Central Valley students advance to world competition thanks to their robotic creation

FRESNO, Calif (KFSN) -- For several months about two dozen students at Duncan Polytechnical High School worked together to create a robot that has a particular set of skills.

Manufacturing Pathway Teacher Douglas Urabe has worked with them since the beginning.

"They build these robots, they prototype them, they run them and they figure out it doesn't work exactly how it was supposed to. So then they have to make modifications. The engineering experience these kids get is off the charts," said Urabe.

The group of students is known as Duncan Dynamics FRC Team 3970 on campus.

The worked during and after school hours on perfecting its robot and getting the programming just right.

But it all started with a design, one that required some research from previous groups.

"We improved it as we needed it. We found what works for us because it is not always going to work for each team. We will have to find our own way to do it with our own machines," said Damyn Walker, Duncan Polytechnical High School Student.

The robot can travel from one point to another picking up objects and moving them with a set of arms.

The students programmed this particular robot to pick up a set of boxes.

"We are using a tank drive so the left side drives the entire left side while the right controls the entire right side. And so I drive around where ever he tells me where to go," said Edward Vang.

Moving the robot is a team effort itself with Vang and classmate Omar Gallardo. One controls movement with a set of joysticks and the other calls for movement by watching through a camera built into the robot.

"I guide him towards it and at the same time when it is those stressful calls where we have to call out maybe the last thirty seconds or we have to decide what we want to do," said Gallardo. "So the pressure doesn't land on him. So he focuses on driving and I'll help him make those decisions."

The hard work has already paid for this group of students. They won two regional competitions in Fresno and Sacramento. And now they qualify to advance to the FIRST Robotics Competition World Finals in Houston.

The competition takes place April 18th through the 21st.
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