OEM received a visit and demonstration from the Masuk Robotics team on November 15th. OEM has sponsored the Masuk Robotics teams for many years so being able to see their robots in action was interesting and rewarding for our team here at OEM.
Each competition that the teams participate in has different challenges that must be incorporated into their robot as well as their performance. In order to address these challenges, their robots were able to pick up yellow balls and throw them at flags that were held by one of their fellow team members. In order to pick up the balls, they implemented the idea of an intake: when the robot drives forward it picks up the ball. They did this by using rubber band wheels that are on sprockets that spin which suck in the ball and move them towards the mechanism that shoots the ball. Additionally, one of the robots were also able to flip caps to display their team color. In order to successfully complete this challenge, they incorporated a lift onto one of the robots.
New additions to the robots this year were vision sensors which automatically detect different colors. These sensors were utilized to assist in aiming the robot more efficiently toward the flags for a higher chance of the balls hitting them. One of the team members, who explained how the values have to be set for sensors, programmed them. Initially, a USB is plugged into the vision sensor and the programmer has to highlight the area of which color it needs to detect. This will provide a numerical value to allow for a code to be created. The code was setup so that when a particular button was pushed on their controller it would take a snapshot on that vision sensor and if the object in that snapshot has the color that was coded for, the robot will turn left or right to follow that color until it is aimed well enough at the flag.
The robotics team has usually been dominated by a male presence as does the engineering workforce, however, the Masuk team was eager to announce that they are breaking the stigma. At the middle school level, the teams consist 50% of girls. At the high school level, their teams consist 20% of girls. They even have one team that is completely made up of girls! They hope to reach more girls and look forward to welcoming more girls into the activity.
The OEM Controls sponsorship has helped get the middle school robotics teams off the ground. Originally, there was only one robotics team in the middle school, now there are up to six. It is exciting to know our sponsorship is exposing robotics and the engineering field to younger children.
One of the Masuk Robotics teams at the high school recently had their first competition of the year and won three awards. They dedicated their awards to OEM Controls to show their appreciation for our sponsorship which has helped create and develop the Masuk Robotics teams as well as our engineers of tomorrow and that is everything we could have hoped for!
Learn more about the FIRST, the program that brings these opportunities in STEM to life for the young adults of our tomorrow, below or on their site.