The Vernonia team must build a robot that is capable of completing several tasks as part of the competition. The main task is to have their robot throw a Frisbee through a target.
FIRST Robotics is an organized international program that encourages youth to compete using knowledge based in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” FIRST Robotic Programs are available for students in grades K through 12.
The Vernonia Loggerbots Team is competing at the high school level. This is their second year participating in the program.
Each year in January school teams from around Oregon are given a basic starter kit and a series of tasks that will be worth points in the competition. The team must design a robot that can successfully complete tasks of their choosing in order to score points.
The teams will compete in the Oregon Regional on March 8 and 9 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland. The competition includes several opportunities for the Vernonia Loggerbots to compete on the specially designed court against other regional teams.
Quentin Skanes is a sophomore and a member of the Vernonia team, along with his twin brother Ben. Quentin explained the tasks that the Loggerbots have designed their team to complete. “We have to get the robot to shoot Frisbees through a small goal from various distances and climb a pyramid up to ten feet tall,” explains Quentin. Quentin has been working on the electrical aspect of the robot as well as fabrication.
On February 19 the team had to complete the construction, package the robot and send it away to be held until the start of the competition on March 8. In mid-February the team was putting some of the final touches on the robot. In a practice session the Loggerbots robot was accurately projecting Frisbees through their intended target from eighteen feet away and was able to lift itself off the ground far enough to score points. Conner Larke was the operator of the robot, Jacob Eyrrick was responsible for the computer programing. Other students on the team are Bailey Williams, Brad Ely, Meagan Ely, Kaitlyn Eyrrick, Sarah Wagner, Heather Patton, Drew Chaney, Nicki Rainbolt, Tim Jennings, Andrew Jennings, and Garrett Mullikin and Jeffrey Goodman
The VHS students have a group of dedicated adult mentors who have been assisting them with the project. Jack Finzel has provided use of his home shop for fabrication since the school currently does not have a metal shop. Other mentors have helped the students with electrical and mechanical issues.
The Loggerbots team has been meeting weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings, as well as Saturday’s during the day.
The students have created their own website to promote their project. They have already gained sponsorship from NASA and several local businesses including A-Jax Machine, Procraft, TNW Corporation, Intel, Dass Logging, Gwin Logging, and Vernonia Hardware. They are continuing to recruit additional sponsors.