Youth Robotics Challenge

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A group of Glendale High School students are grinding their gears to complete a real-life manufacturing scenario.

The challenge is not only to complete the assigned task, but to take their design in front of a judging panel and go up against a host of other schools from across the region.

The Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Challenge has the students assemble a robot that must be able to maneuver around a track while identifying colours. The robot must drop the correct colour part at the correct coloured station. As a twist, the judges at the November 25 competition will be choosing the colours at random.

The challenge scenario is very similar to robotic tasks carried out every day in Ontario’s automotive assembly plants. Robert Farr, technology design teacher at Glendale, said the challenge gives students a real-life flavor for engineering, technology and the skilled trades.

“The relevancy to real life situations from a manufacturing standpoint is valuable for the students to experience.”

To make the challenge even more relevant, each school and team is also paired up with a community mentor from the manufacturing sector. The mentors visit the teams to provide advice and guidance along their robotic journey. Mentoring the Tillsonburg team is Kevin Broer, an Industrial Automation Programmer with Marwood Metal Fabrication. “My hope is they gain an understanding of what industry is becoming, and to help spark thoughts in their minds of if they want a career in industry.”

Glendale is one of the smaller teams in the competition boasting just five members.

“I joined because I love building robots and competing,” said Grade 10 student Jeremy Avery, who is savoring the experience.

Twenty teams from 18 schools in the challenge will put their robots to the test Nov. 25 in Woodstock at Goff Hall in the Woodstock Community Complex.

About the Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Competition: 2014 marks the 9th Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Challenge. OIYRC is a community-based partnership that encourages youth of high school age to consider careers in engineering, technology or the skilled trades.

Its goals are to give youth hands-on experience in design, construction and team problem solving by building and programming a robot for an industry modeled task; Expose youth to innovative technology and to test their interests and abilities; and involve and educate the community about the importance of technology to Oxford’s economy.

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