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Dublin High School Robotics Team Win Qualifies for 2013 VEX World Championship

November 25, 2012

The Dublin High School Gaels Robotics Team is off to a fast start for the 2012-13 season, qualifying for the 2013 VEX World Championship in Anaheim, California for the first time. The Dublin High Robotics Team qualified based on their performance at the Bay Area VEX Robotics Tournament, held recently at Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose, where DHS’ team 5327C won the Design Award, placed first in the Programming Skills challenge and placed 5th overall out of 52 teams. Two other Dublin High teams competed with team 5327A making it to the quarterfinal round. The Dublin High Robotics Team also donated over 100 volunteer hours building a machine for the DUSD Special Olympics event held recently at DHS (see below). Video of the Dublin High 5327C team in action is available here.

MythBusters Host Kari Byron and 2011 VEX World Championship emcee noted during the Dublin High School Engineering Academy Open House event held earlier this year: “I got to Emcee the VEX world championships in Disney World. It was amazing. Kids from all over the world filled this huge auditorium, and it was just seeing that many bright kids that were way smarter than I am running around making these robots that do such incredible things, I was impressed. In fact, I think there’s a team over here from VEX [points to audience] these are some of the bright kids that I’m talking about.”

The Dublin High Robotics Team needs your help and welcomes donations and corporate sponsors to defray the cost of attending the event. To offer your support, contact the Dublin High School Robotics Club advisor and teacher Eugene Chou via email at ms.eugenechou@gmail.com.

Rik Reddy, Dublin High Gael Force Robotics Club Vice President: “Robotics is great in that it unites mechanics and electronics, allowing us to apply the knowledge from our math, science, and engineering classes to participate in real-life projects. It’s also different from regular classroom topics since it truly emphasizes creativity and encourages us to find unique solutions to the challenging problems that we’re presented with.”

Kimberli Zhong, Dublin High Gael Force Robotics Club Secretary: “Robotics has not only helped me develop engineering skills—like how to extract stripped screws and optimize gear ratios—but has also taught me the power of collaboration and hard work, values I’ll definitely remember in the working world. Because of this wonderful program, my fellow club members and I have learned how to best approach seemingly insurmountable problems and conquer them with grace.”

Dublin High’s Robotics Team also donated their skills to the DUSD Special Olympics event held recently on the Dublin High campus. Tri-Valley Special Olympics Coordinator Eric Hamilton approached the Dublin High Robotics Club about a month before the Special Olympics event with a general idea to build a mechanism that would propel soccer balls for wheelchair-bound students using a button to actuate the motion.

Kimberli Zhong – “After deciding to commit to the project, we assembled a small but dedicated team of six members (Joshua Price, Rik Reddy, Matt Bolton, Navneedh Maudgalya, teacher Eugene Chou, and myself) to design, build, and test what we named ‘Project H’ (after Mr. Hamilton).

“We held a couple of Sunday brainstorming sessions, where we drew out our ideas on Ms. Chou’s whiteboards and planned out how to acquire materials and assemble the machine. About a week and a half before the event date, we began building, meeting nearly every day. Because this project was incredibly different from anything we were experienced with, we had to learn many new skills, like using the drill press, threading holes, and controlling motor output without using a microcontroller. We worked for a total of nearly 100 hours, making 7 or 8 trips to Home Depot, over the course of those four weeks.

“Our machine was designed to swivel and aim the soccer ball based on the user input and then launch the ball at the push of a button. The day before the event, we finally completed the mechanism, and on the morning of November 14th, we carried our table and launcher down to the football field. At the Special Olympics event, we set up a station with the machine and three soccer goals with a bowling pin in each goal. Students would approach us, we should show them how to aim and shoot the soccer ball using the machine, and they would score the ball in a chosen goal. The machine was adjustable to fit everyone’s needs: the tabletop adjusted to different heights and the aiming lever and actuating button could be moved to the place most comfortable for the student. Wheelchair and non-wheelchair students alike enjoyed using the machine we made.”

If you are inspired by these student engineers and scientists, consider making a donation or helping setup a corporate sponsorship to defray the cost of attending events like the 2013 VEX World Championship. To offer your support, contact the Dublin High School Robotics Club advisor and teacher Eugene Chou via email at ms.eugenechou@gmail.com.

All photographs used with permission from and provided by the Dublin High School Gaels Robotics Club.

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