This robot shoots hoops

Published 2:05 pm Sunday, February 26, 2012

Clinton Smith, an FHS junior and member of the school's FIRST Robotics team works on the wiring of the basketball shooting robot that will compete in Richmond in mid-March. -- Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

Franklin High School Junior Lorene Lowe drives a robot during a Franklin FIRST Robotics team build session. -- Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

Franklin High School junior Grant Scarboro was optimistic about the outcome of this year’s project for the FHS FIRST Robotics team.

“I feel like this is going to be a good robot,” Scarboro said. “At least we’re not in the last week and it’s in pieces.”

The team has been busy putting finishing touches on a robot they will enter in a competition Thursday, March 15, through Saturday, March 17, at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

The objective of the regional competition is to build a robot that can shoot basketballs into any of four hoops. The winner of the regional competition, which includes teams from 58 other schools, will move on to the national championship in St. Louis, Mo., in April.

The FHS design allows the robot to pick up basketballs, move them up a conveyor belt and through an opening at the top, said Clinton Smith, an FHS junior.

Junior Lorene Lowe is enjoying her first year on the team.

“I wanted to learn how to build robots and use different tools,” Lowe said. “I like learning new stuff.”

Franklin High School Freshman Madison Busby uses a XBox Kinnect system to move a robot while Kyle Johnson, a robotics team mentor, looks on. -- Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

The students, under the guidance of adviser Liz Burgess and volunteer adult mentors, have worked seven days a week on the robot for the past couple of months.

The schedule has been 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays since the build season began last month.

“It’s pushing everyone together as friends,” Lowe said.

FHS freshman Elizabeth Conner is working to master programming of the robot.

“I enjoyed programming when I did FIRST Lego League and saw robotics and wanted to do it,” Conner said.

With the help of adult mentors, the team created parts, welded, wired and built the robot. The build ended Tuesday.