LAS VEGAS - The shelves are lined with first place trophies. The walls prominently display award banners. These accolades provide great motivation for Cimarron Memorial High School students who are working to build the next great robot.
"Being in robotics is like having a job and school. It's so time consuming, but it's really rewarding," said senior Wyatt Harwood.
The real work may be out on the floor, which looks more like a playroom.
"We start with prototyping. We brainstorm, white board. We all stand around it and throw ideas," Harwood said.
The students do not build rudimentary robots. The robots are built to compete against 5,000 schools from around the world.
"The competition is a six week build period, where the kids build a robot from scratch in six weeks, and they'll play a game. This year's game is a large exercise ball they will have to pick up, manipulate and throw into a bowl and pass it to other teams," said program co-founder Marc Rogers.
Four days into the building phase, the robot can already throw the ball 18 feet.
Sophomore Chris Werner chose the program to help him pursue a career as a pilot in the military. "I'm learning electronics for our robots to power the drive train and speed controllers," he said.
Sophomore Kylie Pratt says she was initially skeptical about the program.
"I would never put myself on the robotics team. I never thought I would be interested in anything like this, but once I got here and started talking to everyone, I realized I enjoyed it a lot more than I enjoyed doing my sports," she said.
The 40-person team also designed a t-shirt launcher last year. The design proved so popular, it made the rounds at local sporting events.
Robots are catching on at all levels of education, and the teacher who helped launch this program in 2001 says he knows why.
"Kids love them. You don't even have to try to get kids motivated. You trick them into studying," Rogers said.
The team will show off its robots to the public at an open house at Cimarron Memorial High School on Tuesday, January 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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