MORGANTOWN, WV—For a consecutive 26 hours and 14 minutes, a group of metro Atlanta students tweaked, repaired, tested and charged their robot and competed in multiple matches.
Team Reboot, based out of the My Inventor Club machine shop which is located in Atlanta and composed of several DeKalb County homeschool students, competed in the Aug. 1-2 event against 23 FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) teams from 13 states and Canada.
Robotics competitions “are really exciting,” said Joshua Turner, 17, a Georgia Cyber Academy student who started Team Reboot in 2012. “I guess they can be stressful…when you’re leading the team, but…it is still a lot of fun. You get to meet a ton of different people and everyone is pretty much always really helpful, as well, so that makes it really, really good.”
The West Virginia University competition, called WVROX, was hosted by the local Mountain Area Robotics team No. 2614—hence the basis for the 26-hour, 14-minute event.
Although Team Reboot did not come back to Georgia with any trophies, the team has won two awards in its two-year history. The team was the 2012 Peachtree Regional highest ranked rookie seed and was the 2013 Peachtree Regional winner.
Turner, the team’s captain, was inspired to start the team after seeing the 2010 world robotics championships in Atlanta.
In his fourth year of robotics, Turner does design work and programming for the team.
“For me it’s about making the connections with various people from the robotics community but also the engineering community in general, and learning,” Turner said.
Robotics is a great way to apply academics, he said. It helps “general school stuff like improving your writing skills when writing grants…or writing things for judges.
“It improves your math skills tremendously,” Turner said. “I learned all my geometry through doing design work for the robot and then I went to take the test and I aced it—it was easy.”
Turner said robotics competitions help to increase the participants’ problem-solving skills.
Each year, “you’re always having to rethink your whole [design],” Turner said. “You can never really go back and say… ‘let’s make some minor modifications and put it on the field. ‘You always have to start over so the longer you do it, it definitely improves your problem-solving skills.”
Turner said anyone considering joining a robotics team, “can’t go wrong.”
“There’s engineering type jobs you can do on a team but there’s also business [and] there’s art,” Turner said. “A really, really successful team runs like a company, and you have every type of person there, and you have every type of job.”
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