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Botball Club Takes on Competition

Cherry Chen

Imagine a future where robots are a common sight, efficiently delivering food, packages, and messages. This future is not far away, and it’s the main objective of Botball, a nationwide competition that challenges high schoolers to complete tasks using fully automated robots that they make, paving the way for a future where such technology is a reality.

During this school year, Kyle Ma, a 10th grade Pinewood Student, started a Botball club dedicated to teaching students the full design process of making a robot. Ma was already part of the Los Altos team and was inspired to make his own team at Pinewood.

“I started this club at Pinewood because I wanted to provide other students with a more interactive robotics experience,” Ma said.

The Botball club consists of a small group of Ma’s friends who are avid robotics builders. Sophomore and Botball team member Ryan Chou, said he wanted to try it out and later found the topic interesting.

“The difference between Botball and other robotic competitions is that Botball is much smaller, giving the team members a much better understanding of the design process,” Ma said.

Botball gives each competitor the same robot pieces, and then each team uses these pieces to make a fully autonomous robot. The event organizers give the teams the parts, and the teams have to build a robot to complete the goals laid out in the form in which they have to build. Some objectives include getting a ball and putting it inside a bowl to score a point, driving along a designated path, and flipping a certain number of switches.

“We just finished building our playing table, and we are almost done with building both of our robots,” Chou said.

The Pinewood Botball team has been meeting on Fridays after school to discuss their game plan for their final competition date on May 4. After they finish building their robot, they plan to test their robot to practice for the competition.

Looking ahead, the Pinewood Botball team envisions a future where more students are involved in the field of robotics. Through their team, Ma aims to teach robotics and provide a better view of the design experience, inviting students to be part of this exciting journey.

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