ASMSA team places first in Robotics Competition

Published December 29, 2011 at 3:13 a.m.
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— The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts robotics team received three first-place awards at the Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology Robotics Competition on Nov. 5 in Little Rock.

BEST Robotics is a competition for middle- and high school teams, which are given six weeks to design, build and drive a robot to perform an assigned task.

ASMSA won t he BEST award, which is presented to the team that best embodies the concept of Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology. Winning the BEST award is considered t he highest achievement any team in the competition can accomplish. The winner is determined by a combination of points from a display booth, a design process notebook and the robot’s performance.

The ASMSA robot placed first in the robot performance competition. The team also won the most robust robot award, given to teams whose robots need little maintenance.

Members of the ASMSA team documented everything they did this year on its website, http://best.asmsa.org.

The students made everything they did open source and available so other teams could benefit from the ASMSA team’s work. Additionally, the ASMSA team hosted a workshop to help other teams make vital components for their robots and learn useful technical skills.

ASMSA coach Nick Seward said BEST Robotics is not just about building a robot; it is also about documenting the engineering process, marketing and publicity.

“Any student can be a contributing member, even if he or she doesn’t know how to build a robot or even want to,” Seward said. “The idea is to get as many people involved and surround them with the idea that anyone can do this. I personally know many students who have decided to become engineers after their experience with BEST Robotics.”

Senior member Zach Lovin, who was also on ASMSA’s award-winning team in 2010, says the Robotics Team is one of the most beneficial clubs he has joined.

“My participation in BEST last year was my first real exposure to robotics,” he said. “It showed me how demanding engineering could be, but also how rewarding it is as well. I learned the value of planning ahead, and how to problem solve on the f ly. The skills I learned during the process I can apply in my everyday life.”

Members of the ASMSA robotics team are Brent Blasingame, Luke Brown, Garrett Carlson, Cici Cox, Clay Davis, Doug Dorle, Olivia Dunlap, Hunter Dunne, Kori Gills, Taylor Hamann, Scott Jackson, Will Kimball, Bryan Koch, Zach Lovin, Larissa Markwardt, Tanner Marshall, Jacob May, Christian Neason, Amelia Norvell, Dan Pham, Amanda Rabalais, Becky Rainwater, Jeremy Reynolds, Kyle York and Tim Yu.

The ASMSA team advanced to the BEST regional competition Dec. 9-10 at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

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