Diamond BarHigh School

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Robotics Team Takes First Trip To FIRST Robotic Challenge

Story By Mirna Alfonso, DiamondBarPatch

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In its first-ever foray into the world of robot challenges at the FIRST Robotic Competition, the Diamond Bar High School team came away satisfied it had done its best and excited about strutting its stuff.

Team Sprocket, though a rookie team, won six of its 10 matches and ended up second best in its division, according to coach Lynn Wan.

“These kids were adaptive and resourceful in making the most out of the robot we had,” Wan said in a press release.

The team began working on a kit sent by competition organizers for FIRST, which stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology," about six months ago.

The theme for this year’s challenge was “Logo Motion,” and the kit included motors, batteries, a control system, a personal computer and a mix of automaton components.

However, there were no instructions.

The kids had to build a robot that could maneuver a field flanked by poles and earn points by hanging as many triangle, circle and square-logo pieces on each pole as possible.

Bonus points were earned if a robot could hang the inflated, colored shapes in an order that would spell the “FIRST” logo.

Bonus points were also granted to a team that could deploy a “mini-bot” to climb poles in the middle of the field.

The judges’ selections at the April 25 competition in St. Louis, Mo. were based upon the effectiveness of each robot and each team’s ability to work collaboratively.

The high-schoolers involved in driving the robot were Ayzaan Wahid; Asad Akbany; Brandon Sim and Chris Lee.

Teens Hoi Wong and David Tran comprised the support team.

The mini-bot was designed and built by Brandon Sim; Shannon Fan; David Tran; Lavanya Jawaharlal; Chris Lee and Curtis Wang.

Youths Orson Ou and Ray Pang helped build the control system, and the arm was built in part by Ian Pan.

"The two mentors, Sarah Ferraro and Johnathan Chai from Harvey Mudd (College) were very dedicated and skipped classes to be with us,” said Wan.

“My husband Howard and I supported the team (by) providing food to the team, reconnaissance and robot repair,” she said.

The icing on the cake came when the group “The Black Eyed Peas” performed during half-time, she said.

The team was sponsored by JCPenney; the Brahma Foundation; Raytheon; the Walnut Valley Educational Foundation; AT&T; the Boeing Company and the Walnut Valley Unified School District.