The Bloomsburg robotics team is currently building a steel octagon arena sheathed in polycarbonate that will be used to host combative robot competitions in Central, PA. The first robotic event, Rage in the Cage, will be held at the Moose Exchange located at 203 West Main ST in Bloomsburg on April 27th, 2013. This also happens to be Bloomsburg’s Renaissance Jamboree.
Over the past 11 years, the Bloomsburg engineering program led by Kirk Marshall has directly helped get over 100 robot teams established in Western PA with assistance from the National Tool and Manufacturing Association (NTMA). Well now, Marshall is looking to expand this program in the Central Pennsylvania area. With the gracious help from Kawneer, the robotic program was awarded an Alcoa Foundation Grant that Bloomsburg High School is using to design and build their own combative robot arena. With the addition of this new arena, other schools in the Central PA area will now be able to start their own robotic engineering programs. This unique engineering program is “athletics for the mind” as students demonstrate their ability to conceive, machine, fabricate and apply the laws of physics to their robot designs in a competitive environment. The Robotic Design class truly embraces STEM objectives and allows students to explore a variety of engineering activities.
Not only is Bloomsburg designing, machining and fabricating this massive competitive arena, they are building three robots to participate at the Rage in the Cage. Students in Mr. Marshall’s Robotic Design class or those that have been enrolled in his engineering courses can be found working after school on these innovative projects. Students are getting the opportunity to go beyond the normal school day and develop engineering skills normally found at the university level.
Bloomsburg has a strong tradition in the field of robotic design. Their teams have place first nationally in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011. In addition, they were awarded the Best Engineered robot for the fourth time in a span of five years. The 2013 robotics team has a core group of upper classmen that are looking to put the Bloomsburg team back on top of the national podium. Brandon Kester, Luke Kurelja, Kevin Gross and Sierra Cleaver placed a disappointing fourth at the National Robotics League Championships in Indianapolis last year. They are looking to re-engineer their robots and prove once and for all they are champion material. In March, at the RoboBots Tournament in Meadville Pa, this team took a big step forward towards reaching their goal earning the “Best Engineered Robot Award”.
National Tool & Manufacturing Association (NTMA) founded the National Robotics League to help change misperceptions about manufacturing and attract a new generation of students to well-paying, technical careers. The program partners teams of middle school, high school and post-secondary school students with local NTMA manufacturers to work together to build robots designed to do battle. The result is not only a destruction-driven face-off of incredible machines, but also an opportunity to develop high-tech skills and cultivate the interest of a new generation of students who will determine the future of manufacturing.
For additional information, please contact Kirk Marshall at Bloomsburg Area High School, 570-784-6100 school or 570-441-2634 cell. They will be finishing up the final construction on Thursday evening, 4/25/13 and will be breaking the massive structure down Friday afternoon and re-assembling it at the Moose Exchange for the Saturday robotic tournament.
www.MIrobotics.com team website.
www.gonrl.org National Robotics League website