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Valley well represented at Acadia University’s 2018 robotics competition


WOLFVILLE - Trial and error has never seeemed so fun.

Middle and high school students alike wowed crowds with their use of cutting edge technology at Acadia University’s provincial robot programming competitions hosted in the athletics complex Feb. 17.

Students were tasked with putting their heads together to solve technical challenges using their knowledge of math, engineering, computer science and autonomous program-controlled robots.

Middle school teams tested their coding skills in the FIRST LEGO league HYDRO DYNAMICS Challenge. High school squads designed robots for the head-to-head ROBOFEST Autonomous Tennis Ball Collector challenge.

The top four teams in the high school challenge will be invited to attend in the Robofest World Championships at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan from May 17-19.

“The plan was for the robot to drive around on the table and look for tennis balls, and look for water bottles,” said Horton High School student Lydia Wilks, who competed with fellow Horton students Chloe Symons and Anna Joy Burgess.

“If it saw a tennis ball it would pick it up and put it into its box on the back. If it saw a water bottle, it would turn and push it off of the table.”

The goal was to design a robot that would ultimately collect all of the tennis balls and drop them in a box at the end of the table before the timed event was over. In many cases, things didn’t go quite as planned when the robots were in action but tweaking things in between rounds and trying again was all part of the fun.

“I enjoy trying to figure out how the robot is going to think about things so I can get it to do sequences of actions and get it to remember things it’s done to affect things further on,” said Burgess.

“It took a long time to build that and we sort of ended up spending too long building and we didn’t have enough time to make a really polished program, so that was our main problem,” Wilks added.

Nonetheless, the robotics competitors were all smiles as they collaborated to work out the kinks.

“The challenge and finding a way to solve it is pretty cool,” said Symons.

Winners of the 2017/18 Robot Programming Competition:

FIRST® LEGO® League (ages 9 to 14):

Champion first place – Royal Robots – Annapolis West Educational Centre

Champion second place – Armbrae Dragonites– Armbrae Academy

Robot Performance Award first place – Royal Robots – Annapolis West Educational Centre

Robot Performance Award second place – Armbrae Robobits - Armbrae Academy

Mechanical Design Award - KES - King’s-Edgehill School

Programming Award – Hippie lEgo loV3rs –Halifax Neighbourhood Team

Strategy and Innovation Award – Bedford Academy Broncos – Bedford Academy

Core Values Inspiration Award – 21st Century Space Guys – Kentville Neighbourhood Team

Core Values Teamwork Award – EPEC – Eastern Passage Education Centre

Gracious Professionalism Award – Axe Robotics – Wolfville Community Team

Project Research Award – Shambhala Shadow-Sparks – Shambhala School

Project Innovative Solution Award – Shelburne Rebels – Shelburne Regional High School

Project Presentation Award – Legobolts – Trenton Middle School

Judges’ Award Rising Star – Moo Moo Steam – Rothesay Netherwood School, N.B.

Global Innovation Award Team Nominee (certificate) – Armbrae Dragonites – Armbrae Academy

Young Adult/Youth Mentor Volunteer Award – Corey Jackson – Northeast Kings Education

Centre

ROBOFEST® High School Robotics Competition (ages 14 to 18):

 (tennis ball challenge)

First – Royal Robots – Annapolis West Educational Centre

Second – Robust Legocy – Horton High School

Third – King’s-Edgehill School 5 – King’s-Edgehill School

Fourth – Horton High Robats - Horton High School

BottleSumo

• First – Royal Robots – Annapolis West Educational Centre

• Second– Horton High Robats – Horton Community Team

Outstanding Rookie Coach Award:

• (FIRST® LEGO® League) – Aaron Adams – Bedford Academy Broncos

• (ROBOFEST®) – Mary-Ellen Wilcox, Rothesay Netherwood School, N.B.

Outstanding Coach Awards:

• (FIRST® LEGO® League) – J’aime & Mark Steele – hippie lEgo loV3rs

• (ROBOFEST®) – Ted Champion, The Flaming Pink Flamingos - NKEC

Lynn Chipman Memorial Outstanding Volunteer Award: Joe Cross, Michelin

Karen Wilder Award – In recognition of perseverance, resilience and courage in overcoming

challenges. (named after the former Director of the Program): Richard Lewis

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