Robotics Gains Popularity

Hockey and skiing have ruled extracurricular life at Northwood School for generations, but a new offering is threatening to join them among the school’s signature programs. Forty percent of Northwood Students are involved in a robotics program that is earning recognition in regional competitions and even from NASA, which sponsored Northwood’s robotics team this year.

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Northwood’s robotics team, with their robot “Ricky Bobby,” at the FIRST Robotics “First Steamworks” 2017 international competition at RPI.

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Northwood School Technology Coordinator Jeff Martin stands with Northwood Applied Robotics students and the robot they built, “Ricky Bobby,” which competed in the FIRST Robotics “First Steamworks” 2017 international competition. (Photo: Antonio Olivero)

Lots of students are noticing how cool robotics is. Senior Kevin Lombardi said, “It looks fun; I regret not taking robotics this year.” Robotics is interesting because it offers both academic courses for credit and extracurricular options. It helps students get a better understanding of design and programming. Most of these students would like to study design, programming and engineering in the future.

Senior Nick Ormon was new to robotics this year. He described it as “a good experience and something cool because I was able to work with different students and was exposed to a different subject.”

Sophomore Isaac Newcomb is an advanced robotics student who competes on Northwood’s robotics team. “I love that I can create almost whatever I want,” he said. “Recently, I designed and 3D-printed a matchbox car, while at the same time being able to design a mechanism to pick gears (a game element in this year’s challenge) up off the floor.”

The robotics team has been very successful this year. One weekend that stands out is when the team traveled to RPI. Newcomb described the weekend as a “great event.” He said the competition field, where the robots are operated, was about as big as a basketball court, and the pit area, where teams operate, build and repair their robots, is at least twice as big. “The atmosphere was great,” Newcomb said, “because everyone is super-interested in your robot, and the bigger teams bring enough people to fill a whole section of bleachers.”

Northwood is hoping for even more students to participate in robotics, because it builds teamwork and helps expand students knowledge of engineering, design and programming which can make a big impact on their future down the road.

Click here for an article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise about Northwood’s robotics team.

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