Main photo: (from left) Ian McTavish, teacher; Bruce Reain, chair of TLDSB; Oliver Byl, student programming lead and co-captain of Hoya Robotics; and Kelly Catton, owner of Cavalcade Color Lab (supplied)
Submitted by Hoya Robotics
What could be better than a robot that drives itself?
Members of Hoya Robotics at Huntsville High School are gearing up for this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition. Every year, the team faces a unique engineering challenge and must build a robot from scratch in two months to compete with other teams from across the province.
In the past, they’ve watched higher-level teams excel at scoring points with their computer vision-aided systems. Now, for the first time, the Hoyas will have the opportunity to use vision recognition in their design as well, thanks to generous sponsors Cavalcade Color Lab and the Trillium Lakelands District School Board.
These sponsors have supplied the team with a Limelight camera. The Limelight is a combination of camera and computer that will assist the robot’s driver by auto-adjusting its mechanisms so it will be in the perfect position to interact with the game pieces.
“The Limelight will really allow us to reach a level we’ve never been at before,” says lead programmer Oliver Byl. “I’ve always heard that using one feels like cheating, but I never believed it until I tried it myself. It’s just the best.”
Huntsville is not the only local team that will have access to a Limelight. The Hoyas also lobbied for the tool to be donated to the teams they mentor in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and Fenelon Falls.
Last year Hoya Robotics came 39th out of 180 Ontario teams, on the verge of making it to the world championships. This year they hope that with the help of the Limelight they will be able to reach that goal.
If you’re curious to see the robot in action, the Hoyas are planning to use a space in the Huntsville Place Mall to practice. Watch for them there in February.
In March, the team will be attending competitions at Georgian College in Barrie from March 6-8 and Nipissing University in North Bay from March 27-29. Admission is free.
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