconds on their own at first without a remote control on the game field. Then, the competing robots collect gears and softball-sized hollow yellow balls from the field. Players can later use a remote control to maneuver the bots.

The balls and gears fuel a boiler for airships where robots can then pull themselves aboard once the team has enough fuel.

Last year’s competition was a storm-the-castle type of game.

District 3

Registered teams are visiting Gaylord from southern Michigan cities like Pontiac, Clio and Ann Arbor, and Northern Michigan locations like Traverse City, Grayling, Alpena and Rudyard.

Johannesburg-Lewiston High School’s Army of Sum team is also scheduled to play at Gaylord March event.

The Gaylord and J-L teams are part of District 3, which comprises Otsego, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Montmorency and Alpena counties.

GHS students said they will compete in the first district competition at Kettering University in Flint before the district event in Gaylord. Successful teams would then advance to state competitions after the two district matches.

Zastrow-Thayer said there are many ways volunteers can help the team.

“There’s lots of ways to be involved with FIRST that people don’t really understand,” Zastrow-Thayer said. “There’s all sorts of other things (aside from building the bot).”

For more information on how to help, contact Zastrow-Thayer at (989) 860-2061 or Rinke at (989) 350-2382.



For more information please contact:
Ann Grief

J-L Robotics Season Begins - GHT Courtesy Photo

PAST J-L ROBOTICS
J-L ROBOTICS 2015-16
J-L ROBOTICS 2013-14
J-L ROBOTICS 2012-13
J-L ROBOTICS 2011-12
J-L ROBOTICS 2009-10
J-L ROBOTICS 2008-09
J-L ROBOTICS 2007-08
J-L ROBOTICS 2006-07

Updated 2/14/17
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