The innovative minds of 20 Sharon students have been focused on the engineering and research process over the past several months as part of Sharon’s Tiger Techs robotics teams. For their efforts, the teams have advanced to the Western Pennsylvania State Championship Tournament this month in Pittsburgh. Qualification was based on their performances at several regional tournaments.
Carnegie Robotics is the host of the state tournament.
Two teams of Tiger Techs have focused on the theme this year of natural disasters. The design of their robot and attachments were built using a LEGO Mindstorm and LEGOs. Computer programming is used to program the Mindstorm to complete missions on the playing field. The robot must run autonomously for a duration of two-and-half minutes. Missions ranged from releasing a cargo plane on a runway to placing emergency vehicles and people in specific areas of the playing field.
In addition to design and programming, the students conducted research for a research project that also had a focus on natural disasters. Students identified two communities that could experience hurricanes, New Orleans and the Jersey Shore, and the problems that occur with hurricanes.
Both Sharon teams created an innovative solution to help people prepare and stay safe. Their inventions included a tracking device for people who may get lost or isolated in a hurricane and a saltwater-generated flashlight that operates off of floodwaters.
Sharon’s first team competed at Sewickley Academy and placed second overall (research, programming, design, and teamwork) and third in robotic performance. They also competed at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, placing first with their research presentation.
Sharon’s second team competed at Shady Side Academy, placing second with their research presentation and fifth for their robotic performance. They finished up at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy, placing second overall (research, programming, design, and teamwork) and fourth with their robotic performance.
The robotics teams are part of the FIRST Lego League organization. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” The Tiger Techs are under the leadership of Dave Tomko, Kelly Roys, Dee Wiesen, and Ali Ismail. The teams are funded by a group of local businesses from the Shenango Valley.