Niles robotics team prepares for world championships

Tristan Millar and Sam Jager work on their robot as they repair for the VEX Worlds championship competition. Millar, Jager and Daniel Brennan compete on Michiana Youth Robotics’ VEX team, which meets at the Brandywine Innovation Academy. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)

Tristan Millar and Sam Jager work on their robot as they repair for the VEX Worlds championship competition. Millar, Jager and Daniel Brennan compete on Michiana Youth Robotics’ VEX team, which meets at the Brandywine Innovation Academy. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)

A week after finishing second at a state robotics competition, Michiana Youth Robotics team members were already making adjustments to their machine in preparation for their next big challenge.

“There is still room for improvement,” said Tristan Millar, of Niles.

Millar, Daniel Brennan, of Niles, and Sam Jager, of Stevensville, make up Michiana Youth Robotics’ VEX Team 4911, which meets every week at the Brandywine Innovation Academy in Niles.

The gymnasium in which they work is filled with metal parts, motors and tools — all things they used to design, build and program their robot to shoot balls into a secured net for points.

Millar is a freshman at Niles New Tech, while Brennan and Jager are in homeschool programs.

All three said they are interested in pursuing some form of engineering.

Coach Meg Edwards said VEX competitions give them a head start.

“It is great for the kids,” she said. “They are having experiences that teach them life skills that will help them grow into engineers and create a better future for us all.”

Since the season began in September, VEX Team 4911 has won two competitions against a field of other middle and high school teams across the state.

Their efforts secured them admittance into the 2016 VEX Worlds competition, which will be held April 20-26 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Edwards said it would feature more than 450 teams from around the world, including China and Taiwan.

“I am looking forward to learning new ideas from other teams on how to build our robot,” Tristan said. “Maybe we will do better next year because of it.”

The team is in the process of raising funds to help pay for the cost of attending the tournament.

Members and the team robot will be selling Krispy Kreme Donuts at Tractor Supply in Niles from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

An online fundraiser can be found by at: www.indiegogo.com/projects/send-vex-team-4911-to-create-us-championship#/

Michiana Youth Robotics, a non-profit organization based in Niles, offers several different robotics related programs for children ages 6 and older.

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