Tiger Techs places second internationally for robot design

ContributedThe Tiger Techs Robotics Team takes a moment to celebrate their second place win at the North American Robotics Tournament at LEGOLAND, California. The team includes, front from left Emma Barborak, Dave Tomko (Coach), Kristin Long (Coach)and Kelly Roys (Coach); and, back from left, Alex Sokol, Jason Stanek, Kyle Wareham, Eli Buck, Justin Stanek, Peter Wood, Lucas D'Angelo and Jon Wareham.

SHARON — For a second year in a row, the Tiger Techs Robotics team has competed internationally at LEGOLAND and this year they placed second for their robot design.

“The team has worked really hard over the past year putting in countless hours, and as a result, have been able to achieve this great accomplishment for themselves and for their hometown,” said Dave Tomko, a sixth-grade teacher and the school’s robotics adviser.

Eighteen students from Sharon’s elementary and middle school, divided into two teams of nine, traveled to California’s LEGOLAND last week to compete in the First LEGO League North American Robotics Tournament in Carlsbad, Calif. The event was created in 1998 to engage children in a fun learning experience that uses research and creativity to build their confidence in technology abilities.

Students qualified to attend the international event by qualifying at the Western PA Grand Championship Tournament at La Roche College in Pittsburgh. While competing in Pittsburgh, the team placed second overall out of 85 teams. The team also placed third in their robot performance.

While at the LEGO competition, the Tiger Techs competed with 80 teams from the United States, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Guam, and Puerto Rico, placing second in Robot Design: Strategy and Innovation.

“In addition to placing in robot design, the team placed in the top 16 for their teamwork skills and also received a perfect score for their research project,” Tomko said.

Students worked under the supervision and guidance of Kelly Roys and Kristin Long and received funding from community sponsors in the Shenango Valley and the Sharon City School District.

This year the Tiger Techs completed a robotics challenge centered on animals and the positive interactions between people and animals. The team completed nine out of the 15 missions during two-and-a-half minutes.

Tomko said the missions included tasks such as retrieving food and delivering it to animals on the robotics field. Students also created “Save a Buck” as part of the competition to alert drivers of oncoming deer.

To create Save a Buck, students interviewed a Sharon police officer, a State Farm insurance agent, a state game warden, and an MIT researcher to develop technology to alert drivers of a deer collision without taking their eyes off the road.

Tomko said students presented their project to Mel Grata Toyota of Hermitage, a panel of engineers at GM Lordstown and online with an optical and mechanical engineer at Wolf Technical Services, a forensic and design engineering company located in Indiana. Feedback from the presentations helped the students improve their project and prepare for the international competition.

The hard work invested by the students this year helped them achieve a success year, Tomko said.

“Last year, we were also in the top 12 for robot design, but did not place,” he said. “This year we were able to capture the second place award for Robot Design: Strategy and Innovation. 

“This year we were also in the top 16 for teamwork skills or what FIRST LEGO League refers to, core values. Finally, this year the team received a perfect score on their research project.”

Like T.L. Miller on Facebook, follow her @TL_Miiller or email her at tmiller@sharonherald.com.

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