Le Sueur-Henderson robotics team gears up for competiton - Le Sueur MN: News

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Le Sueur-Henderson robotics team gears up for competiton

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Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2013 9:23 am | Updated: 10:21 am, Tue Jan 15, 2013.

Many students go to extracurricular activities after school. It could be a sport, a play, speech or knowledge bowl. Robotics is an after school activity that isn’t very well known, but it is gaining popularity in Minnesota.

The Le Sueur-Henderson robotics team is in its second year competing in the First Robotics Competition.

“This is the second year that our school has a team. Last year we built a basketball shooting robot for our competition,” Le Sueur-Henderson Schools’ Technology Integration Specialist Mike Sindahl said.

The Giants team did very well in their inaugural year.

“Last year we beat out 26 other teams in our first year, which is pretty impressive. Our robot was named the competition’s budget bot. We did a good job with what we had. Our team didn’t stop after the competition was over with. We practiced all summer. We made a candy throwing robot for the Giant Day parade,” volunteer coach Johnny Favolise said.

Each year the First Robotics Competition sends out the rules and description of the competition six week prior to when the teams compete.

“This year’s competition is a frisbee golf type of event called ultimate ascent. There are five goals and each goal has a different point total based on the difficulty of each shot. The robot can also climb the pyramid in the middle for more points. The robot is controlled with a program that is built by the students,” Sindahl said.

The match lasts for two minutes and 15 seconds. The first 15 seconds is an autonomous period where the robot shoots at the goals on its own. The rest of the match the students will control the robot with a joystick.

“The best part of this team is that everyone is taking part. There is no benching in this sport. There are many aspects of making the robot. The students use skills such as graphics, design, marketing, engineering and budgeting money,” Favolise said.

Students lead the meetings, decide on their own designs and programming for the robot and come up with their own strategies on how to score the most points.

“We have to design a functioning robot ourselves. We work together and use everyone’s ideas. We learned a lot last year and that will help our team this year,” team leader Joey Sullivan said.

This year’s competition takes place on March 28 at Mariucci Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The designing and programming of robots won’t stop there for the Giants team.

“After our competition in March we will be working on robots to help us raise money for next year. We will be working on a hot dog robot that will place the hot dog on the cooker, put it on a plate and give the customer a napkin all on its own. We will use it at events to raise money for next year. We’re also working on our own brand of hot dog. We want people to know that you can’t get a Bot Dog anywhere and that they will only be for sale at our Bot Dog stand,” Favolise said.

Reach reporter Austin Erickson at 507-931-8576, or follow him on Twitter.com @LNH_AErickson.

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