Inventing the future — Big bots and big wins for Whitewater High robotics teams

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Whitewater High student Catie Hayes does some last minute prep work to get one of the VEX robots ready for competition. Photo/Fayette County School System.
Whitewater High student Catie Hayes does some last minute prep work to get one of the VEX robots ready for competition. Photo/Fayette County School System.

Big things are happening in the world of robotics at Whitewater High.

The school’s three rookie robotics teams participated in their first regional VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, on Dec. 8 at the Central Educational Center in Newnan. Two of the teams advanced to the semi-finals out of 27 teams total.

The VEX Robotics Competition is played on a 12 foot by 12 foot square field. There are two alliances, one red and one blue, composed of two teams each. The teams compete in matches consisting of a 15 second autonomous period followed by a one-minute and 45 second driver controlled period.

The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by high scoring or low scoring caps, toggling flags, and by alliance parking or center parking robots on the platforms.

The two Whitewater High teams that made it to the finals will compete again in January at other regional VEX competitions.

While the VEX teams are gearing up for their next set of competitions, another group of competitors will begin working on the school’s “Big Bot” on Jan. 5.

Teaming up with mentor engineers from Caterpillar, the students will have just six weeks to construct their 180-pound robot and program it to perform tasks at FIRST Robotic competitions. The “Big Bot” will participate in two regional contests in March, one in Dalton March 7-9 and the other in Columbus March 21-23.

The team’s goal is to qualify for the FIRST Robotic state competition in April.