Robotics team prepares for competition

Dhara Yu, Author

Senior Osamu Yasui uses a metal cutter to prepare parts for the robot. Photo by Dhara Yu.
Senior Osamu Yasui uses a metal cutter to prepare parts for the robot. Photo by Dhara Yu.

Robot construction is underway for the Palo Alto High School Robotics Team as it prepares for an upcoming tournament March 3 in Madera.

According to sophomore Lauren Nolen, the Public Relations Captain, the team will attend the Madera Regional competition, which is part of the larger For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics contest. Currently, the team is in the midst of its build season, a six-week period starting from the day that the robot prompt  is released up until Feb. 17.

“During this time, we keep the lab open 36 hours a week, and we all come in and we work on prototyping and the final design of the robot,” Nolen said.

Nolen said that the objective is to build a robot that can stack recycling totes on top of each other and dispose of litter into a garbage container.

“Right now, we’re in the middle of prototyping, and some of the ideas have been having an elevator-type thing, getting wheels that move in multiple directions and using pneumatics,” Nolen said.

Nolen said she believes that this year’s team has a lot of potential and enthusiasm.

“[This year], we have a better relationship with teams around the community, and we can help each other instead of just seeing each other at competitions,” Nolen said. “Generally, I think we are going to have a very strong year because our team members have a lot of experience and have been actively learning in the offseason.”

Junior Claire Kokontis, the team’s Build Captain echoes Nolen’s sentiments.

“We have a lot of talented younger members with lots of skills and experience,” Kokontis said. “We happen to have many smart and creative underclassmen members, which has not been my experience in previous years.”

Kokontis also mentioned that the team has exceptionally strong chemistry.

“Younger and older members get along really well because we all have one goal: To do well in the competitions,” Kokontis said.