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Robotics Club works to create a robot that can play catch

POSTED: February 19, 2014 1:00 p.m.
Zac Taylor/Barrow County News

Students and mentors of the Barrow Robotics make final preparations for their robot, which will be in competition in March. The robot is tasked with launching a big fitness ball as well as catching the ball while on the move.

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The Barrow Robotics team worked against the clock and the inclement weather to design a robot capable of playing catch with, and shooting into a goal, a 2 ft. diameter fitness-type ball.

And they had to have the robot finished in time for the team’s first ever USA First robotics competition March 27 at the World Congress Center in Atlanta.

It’ll be another first for the first-year club, which currently combines students from the county high schools as well as homeschoolers who are interested in technology. It’s not even just for those looking to build robots and the like; the club also has a student who is tasked with marketing the club and even fundraising.

"It takes a lot of dedicated kids," said Apalachee High teacher Matthew Flanders one of the club mentors, whose engineering and technology classroom the high-school age students in the group have used to build the robot.

Flanders is one of a number of mentors on the team, along with county extension coordinator and 4H leader Wanda McGlocklin, engineer Marty Feeney and others leading a team of roughly 16 students.

Next year the club will move its headquarters to the Sims Academy of Innovation and Technology, where it will fit in with the Mechatronics classes to be offered at the career academy, set to open in the fall.

Until then, the rookie robotics team has a chance to get its feet wet.

The deadline to finish and bag up the robot was Tuesday, but by the weekend they were already posting video of a scrimmage with another robot.

Before that scrimmage came a lot of hard work; first building a base that can move around and then, the hardest part, the arms.

"We’re working on the arms now, and that’s the hard part," Flanders said.

The base of the robot, which moves the robot, had already been built earlier in the process, but the arms, which need to both launch and catch a ball, took until the end to perfect.

Now, though, the robot is done and all that’s left is the competition, where the Barrow robot will team up with a number of different robots throughout the competition.

Barrow Robotics is one of 65 teams in the state.

To follow the team,



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