In the Multimedia classroom, we often hear activity coming from the classroom adjacent to us, which we learned was the Robotics class. From drones flying down the hallway to cheers after a project is finished, theirs is a lively class. Last week, my classmate and I spent the morning taking pictures of this class, and found a  class hard at work with various different projects. The next day, we interviewed their program supervisor Alex Jones about how their competitions and classroom work. 

How would Robotics competitions normally work?

It depends if we’re here or not, sometimes we’ll go out of state, sometimes we’ll be here. We usually have two teams every year. We go to the competitions, get the robots inspected, and then we’ll compete with whatever game we’re doing that year. Whoever wins then gets to go to States. 

Due to Covid, what are some changes that there have been in the competitions?

Actually going to the competitions, now we just have to stay here and do zoom calls and record our runs and stuff like that. 

For the competitions, do you have to do a lot of the stuff on the spot or do you get any forewarning about what you might have to do?

We get some forewarning, basically we’re playing a game. Like this year we had balls in a pit and we’d collect them with a lever or whatever, and then we’d just show them over a zoom call or recording that we can do it, and we’d get a certain amount of points that would contribute to us going to states and stuff like that.

What are some of the requirements and restrictions on the robots for the competitions?

We can’t have it be over a certain size, can’t have sharp pieces sticking out, can’t have over a certain amount of motors, no graffiti or offensive art or anything like that.

For a given year, how many competitions are there?

It depends on how far you go. I think there’s four competitions when you start, and if you get far enough you go to states and then worlds, where it’s like against countries all over the world, but it depends on how good you are.

How did the class work when we were remote? Were there any substantial changes?

We had to take a box of our stuff, like pieces of our robots and stuff like that, and if we had any projects we’d have to set them up in our own home. Like we had a couple projects where we had to set up courses in our kitchens and stuff like that, and we had them (the robots) knock over cereal boxes, easy stuff like that so that we could still be learning. 

What projects are you guys working on right now?

Currently, we’re working on our drone project, our FANUC licenses, and our drone licenses.

If you’d like to be a part of the Robotics program, apply today. There are still openings for the 2021-2022 school year.

Story by Sofia Cummings, of the Multimedia Publishing class.