Vecna Mentors FIRST Robotics Team to Regionals

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Engineers from Vecna Technologies mentored a team of high school students from the Cambridge Rindge Latin School (CRLS) in building a robot to compete in this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) on April 7th – 9th. CRLS team 97, The Cow, competed in eleven matches earlier this month.

The Cow was comprised of approximately 15 students who worked together for four hours every day over six weeks to prepare a robot for the competition. The robot took the form of a forklift-style linear tower with two fingers which were capable of grabbing an inner tube and carrying it to a destination. The students also equipped the robot with line-following autonomy, enabling it to move independently of remote control for up to 15 seconds.

Eight Vecna employees mentored the students through conceptualizing, designing and building both the hardware and software components of the robot. The student team came up with the concept and the mentors provided hands-off support, guiding them with questions and insight. Although the CRLS team is small compared to teams from other schools, the students worked hard putting in over 100 hours during the course of the season. For many students, FIRST is their first hands-on experience with engineering.

“As mentors, it’s very rewarding to help a group of extremely motivated and bright students to overcome an engineering challenge,” says Vecna employee and FIRST mentor, Andrew Harlan. One of the objectives of FIRST is to foster interest in science and technology among kids and to inspire them to be leaders in these fields. Vecna employees have participated as mentors in FIRST for the past three years.