Robotics after school
For six weeks in January and February, the Vortechs robotics team has been working tirelessly to build, complete and test their robot.
This year, team consists of 15 high school students from Lincoln, Woodcreek and Whitney high schools and several homeschooled students. It is a countywide project run through 4-H. The students meet after school three or four days a week at the Lincoln High School Farm with adult mentors and coaches supervising and helping along the way. Connie Scheiber, 4-H project leader, said although it is too late to join this year, any Placer County high school student who is willing to join 4-H is welcome to be a part of the team. Tom Toy teaches math, chemistry and agricultural chemistry at Lincoln High School and is also a mentor for the Robotics Team. He is also a founding member of a countywide, alternative Science fair called the STEM Expo.
“I supervise team members on shop safety and facilitate their innovative ideas giving my perspective and experience,” said Toy.
There are three groups in the team: programming, electronics and build.
The programming team works on code and computers to come up with right constructions or robot. The electronic team works with the motors, wires and some of the other systems. And the build team operates the physical frame, design and attachments on the robot. The team’s current project is an elevator that can move around the room to lift cubes or crates and set them on scales on different levels.
Eddie Scheiber is a Lincoln High School senior and this is his fourth year on the robotics team.
“I just like mechanics and stuff and building it; taking all the components and putting them together … it’s like Legos.” Scheiber hopes to attend Cal Poly and study agricultural engineering. His brother, Jimmy Scheiber, is a sophomore at Lincoln high and hopes to study computer science after graduating from high school.
“I like when we work with the gyroscope and motor encoders,” he said.
These components allow the robot to move autonomously, having been programmed to perform certain functions.
On March 23 and 24, the Vortechs will present their machine at the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition at UC Davis. The competition consists of more than 3,600 teams and 90,000 high school students from around the world with adult mentors and coaches. Teams are judged on a variety of levels including industrial design, innovation in control, excellence in engineering, team spirit and more. The Finalist Award celebrates the alliance that makes it to the final match; and the winner is the team that wins the final match of the competition. Although the team gets closer to the top 10 each year, they have won the Judges’ Award twice. The Judges’ Award is based on a team’s unique efforts, performance or professionalism.