Hardin Valley Academy builds a robot

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- A worldwide robotics competition has one local school working hard to win at the local level so they go on to regionals.

The challenge is on to build a robot from scratch and Hardin Valley Academy students are hard at work.

John Young, an electrical engineer and mentor for the group tells us, "This is a really tough challenge even for a company it would be a tough challenge. They have to build a robot in 6 weeks which is a very short time limit but they did it."

The 23 students have worked together with help from teachers and mentors.

Mary Lin is the department chair of mathematics and says, "We have a programmer who does all our programing because the robot will run by itself on just code alone. We have kids that do mechanical and kids that do electrical."

Philip Keller who is just one of the brains behind "Hawk-tomis Prime" tells us just what this robot does, "The robot it has a gripper on it that has to hang tubes on a rack. It's a 3x3 rack and you have to hang the 3 different shaped tubes; a triangle, a circle, and a square. Each team will get points for completing that task. At the end of the match we have to deploy a mini bot that races to the top of a poll and the first one gets more points than the last one."

The students have learned much more that how to build a robot says John, "The kids are learning how to order parts on time, how long it actually takes to put the robot together and how to fix the robot when it breaks. They learn a lot of what they would in the real world in terms of design and development."

Learning to work together in a real world setting will put these students ahead of all the rest.

"We have grown together. It's like a community because we're here for 4 hours every single day from 6:30 to 10:00 and it's stressful but we are all working together." says Philip.

But all the stress could pay off in the end with the grand prize of scholarship money.

"I'm really excited about the competition especially because we've been putting so much time into it over the past 6 weeks and it's all been coming down to this one moment so I hope it all works out." says Philip.

This project was a joint effort between ORNL, Seimans Medical and Remotec to fund this extra curricular activity.

The Hardin Valley Academy team will meet up with Farragut High School, Webb and Catholic on April 1st and 2nd at the Knoxville Convention Center for the competition.

Best of luck to all the teams!

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