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of Clare County

Harrison Robotics Unveils Robot, Ready for Competition



"Due to the current and potential threat of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in our state and in accordance with public health recommendations, FIRST in Michigan has decided that, effective immediately, the upcoming FIRST in Michigan FRC District Events in our state will be postponed until further notice. At this time, FLL and FTC spring season events, scheduled for May, will be held as planned."

Each year Harrison Robotics Stingers of Steel continues to grow. Five seniors will lead the team of 15 this year with experience and enthusiasm, and thanks to generous donations by parents and sponsors, the most equipment the team has ever had access to.

The team held an open house Saturday that was well attended. The star of the show? The robot built entirely since January specific to the unique competition field set out by the national program FIRST Robotics Competition.

Adviser Kevin Smalley is full of enthusiasm going into the team’s fourth year of competition and commented on their build-up of resources.

“I believe we going to do pretty good this year,” Smalley said. “We are just trying to build up our resources. The more resources we have the better we will do.”

Smalley is already in recruiting mode for eighth grade talent to join the team for their freshman year.

This year’s concept is “INFINITE RECHARGE℠” with a catchy branded Star Wars theme. In addition to a points system for each goal, the robot completes its official competition storyline which reads:

In INFINITE RECHARGESM, two alliances work to protect FIRST City from approaching asteroids caused by a distant space skirmish. Each Alliance, along with their trusty droids, race to collect and score Power Cells in order to energize their Shield Generator for maximum protection. To activate stages of the Shield Generator, droids manipulate their Control Panels after scoring a specific number of Power Cells. Near the end of the match, droids race to their Rendezvous Point to get their Shield Generator operational in order to protect the city!

Team members were showing off exactly what the robot would be required to do in competition and working out the kinks. The robot came into their makeshift pit several times for adjustments, like in competition.

The pit for the Stingers now includes large toolboxes, an adjustable cart and lots of other technical goodies due to the diligence of the team fundraising and sponsorships. Many of the parts on the robot were also 3-D printed by the team.

High school science teacher Corey Harwood was in attendance Saturday and told the Cleaver that the focus is on STEM classes and six new 3-D printers were purchased for use in the classroom. In addition, a MythBusters class will be offered where students can test a scientific hypothesis and present their research results.

The Stingers of Steel will face their first competition this weekend at Gull Lake and April 2-4 at Shepherd High School.

Stingers of Steel Ready to Swarm Competition

 By Dianne Alward-Biery

Cleaver Staff Writer

HARRISON – The Harrison High School robotics team Harrison Stingers of Steel has been busy reincarnating its robot No. 6642 (aka “Lucille”) in accordance with this year’s specifications. The new challenges include being required to advance a tower upward, retracting it leaving behind two hooks on one end of a seesaw apparatus; then, another team’s robot will need to similarly attach its hooks on the other end, and the two teams must work together to position the seesaw to within a few degrees of true horizontal. The challenges also include gathering foam balls, storing them, then delivering them through an elevated target hole, and…well, even more coordinated team efforts.

About a dozen team members and advisors attended the March 9 meeting of the Harrison Community Schools Board of Education to show off what old Lucille and her operators can do.

The team participates in the FIM [First in Michigan] District and will face its first competition this weekend [March 12-14] at Gull Lake in Richland. It’s second FIM District Event will be April 2-4 in Shepherd, where it will compete alongside all the Clare-Gladwin RESD robotics participating schools.

This is the team’s fourth year, and the students’ skills savvy and ever-expanding knowledge and confidence is the stuff of every mentor’s dreams…stay tuned!


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