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Canfield Robotics Team prepares for competition

Published: Wed, February 19, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.


Bobby Hudock, a sophomore at Canfield High School, asks teacher Don Crum about the robot he’s constructing for the FIRST Robotics Competition. The robotics team at Canfield used Tuesday’s snow day to perfect their work, which was due by day’s end.

By Kalea Hall



Don Crum watches his team of students, known as “The Circuit Birds,” diligently problem solve while building their robot for the FIRST Robotics Competition.

They might be on deadline on a snow day, but they are confident the robot they built inside “the nest” at Canfield High School will lead them to the top.

“It’s gratifying,” Crum said of his students’ work.

Twenty-one students will compete in two regional, three-day For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Aerial Assist Robotics competitions in Ohio starting March 20 and in Pennsylvania starting March 27.

The students spent countless hours over the long weekend and before that perfecting their robot. The deadline was at midnight Tuesday, giving the team six weeks to complete the robot.

“We have been here every snow day, late nights and weekends,” said Kyle Thompson, senior and chief robot programmer. “It’s fun.”

In fact, the team has been in the “nest” from 8 a.m. to midnight whenever possible.

They have a shot at the championship in St. Louis, Missouri in April.

The team built a robot that operates on a 12-volt, rechargeable battery with direct current motors that power the battery.

As Nick Crescimanno drills a hole into the robot to mount the air pressure release valve, Kyle explains that the valve releases pressure in the pneumatics system and is a basic safety feature on the robot.

The team must make sure the robot can perform the task of launching a ball in the competition. In some instances, the team is required to pass the ball to other robots, a task that requires critical thinking and knowledge of physics. In fact, many tasks at the competition require a good understanding of physics.

Kyle wrote the code for the robot to tell it what to do.

“It’s a learning experience, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult,” he added.

Kyle, who has competed on the robotics team for the past four years, plans on attending Ohio State University for computer science and engineering.

Along the way the team has had to problem-solve, but that helps them better develop the robot and their skills.

Last year, the team received the award for Rookie All Star at a regional competition in Pennsylvania and the highest rookie seed, placing 15th out of 44 teams.

“I try to help, but they really do a good job,” Crum said. “[We are] pretty confident.”


1iBuck(231 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Nick Crescimanno is working on the pneumatics?
Kyle Thompson is programming it?

How can that be? We were just told a couple days ago that American students are all ignorant, low-intelligence, under-achievers -- nearly 70% of the locals aspiring to university requrie remedial math and English. Yet here are HS students doing real engineering and software development, and "they really do a good job".

But that probably won't stop the lobbyists for the execs, immigration lawyers, and leftists.

OTOH, the writer could use a little help with how electric motors work. The energy stored in the battery drives the DC motors (I'll grant that almost any such motor is actually a motor/generator, so you could conceivably drive it back the other way, but that's not what they're doing here).

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2walter_sobchak(2713 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Good luck to the robotics team. Kudos go to Don Crum for sharing his time to assist these students in reaching their full potential. Don is a dedicated educator who came from the civil engineering industry where he practiced for quite a few years before deciding to become an educator. He is the rare breed of individual that can inspire kids to achieve in life. Motivated kids that want to learn, backed by their parents in a school system that performs to high standards. Not all kids need remedial help.

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3INTEL(63 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

what is really sad... we tried to get Canfield involved 10 years ago in FIRST robotics... but they declined... so we went to another school and they accepted the deal. They have since won Championships, regionals etc.. FIRST is a great challenge for all the students .... and I wish more kids would get involved in this program..its very worth while....

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