Solanco students’ award-winning ingenuity and creativity

A Solanco High School Robotics Team has won the Most Innovative Design award in the Penn State SeAL Virtual Robotics state competition. Team members (left to right in the photo) Zach Johnson, Kyle Fisher and Colin Moran designed, created and coded a robot that Solanco Technology Education Teacher Todd Brown said “hit it out of the park” because of the robot’s ability to “sense” objects around it and autonomously pick up objects.

The competition was hosted and organized by Penn State University’s Business, Engineering, Information Science and Technology Department and sponsored by the U.S. Navy.  The competition consisted of several dozen high school robotics teams from across the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio regions. Students were given the challenge to use their knowledge and research in robotics to design, create and code a robotic system that could be deployed via Sea, Air or Land to assist in a catastrophic event.

The scenario that the teams were given was a tornado swept through a town and left a large path of destruction and debris. Medical supplies were need to be delivered to the hospital to aid in treating patients. “The robot the students designed was able to sense objects in the area surrounding the robot and determine what each of these objects were and was able to autonomously pick up each object and determine the correct unloading location in a fully autonomous mode,” Brown said. “The robot’s performance and the ability to complete the task in an autonomous manner thoroughly impressed the judges, especially that these students were able to grasp and implement foundations of artificial intelligence / machine learning into their creation.”

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