Jamestown Community College's gymnasium was shut down for several hours Friday, as it was taken over by small robots.
Students from Southwestern, Warren, Sherman, Falconer, Fredonia, Jamestown, Clymer, Dunkirk and Pine Valley high schools as well as Job Corps competed in Jamestown Community College's first Robotics Competition on Friday.
Last fall, more than 180 students from 16 schools were provided with materials to create a robotic arm that is able to pick up objects. Working as a team, they were to create a robot that would be able to navigate obstacle courses and retrieve an object.
Robots perform at JCC
Of the teams that were provided with materials, 10 were able to attend the competition, which was sponsored by JCC's science, technology, engineering and mathematics division and Dream It, Do It, a national program administered by the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier.
"We distributed kits, which are based on Legos. So, they took them back to their schools, and they've built their robots and have brought them back here to compete," said Jill Johnson, instructor of engineering.
The kits came with a brick that served as the brain to the robot, which the students were able to program. Several teams also used sensors that responded to sounds or light sensors that followed or responded to black lines.
Team Sherman from Sherman Central School, the only team to complete all three courses in JCC’s first Robotics Competition held Friday, is pictured here accepting the first-place trophy from Jill Johnson, JCC engineering instructor, left, and Dave Johnson, Dream It, Do It coordinator, right.
Three obstacle courses were set up that each robot had to navigate.
"Basically, it is capture the flag. They build a robot that has to drive to the other corner, and it has to go around the obstacles or not hit the obstacles, grab the flag, pick it up and bring it back to the first corner," Ms. Johnson said.
The first obstacle course required the robot to not hit any objects while retrieving the flag. The second required the robot to retrieve the flag from behind a wall made by a line of bricks. The third featured a Sumo Bot that guarded the flag and could potentially knock out a team's robot.
While each team had to start on the first course, they could choose if they wanted to next move to the second or third course. They had 30 minutes to complete any necessary changes or updates to their robots before moving to the next round.
Roger Pacos' world of technology students from Fredonia High School were the first that completed the third course against the Sumo Bot.
"We've been working on this for about a month now, but we perfected our robot on the ride up this morning. We programmed it here," Pacos said.
The students from Fredonia had named their robot Optimus Prime.
Ms. Johnson said that there were between 15 and 20 judges at the event from area businesses as well as the college.
"We've got a lot of people from Cummins, we've got people from SKF, we've got people from the BPU. I think they're pretty excited about this whole thing too, hopefully getting some people involved in the field," Ms. Johnson said.
According to Ms. Johnson, this is the first Robotics Competition the college has held, but said that she hopes the competition will continue.
"We are trying to get more people into the (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields in general, and trying to get more people thinking in that direction at the high school level," Ms. Johnson said.
Team Sherman from Sherman Central School was the only team to complete each of the three courses, and took first place in the competition.
In second place was Team Domination from Pine Valley Central School. Team Clutch and Team Optimus Prime, both from Fredonia High School, tied for third place.