HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) — Students in Harrisburg’s High School’s Robotics Club are on a roll, winning numerous state and even global competitions.
Now, they’re gearing up their newest robot for competition.
You could say these five students have a passion for robots.
“I’ve always loved engineering, building, designing things. Since I was little, I love playing with Legos,” said Micah Scheaffer, Captain of Capten.
Micah Scheaffer is Captain of the Tiger Robotics team Capten. His team is made up of his friends Ian, Carter, Collin and Kanton.
“A lot of these kids started when they were in middle school. So, I’ve been getting to watch them progress since middle school age,” said Chris Stewart, Director.
Director Chris Stewart started Tiger Robotics in 2012.
“The idea behind it was to get kids excited about STEM; science, technology, engineering math, through the use of robotics,” Stewart said.
Now the program is in its 11th season. Over the last 5 years, Capten has made around 20 robots to compete with in state, national and global competitions.
“Hopefully through competitive robotics, we can recruit new mechanical engineers, new programmers, people that work on machines to fill in those gaps to fill in those empty spots in the workforce,” Stewart said.
Capten has won close to 40 awards for their creations. Right now, the team is ranked 13th in the world and 7th in the US for their skills.
More than 70 different countries compete in these competitions by Vex Robotics.
“Every year at the World Tournament, they unveil the new game, the kids have to disassemble the robots and rebuild for a brand-new game that’s completely different,” Stewart said.
Capten’s latest robotic creation is Jim, a catapulting robot. It cost around $3500 to build.
“Jim has an intake at the front, which can suck up disks into the catapult, which will sit right here, and then it can fire out the front of the robot,” Scheaffer said.
The team has put in hundreds of hours of work to get Jim ready for their next global competition taking place in Texas.
“It doesn’t come with anything programmed. So, the joysticks, the buttons, and the controller will do nothing. So, we make it so that to fit the driver’s driving technique,” said Ian Brueggeman, program and designer for Capten.
“We can do whatever, to these parts. With a part like this, we can’t modify electronic components. So, we can modify the hardware all we want. We can cut up gears cut up metal, but we can’t modify the motors and stuff like that,” Brueggeman said.
Jim will compete against hundreds of other robotic creations in the next competition…”My favorite part of competing is getting to go to new places and meeting new people and seeing cool ideas that have been engineered and programmed and put onto robots,” Scheaffer said.
Hopefully bringing home another global award for Tiger Robotics.
“We get to compete against other teams. We get to rank really high in the world because of our dedication. So personally, for me, that’s that’s a big deal,” Brueggeman said.
As the team nears graduation, they plan to continue their work with mechanical engineering throughout college and eventually into the workforce.
“I really like the design process and making it something that actually works in the end,” Brueggeman said.
“My favorite part is to see them surpass anything that the coaches can teach. These guys are doing things with their robots that blow my mind every single year,” Stewart said.
Capten will face off against 813 teams across 41 countries April 25th – 27th in Dallas, Texas.