Hi, my name is Amelia and I am a sophomore in high school based in Menlo Park, California. I am very involved in promoting computer science in my community through robotics and computer science clubs. I help lead the Menlo-Atherton High School’s Robotics Team that participates in the First Robotics Competition (FRC) every year.
A typical season consists of 16-hour weeks working tirelessly to brainstorm, prototype, build, and, my favorite part, program our robot. The image below highlights our robot from the 2020 season – Infinite Recharge. The objective was to design a robot that could work with an alliance to shoot foam balls into a variety of goals for points and balance a monkey bar, called the Shield Generator, for end game. I specifically worked on the hook mechanism; I designed a hook that could lift the robot up, and then move along the monkey bar in order to balance it.
However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the FRC season looks a little different this year. Our team is currently participating in two virtual challenges from home: designing a game which FRC may use in future years and inventing a solution to help people achieve optimal physical health through active play/sports. I am leading the latter, Innovation Challenge, where my group decided to help the visually impaired by designing a ball, called Menlo-Atherton’s Circular Recreational Orb (MARCO) featured below.
MARCO uses an accelerometer, Arduino board, and a passive piezo buzzer (all contained within a foam ball) in order to make different sounds depending on its location on a field/court. The ball makes three distinct sounds: one if heading towards one goal/basket, another if heading the other direction, and the final sound is a warning for when the ball rises above the ground. Crucial to MARCO’s function is the code which keeps track of the ball’s velocity and “resets” it when it reaches zero.
I am very excited to share more blog posts in the future about subjects pertaining to robotics/coding clubs and interviews with computer science college students and teachers located in Silicon Valley, California.