The Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in full swing, students from across Canada are preparing for Games of their own: The Canada FIRST Robotic Games. As diligently as Olympic athletes train for their competition, disciplined students at École Secondaire L'Essor have been hard at work--and with good reason.
These high school students, together with teachers and engineering mentors, have been designing and building a remote-controlled robot to compete in the Canada FIRST Robotic Games, which are scheduled for February 28th, March 1st and 2nd at Humber College, Toronto.
Canada FIRST is a national, annual, team-based robotics competition designed to showcase technology and science through competitive sport. The challenge given by Canada FIRST this year is to produce a machine to play RoboHackyPac, a combination of Pac-Man and Hacky Sac. Participating robots must not only endure the challenges of a maze, he or she must also hunt for beanbags and launch them in a pivoting hopper to score points--all while carefully avoiding other opponents.
L'Essor's dazzling robot Capitaine /4 is one like no other. Armed with six wheels, a giant catapult-like scoop for grabbing and tossing beanbags, a flashing headlight, and weighing in at 60 lbs--it is quite a sight. For the team, this has meant a lot of creativity, innovation, problem solving, decision making and time management, skills which are crucial in this increasingly competitive global marketplace.
The first year team, dubbed Hakmsakm, has been preparing for the event at L'Essor, and has also built a large portion of the Robot at Ag-Tronic Control Systems, one of their corporate and technical sponsors. Ag-Tronic Control Systems, along with Celestica, La Place Concorde, CIS Robotics, Le Conseil scolaire de district des écoles catholiques du Sud-Ouest and numerous other local organizations have generously sponsored the very grateful team. Engineering mentors from DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc. and the University of Windsor/Society of Manufacturing Engineers have offered technical assistance.
L'Essor's Hakmsakm team could quite possibly take home the gold. But no matter how they place in the competition, team members believe it is an honour just to have been able to participate. Whether they take home gold, silver or bronze, the team knows they have already accomplished a great feat just by being there.
If you would like more information about L'Essor's Hakmsakm team, please contact Jennifer Chung For Yuen, team president. Or, for further information on the Canada FIRST Robotic Games, visit their web site .
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