Prepared for nature’s fury

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Robotics club programming plans for disaster

Students at New Glasgow Junior are prepared for the worst when they head to Acadia University to compete against the best teams from across the province this weekend.

To clarify, the worst has to do with the course, not how they expect to perform.

Students this year had to program a robot that would handle natural disaster situations with a theme of nature’s fury.

Their robot will do everything from moving a model vehicle to safety to lifting a house and setting it down again.

“The boys worked hard,” said Trevor Whynott, the NGJH teacher who oversees the club. “We were here Monday to Thursday every day after school and Saturdays for four hours. The boys were very dedicated.”

There are eight members on the club from Grades 7 and 8. Three of the boys are returning members from last year while five are new.

The club started in October and in November competed at regionals where they placed fourth. Also competing for Pictou County at that event were two teams from Trenton who placed in first and second place. A Truro team placed third.

Whynott said being part of the club is positive in many ways for the students.

“It’s good socially obviously and there’s a computer programming part so the kids get to experience programming and design,” he said.

One of the components of the project this year was for each team to come up with an innovative idea. The New Glasgow team came up with a detection system that would broadcast emergency information in the event a disaster happened when the power was out or for people who wouldn’t have immediate access to a TV or radio. Town of New Glasgow staff are planning to take a look at it, Whynott said.

Donald Kelso said there was a lot of trial and error with the programming.

“We would try one thing and if it didn’t do what we had to do we would have to go back and reprogram it,” he said.

In the end they’re happy with the results.

“I like making the programs because it’s really satisfying for when something works,” said Mark Atwood.

Members of the team said the competition is great too because it allows you to see what approach other teams use to the same challenges.

On Twitter: NGNewsAdam

Geographic location: New Glasgow, Pictou County, Trenton

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