The Paper photo by Ron R. Keedy

Pictured left to right: Logan Volger, Tayden Morgan, Sam Foster, Kyler Morgan, Ethan Fry, Luka Mikek, Emily Bost, and Mariel Oshel
The Paper photo by Ron R. Keedy CHS ROBOTICS TEAM TOBOR: Pictured left to right: Logan Volger, Tayden Morgan, Sam Foster, Kyler Morgan, Ethan Fry, Luka Mikek, Emily Bost, and Mariel Oshel
The first use of the word “robot” to describe an artificial person was on January 25, 1921 in the Karel Capek play RUR, which stands for Rossum’s Universal Robots. “Robot” is based on the Czechoslovakian word for “forced labor.” “Robot” entered the English language in 1923.
In the ninety-eight years since, robots have evolved through the imagination of scientists, engineers, businesses and science fiction authors, into the myriad of uses in manufacturing, medicine and entertainment, to name a few. The future of robotics is limitless and the young minds of the robotics teams at Crawfordsville High School are looking beyond nuts, bolts and computer programming to live up to their motto, “More Than Robots.”
The PLTW & Engineering Department, led by Darrin Wilcoxin, along with Crawfordsville High School will be hosting the Robotic State Championship on Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The competition is becoming a tradition in Montgomery County and there is no admission charge to the day-long event.
Teams from around the state will put their ‘bots through a series of tasks such as dismounting from a lunar lander, identifying objects and moving them to specific areas utilizing a student driver and a sequence whereby the ‘bot operates totally on its own. Points are earned for completion of the various tasks and each team must complete their operation within a specified time. Teams will be eliminated throughout the day and narrowed down to the championship rounds at the end. The two CHS teams have survived qualifying rounds in Bedford, In, and have entered several other competitions to gain experience in handling and improving their ‘bots.
Darrin Wilcoxin tells The Paper, “Our two teams, Team Botman and Team Tobor, formed their teams over seven months ago and have over 250 student hours in the conception and construction of each of their ‘bots. While we have had phones mounted on the ‘bots chassis as long as three years ago we have done a major upgrade to android phones this year. These give us better control and the driver can see what is going on from the perspective of the ‘bot.”
Unlike the exuberance for High School sports, shown in the wild cheering and noisemaking at games, the exuberance of the robotic students is felt, rather than heard, through their incredible concentration on the tasks before them.
Mike Schueren is the programming mentor to the teams. The Paper asked him the underlying purpose of the entire program. He reiterated with the teams motto: “This is so much more than Robots. Teams are formed and learn to work as a group. Everyone has ideas to contribute that must be sorted out, debated and eventually congealed into one plan. Ideas rejected are often reformed by the act of students putting their heads together. They must learn how to present their ideas, including many, many written papers before actual construction begins. When we started the programs over eleven years ago, we had four students. This year we have over thirty. That is why our program is so much “More Than Robots.”
As a parting shot, The Paper threw out a question to the groups, every lover of robots should know: What are the Three Laws of Robotics invented by the great science fiction master Isaac Asimov in 1942? Faster than the blink of an led, Ethan Fry of Team Tobor recited them verbatim: (1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. (2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. (3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Bright shines the future of the young people of CHS and Montgomery County.