Local student heading to international robotics competition

After weeks of work, one group of local students are taking their robots to a worldwide robotics competition.

It can aim, shoot, and score.  It is a robot designed and built by a group of local high school students also known as Columbus First Alliance Robotics Team 4188.

"A pitching machine was one of the main ideas that we came up with and that's the one we ended up sticking with because it is consistent," says Erin King, a senior at Columbus High School. "We also thought of a spring loading or a pneumatic system or a sling shot, but this is the one we are using because it works."

After being one of six teams chosen from a tight competition in Georgia, the teens are tuning up their basketball shooting robot for the Robotics World Championship in St. Louis at the end of April.

"[It is] the same thing they would do in a sport.  They're practicing except the practice might be changing something in a program or bending some metal and making something work better.  By the time they get to the competition, they need to have thing not only does the robot work well, but the people who are going to operate it work just as well," said Luther Richardson,

Richardson, a Physics teacher at Columbus High, has been a mentor to the group made up of students from Hardaway, Spencer and Columbus High School, ranging from 9th graders to seniors.

"I hope we come back with the title.  I want to bring it all home, but no doubt we are going to go out and do the best that we can," said Robert Richards, a junior at Spencer High School.

It is the first time all these schools came together for the competition that requires a robot designed by students to be able to move by remote control and play basketball against other robots.

Competitors bring their machines from across the United States and teams from Denmark, Israel, and Australia.

"We are really excited to see where it leads.  I really want to get more schools from Muscogee County and the surrounding area involved as soon as possible, and, we would really like to see new people get excited about technology," said King.

The students will head to the competition in St. Louis on April 25.

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