Robot building: The Olentangy District robotics team starts new season under coronavirus

permission to print image: Gale

The Ozone robotics team starts a new season, working through coronavirus restrictions to participate in robotics competitions. Meetings for interested students start on Halloween.r

Ozone is the district wide robotics club open to all high schoolers in the Olentangy School District. Ozone competes in the first organization’s robotics competition, which hosts competitions international for robotics teams to compete in.

“We make an ‘industrial-sized’ 150-pound robot that competes in a game that usually involves picking up and placing or throwing some game element such as a ball or box,” math teacher and robotics instructor Andrew Bachmann said.

The robotics team is composed of students who work on various functions of the organization and the construction and maintenance of the robot and mentors who help to teach the students. No particular skill is needed to be in the robotics team, and all abilities are useful. Social media experience or knowledge of business management are all useful to the robotics team.

“Students can participate in many areas including; the business team, the design team, the build team, the programming team, the electric team, the drive team, or the pneumatics team,” fabrication specialist and robotics mentor Chris Miller said.

Safety precautions are being taken with both coronavirus and the potential dangers of the construction of a robot, such as power tools or electrical workings.

“We make sure that students are trained on the power and hand tools that they are using,” Bachmann said. “Additionally, this year we are taking efforts to maintain social distance, wearing masks, limiting who may attend meetings, and starting with reduced meeting sizes.”

Robotics usually meets on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons during the build season. Meetings can be extended as needed and can include weekday meetings if necessary.

“Students in the Olentangy District who are interested in joining the robotics team can email me, text @ozone2020 to 81010, or show up at one of our next couple meetings on Oct. 31 or Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Orange High School 1400 hallway,” Bachmann said.

The robotics club is a chance for students to expand their knowledge and expertise into mechanical and technical capabilities. Students are able to experiment with what they might like and pick what they like and are good at.

“I think that this is such a great opportunity to get hands-on experience working with STEM skills that students have learned in and outside of class. It is also a great opportunity for students to practice business and leadership skills,” Bachmann said.