Robotics team kicks off season at UIndy

Cyber Cards plan for the season


Mark Snodgrass

Junior Anthony Borho works on the robot along with other Cyber Cards members.

Lily Berggoetz, Reporter


On Saturday Jan. 6, 30 members of the robotics team headed to the University of Indianapolis for their annual robotics season kick-off. At the kick-off, students were shown the  games’ new theme for the season and given a tour of the new engineering school.

However, the kick-off was not the only event that the team participated in. Engineering teacher and team advisor Mark Snodgrass also had a strategy and rules reading development day planned for the team that was at SHS after kick-off ended.

For the past five years, the kick-off has been hosted in SHS’s auditorium. Junior and team captain Athena Henderson says that the reason UIndy hosted this year’s kick-off was because UIndy wanted to become more involved with engineering and robotics.

According to Henderson, everyone on the team is excited for this season. The game’s theme is 1980’s retro video games. Snodgrass says there are many things going on in the game, but the main point of it is to make your way to beat the boss.

“FIRST POWER UP, the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition game, includes two alliances of video game characters and their human operators who are trapped in an arcade game. Both alliances are working to defeat the boss in order to escape!” Snodgrass said in an email to The Journal.

Snodgrass has been involved with robotics for 16 years, but has been running the Cyber Cards program at SHS for two years. He has connections with professional mentors that help the team. For example, Snodgrass has brought in a computer engineering manufacturing mentor, electronics engineering mentor, computer software mentors and professional programming mentors to work with the team.

There are many different positions on the team. The positions vary from team captains to photographers and social media managers. Henderson and Snodgrass work together to help the team stay organized and bring together everyone’s thoughts.

Snodgrass encourages that if students are not in winter sports, they should be involved with robotics. There are many different things you can be involved with and many people you can meet.

“We are way more than just a robot,” Snodgrass said. “The robot is just a way to get the adults in the community to invest time in kids and my adults are pretty frickin’ top notch.”

After kick-off, the students began brainstorming how to build their robot.

“All the kids came back to the shop, and we played (with legos) for an hour and a half. They just experimented with ideas,” Snodgrass said. “I think I can pick up this block this way. Will it work? What are the limitations of this? The kids had fun just kind of playing to prove a concept.”

Junior Anthony Borho’s job as a captain on the team is to oversee what is being done with the robot and to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to building. He has high hopes and expectations for their team this year.

“My goal is to get two functioning robots done by our end bag night and overall win state and go back to Worlds,” Borho said.

Kick-off is just the beginning for the robotics team. The team works on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays brainstorming and building the robot. The team now has six weeks to complete their robot before bag night, when they turn in the robot into and wait for first competition on March 10.

If you want to be a part of the CyberCards program, see Snodgrass for more information.