Robotics Team Takes FIRST STEAMworks Challenge 

Dunbar’s robotics team, also known as Team 2856 Planetary Drive, competes on March 8.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition is an international high school robotics competition. Each year, approximately 5,855 high school teams from over 24 countries work during a six-week period to build game-playing robots that can weigh up to 120 pounds.

This year, FIRST’s live broadcast on Jan. 5 revealed the competition’s theme, FIRST STEAMworks. The Dunbar robotics team and their mentors watched the live stream together in the library, and they began working on their ideas to create an effective strategy to score the maximum amount of points.

Because the theme is steampunk, their project is an airship.

“The idea is to get these wiffle balls into a boiler to deliver gears to the airship to get it working,” said junior Nathan Rukavina. “The airship doesn’t actually fly…but that would be pretty cool,” he said.

Dunbar robotics’ team President Jan Balk explained other requirements for the airship including climbing a rope and activating a light by hitting a pressure plate.

“Our team is targeting high goal shooting with a flywheel shooter, we are collecting gears through a passive system, and we are climbing using a rope sewn on with Velcro,” he said.

Dunbar’s robotics team meets every weekday at Newton’s Attic workshop from 4-7 p.m. and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sundays. They will be competing at the Smokey Mountains Regional in Knoxville, Tennessee from March 8-11.