Hoya Robotics has six weeks to build a competition-ready robot

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Main photo: HHS teacher Ian McTavish (back left) addresses Hoya Robotics 4152 team members and mentors at the kickoff to the 2019 competition season. (Hoya Robotics 4152 / Facebook)

It’s an exciting time for Huntsville High School’s robotics team. On the heels of winning an off-season competition in Toronto, its first-ever win, the team has just begun building its next robot.

The Hoya Robotics 4152 team will be competing in the annual FIRST Robotics competition series and has only six weeks to complete their robot. The theme for this year’s competition is “Destination Deep Space by Boeing”. (You can see a video of the FIRST Robotics theme reveal at the end of this post.)

After building and naming their robot, the team is required to put it in a bag and not touch it until competitions begin.

“We’re going to be attending the district events in North Bay (March 28-30) and the Durham region (March 1-3), and if all goes well we’ll head to Mississauga for the provincials,” said student Oliver Byl. “After that, we hope that we’ll qualify for the World Championships in Detroit. We’ve never made it that far in competition, and it’s a big goal for our team this year.”

In order to obtain enough materials for their build, the team held a metal drive last fall.

“We use the funds to help cover the costs of some of the materials we use on the robots,” said Byl. “We’re always looking for ways to expose our students to the latest technologies. One of the new tools we are purchasing this year is a CNC router and we really appreciate the support that TLDSB (Trillium Lakelands District School Board), PMCN (Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network), Kimberly-Clark and others that have made this a reality.”

Earlier in the school year the team won their very first competition, the Fall Fiesta, an off-season robotics competition in Toronto.

The purpose of the Fall Fiesta was to practice and train new drivers and team members using the robot the team built last year.

“Winning the Fall Fiesta was a big deal, since we’ve never come in first at an event before,” said Byl. “It was also a really great morale boost for the team, and has inspired us to work extra hard this year to get back on top of the podium. It’s going to be tough, especially at the higher levels with big-city, big-budget teams, but I think things look promising.”

While each year’s rules and themes are quite unique, Byl says that the games generally have a few similarities including ball intakes and elevators.

In addition to competing, the Hoya Robotics 4152 team promotes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers and knowledge to local students and the community at large, and mentors other robotics teams in the area including Bracebridge and Gravenhurst students. They have also hosted weekend robotics workshops and even held CAD (computer-aided design) workshops for students and teachers from four different teams.

Follow the team on Twitter @hhs4152 to see how their season goes.

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1 Comment

  1. I looked up some of Hoya Robotic videos on utube after reading this article. Very impressive. Kudos to Huntsville High and Mr. McTavish for offering the youth of this area these opportunities. Go getem Hoyas.
    John Wydra 69 year old wannabe nerd.

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