Archived Story

Dolly Edwards: Driving a robot requires skill with a competitive edge

Published 12:21am Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Being a driver on a robotics team opens some unique opportunities.

Last March, I had the chance to be a driver on the rookie high school robotics Team 4409 out of Lake Michigan College. We competed in two competitions and made it to the quarterfinals in our first district competition.

Driving a robot sounds scary and complicated, but it’s actually cool. In the competition, we could balance with another robot to get cooperation points, which increased our ranking.

Balancing can be really scary, because everything can go wrong. In one match, we were balancing with another team and their chain got stuck on the bridge and their battery died. They started sliding down the bridge, and we only had two out of six wheels on the bridge. Somehow, we managed to push their 130-pound robot back up on the bridge and balance it perfectly, with only two wheels.

When you’re on the field, your head clears up, and all you can think about is your upcoming match. Then, the crowd cheers and you get pumped up. Then that moment come, when the buzzer rings, and it’s your turn to step up and go for the gold. That’s when the real magic happens, representing your hometown and making your coach proud.

Involvement in robotics opens students’ eyes to engineering and improves teamwork skills. Not to mention how fun it is.

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