OCVTS WINS BIG AT ROBOTICS COMPETITION
Jean Sullivian, December 9, 2008
OCVTS students walked away with three awards from the annual Tech Prep Robotics Competition held recently at Ocean County College. High school and middle school students from throughout the county designed robotic vehicles using materials from standard kits and adhering to competition guidelines.
Prior to the competition, each team designs, builds and programs a vehicle to accomplish an assigned task in the fastest period of time. Once activated, the robotic vehicle in this Pre-Built Division must be able to accomplish the task without any remote operation from team members. This year the task required the vehicle to locate and remove three small balls from within a five foot diameter target marked on a floor mat. As many teams discovered, performing during actual competition did not always go as smoothly as their practice runs. Environmental factors, such as surface textures andlighting, had an impact on the vehicles.
The second challenge of the competition required the teams to brainstorm, build and program a new vehicle on-site within a 90-minute timeframe to accomplish a new task presented to them. The robotic vehicles had to travel along a curving black line from one end of the mat to the other, turn and return to the start point. In order to succeed, the teams had to program sensors which would detect the black path, detect the end point, turn and find its way home. The fastest vehicles took the prizes.
The OCVTS Toms River Center entered two teams, comprised of students from the Introduction to Computer Hardware, Computer Science and Computer Repair programs. Under the direction of Instructor Keith Pobuta, Toms River Team #19 placed Second in the speed trials and earned First Place for their creative vehicle design in the Pre-Built Division.
OCVTS Brick students from Rob Doherty’s Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration classes also entered two teams. Brick Team #4 recorded the fourth fastest time and won an award in the on-site challenge.
The Tech Prep, or Technical Preparation, program incorporates academics and hands-on learning at the high school level with articulated curriculum links to Ocean County Post High School educational opportunities.
Above, Toms River Team #19 positions robotic vehicle for the first challenge. The vehicle had second fastest time in the competition and took top prize for creative design. Right, Brick Team 4 prepares for on-site challenge; clocks fourth fastest time.