With the smallest group the club has had to date, and facing the stiffest competition ever at the BISON BEST competition, Hillcrest's robotics club took home the first place trophy after the two day competition.
Hillcrest partners with Central Lakes Robotics to provide a class that designs the robot as part of the physics curriculum. In the fall, physics students board a bus and venture to the NDSU campus to look at the upcoming obstacles their robot will need to overcome. This year the challenges included shooting projectiles at stacked cups, moving cans labeled "toxic waste" and rescuing a PVC human dummy.
After the physics class crafted their design in the computer drafting portion of the class the club began fabricating a robot according to the design. The club works with the class to provide feedback on the design, joining heads to solve problems they encounter as theory meets reality in building a robot to accomplish tasks.
While select members of the build team work on the robot other members focus on the marketing presentation, booth build, and presenting to local businesses to raise funds associated with the costs of the robot.
The regional meet is the top meet in the area. Over 30 teams organized marketing presentations, planned cheers, built display booths, and fabricated a working robot. They practiced countless hours on play fields. Hillcrest's play field is in the basement of the building, known to some at Hillcrest as the maker space. Pizza boxes were opened countless nights as the group worked to hone skills in presentation, marketing, and driving their robot.
The hours in the maker space paid off for the robotics club. The group had their smallest team to date, with seven students. They took the competition's top award, known as the BEST award. They also received 1st place for their engineering and design, known as the Founders Award. They took second place in the exhibit and interview, where the team explains how they built their robot and communicates the various obstacles they encountered and how they resolved them. They brought home the third place award for the marketing presentation and third place for the robot. There were 31 other teams at the competition, traveling from six states. The December 1 competition is the final competition in the season. Another first place finish for the Robotics Club.