Building a functioning robot isn't easy, but try doing it in 42 days. That’s what one group of Pflugerville High School students did in the last month. They won first in the regional UIL, and now they're going to state to compete against the best teams across Texas.
Eighteen students have created a special robot to compete in the Texas Boosting Engineering Science and Technology contest or BEST. The 31 teams were given the same equipment and concept. Each year has a theme, from wind turbines to building machines to navigating through mines.
"This year is farming, so there's tomatoes, lettuce and corn and seeds we have to score and plant,” Junior Matthew Hebrado said.
The foam crops and plastic balls are placed strategically in a playing field; a driver then has to collect the food in each test.
From the opening gate, the machine grabs the tomatoes and loads it in the mouth of the machine, then switches notches for a gripper that grabs the lettuce.
Next, the machine picks up the seeds and plants them in holes drilled out of wood, followed by collecting foam corn, all within three minutes.
“We'll have one group building the robots, another group making drawings on the robot and another group making the presentation, and the display,” Hebrado said. “And it has really helped this year because this is our biggest outcome of all the students, this is the biggest we have ever been.”
In 16 years of competition, this is the first time the school has qualified for state after finishing in the top two locally.
“We'll compete with the best of them. We hope to win, if we don't we will be disappointed, but they've got something they can take with them for the rest of their lives: what they've learned,” Team coach Chris Riola said.
The team will head to North Texas to Frisco December 8th.