Portola Pilot

Robotics Clubs Program Their Way Into the Future

Aaron Sha and Tiffany Wu

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Science fiction is brought to reality as robotics clubs on campus tackle the challenges of robotics through two vastly different environments: competitive and growth encouraging. FIRST Robotics and the Robotics Club explore robotic technology in the innovation lab through projects such as functional robots and collaborative kits.

The FIRST Robotics Club was founded in 2018 with the purpose of participating in robotics competitions. On the other hand, the Robotics Club was founded in 2016 with the goal of engineering and building robots for fun.

Led by team captain and sophomore Brian Chen, members of the FIRST Robotics team devote two to three hours after school and even on weekends everyday to plan and build their first functional robot for the FIRST Robotics Competition theme of 2019: Deep Space. The team’s debut tournament will be from Feb. 28 to March 2, where members will manage and drive their robots in competition.

“On the team, everyone is working on building the robot, whether it be working on the physical components, coding the robot or other tasks we need to finish,” FIRST Robotics board member and junior Anthony Chan said.

The rookie team aspires to place in Worlds at the tournament to set an example for generations to come.

Chan is also the founder and president of Robotics Club, which is geared toward individuals who wish to take on the challenges of robotics at a more leisurely pace. The club develops and encourages interest in STEM careers by providing a more comfortable environment rather than the more competitive FIRST Robotics club for students to learn and grow.

The Robotics Club utilizes Arduino microcontroller kits, which are specifically highlighted for their straightforward instructions and different functionalities, such as motors and sensors. These kits are perfect for new members who are easing into the challenges that robotics has to offer.

“I like Robotics Club since it gives people the chance to experiment with robotics without the risk of not succeeding. In competition-based competitions, if you don’t do it correctly, you risk wasting time and money,” junior Leo Yu said. “But in Robotics Club, even if you don’t succeed, you still learn, which is the whole point of the club.”

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Robotics Clubs Program Their Way Into the Future