Boys behind the machines

Jaearold Aspulnd has always found robots interesting. He finds how they are built and programed to do certain tasks to be the most interesting.

The freshman is a part of the Portales High School robotics program that consists of 12 students. These students participate in two main competition where they must design and program robots.

Aspulnd is working on a robot for the RoboRAVE competition in May.

Lillian Bowe: Portales News-Tribune From left, Jack Willis, Portales High School science teacher and robotics advisor, helps Nicholas Brown, Jaearold Asplund, Isaac Brown and Christopher Leap with designing the robot that will be used at the RoboRAVE competition in May.

Lillian Bowe: Portales News-Tribune
From left, Jack Willis, Portales High School science teacher and robotics advisor, helps Nicholas Brown, Jaearold Asplund, Isaac Brown and Christopher Leap with designing the robot that will be used at the RoboRAVE competition in May.

“The robot can be working great, but as soon as you get to the competition, it can stop working,” Aspulnd said.

Aspulnd said his favorite RoboRAVE challenge is designing robots to play sports.

“One year we had the robots sumo wrestle and that was fun,” Aspulnd said.

Christopher Leap also finds that challenge the most fun as he has seen teams have robots play baseball, soccer and other sports.

Leap joined the robotics team to learn about programing.

The robots in RoboRAVE are all autonomous except for one challenge and the group has to create a program for the robot to perform these challenges.

“It can be very challenging, but really fun,” Leap said.

Senior Isaac Brown has experience with programming as he has been on robotics team since he was a freshman.

Working with a partner for all the robotics competitions, Brown said team work is a big part of robotics.

One of the competitions that Brown likes to participate in is firefighting.

“It is not a really big fire or anything, but the robot has to find the candle and put it out,” Brown said.

Nicholas Brown, the freshman brother of Isaac, said a challenge he enjoys is the jousting, where the robots have to knock each other down just like knight jousting.

Brown said he joined the robotics group because of the programing aspect of it.

“It is fun to program the robot to do certain tasks,” Brown said. “We really have to work together to build the robot and it is a lot of fun.”

PHS science teacher and robotics sponsor Jack Willis said the students have a lot of fun at the programs and they learn a lot about engineering.

A Portales team finished 11th in the BEST Robotics competition in October.

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