Share This Page

Hampton's robotics gurus excel in L.A.

| Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Submitted
Hampton High School Robotics Club members Brandon Duderstadt, left, and Charlie Bares make final adjustments to their robot on the playing field before the autonomous robot competes in the International Botball Tournament at the Global Conference of Educational Robotics, in Los Angeles.
Submitted
Retired NASA engineer Terry Grant, left, Hampton High School students Ryan Waldo Waldschmidt, Ian Waldschmidt, Philip Margaria, Everett Hinchberger, Brandon Duderstadt and Charlie Bares, Robotics Club advisor Vince Kuzniewski, and Manager of the NASA Robotics Alliance Project Mark Leon post for a photo following the Hampton High School’s showing at the International Botball Tournament at the Global Conference of Educational Robotics, in Los Angeles.

Hampton High School Robotics Club members are being recognized for their robotic engineering and design in a competition that attracts students from around the globe.

A team of six Hampton students attended the 2014 Global Conference of Educational Robotics from July 30 to Aug. 3 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and competed in the International Botball Tournament there.

The International Botball Tournament invites student teams to build and program autonomous robots to compete against other teams' robots in completing specific tasks, and Hampton High School's team won the Overall Judges Choice award for its robots' design and program.

“As their adviser, receiving the Overall Judges Choice award is the greatest award they could receive, even though our team did not place in the top five overall this year,” said Vince Kuzniewski, club adviser.

“Our team's students and robots were recognized by professional robotic engineers to be designed, engineered and programmed as the best of the best.”

Kuzniewski estimates the students put at least 1,000 man hours into designing the robots, programming them and testing the game strategies since January.

Students were given three potential tasks for their robots to complete, which included picking up coat hangers and hanging them on a rack above the playing surface, removing cubes from a shelf on the board and sorting them, and picking up and sorting colored cotton balls on the playing surface.

Completion of each task earned a team points. Teams were scored on their online documentation of their project, as well as a similar on-site presentation.

Hampton students built and programmed two robots.

One robot picked up and hung the coat hangers, and the other simultaneously picked up and sorted the colored cotton balls.

Brandon Duderstadt, a Botball team member who will be a senior, said he was proud of the advanced coding technique called threading that the team used on the robot that picked up and sorted the cotton balls at the same time.

“Threading allows you to do two sets of commands, running two programs, on one robot in parallel with each other,” Duderstadt said.

In addition to the Overall Judges Choice award, the Hampton team, which also included students Charlie Bares, Ian Waldschmidt, Ryan “Waldo” Waldschmidt, Philip Margaria and Everett Hinchberger, won a $1,000 sponsorship through NASA to attend next year's competition.

“We used some pretty advanced programming techniques and the mechanical design of robots was nice,” Duderstadt said about their robots.“(To me the sponsorship means) this was a team that has a lot of potential.”

The Hampton High School Robotics Club competed against 61 teams from across the globe, including China, Poland, Austria and Qatar, at the International Botball Tournament.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.