Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wayne Robotics Team Bound for the State Championships

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wayne Robotics Team Bound for the State Championships

Article excerpt

WAYNE - Wayne's robotics team will head to state championships in a few short weeks with their homemade robot ready to brave the "vortex."

Each year the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition sports a different "game" for which students must design and build a custom robot in order to play. This year's game, called "velocity vortex" tasks robots with pushing and tossing wiffle-like balls into goals for points on a 12- foot playing field. Robots must also activate beacons lining the field and can cap the rotating vortex with a large ball for a point bonus.

Last year's game, Wayne's first year of participation, also saw the teens to state championships, which is followed by a world championship. Last year a malfunction in their robot resulted in heartache for the team, but this year they've resolved to make careful adjustments and perfect their robot with more time to spare.

"We're pretty confident," said Riya Patel.

The majority of the 10-person team are from Wayne Hills High School, however the team also includes a student from Wayne Valley High School, and two eighth graders from district middle schools.

Their mantra is "use what we've learned in school," according to Sunny Patel, one of the team's captains.

Team members counted courses in physics, math as well as auto CAD which help inform their robot design. Coach Robert Yost, Wayne Hills applied technology teacher previously served as a FIRST judge before beginning his own team in Wayne

In the back room of the workshop, senior Isabella Moran demonstrated how an idea can quickly become a prototype with the help of a laser cutter. Moran, a future engineer who also volunteers in the James Fallon Elementary School Lego Robotics program, said she often makes custom orders of keychains and other items for students on wood, acrylic and other materials using the machine.

Matt Riina, a junior, said the team's use of the program Solid Works allows them to draft and quickly 3D print or laser cut design parts to prototype, while CAD lets students test weight and force thresholds on designed pieces. …

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