Malvern Robotics 2013

Matt Lanetti

If you’re not part of the team probably haven’t seen too much of Malvern Robotics. The robotics club usually works off campus at Communications Test Design Inc. CTDI is leader in global engineering, repair, logistics, and product manufacturing. CTDI is kind enough to let Malvern Prep use their facilities for engineering and testing our robot. Malvern competes in the US FIRST Robotics Competition each year. FIRST Robotics is an international competition for high schools across the world to build robots (both autonomous and remotely controlled) up to 120 pounds. The teams and their robots compete in a specific task or competition that changes each year. Schools are given the year’s competition and have 6 weeks to build the robot. Of course we reuse much of the previous year’s parts so we don’t have to buy new things each year.

The tasks are often difficult for robots to complete, and this year is no exception. The 2013 competition involves having the robot climb a 4 sided pyramid, 90 inches tall, and 94 inches wide. At a 68 degree slope, many humans couldn’t climb it! 

One thing unique to Malvern’s robotics program is that it is student run. Of course we have adult supervision, especially when operating heavy equipment, but the program structure itself is managed by the students themselves. In Malvern’s “FriarBot” crew are several departments:

electrical-  in charge of the wiring of the robot’s circuitry

software-  developers of the robot’s autonomous features, these students write the code that makes the robot “come alive”

hardware-  perfect for students who love getting dirty, working on hardware involves everything from welding to fabricating mechanical parts

Here is a video of the semi working Friarbot, attempting to climb our model of the pyramid

Malvern Prep Robotics 2013 climbing attempt