Highlands Teams Make A Splash In Botball Tournaments

Wednesday - June 09, 2010
By MidWeek Staff
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HIghlands Intermediate’s unsinkable Team 1 (above) of Naomi Tse (front, from left), Keli Tokunaga, Austin Morishita, Leighton Morishita, (back) Herman Li, Dayne Okamura, Christopher Swider, Kenneth Lee and Aaron Higuchi celebrate after earning first runner-up in the MATE Underwater ROV Hawaii Tournament last month at UH-Hilo.

Students from Highlands Intermediate’s Team 2 finished second overall in the MATE Underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) Hawaii Tournament last month, earning them the right to compete with teams from all over the world at the MATE International Underwater ROV Tournament June 24-26 at the University of Hawaii-Hilo.

State middle and high school teams competed using underwater robots they designed and built to navigate the precarious terrain of active undersea volcanoes in a mock setting on May 15 at UH Hilo’s Student Life Center pool.

Highlands’ Team 1 finished as the first runner-up overall, and both teams took the judges’ award for Aloha Team Spirit.

The students got their first taste of victory at the Hawaii Regional Botball Tournament, held May 1 at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Highlands Team 2 (left) students (front, from left) Kasey Sugano, Devin Ajimine, Shea Takazono, Brandon Lin, (back) Nicholas Takehara, Carter Casuga, Brooke Ideue, Kylie Swider and Erika Lin compete in the international tourney this month. Photos from Naomi Tse.

Armed with only a pair of autonomous robots, the student teams spent the last several months designing, building and programming. Nearly 400 students from 37 Hawaii schools competed on a simulated field where an earthquake caused an oil pipeline to rupture, sending thousands of gallons of oil into the pristine “Lake Capek.” To succeed, teams had to apply absorbents to the oil slicks and rescue, clean and release oil-contaminated ducks and frogs - all in less than 120 seconds.

Highlands took several titles in the competition, including R&D Design Challenge, Outstanding Online Documentation and Outstanding Onsite Presentation.

Botball is a team-oriented robotics competition that engages students’ understanding of science, technology, engineering and math educational principles by challenging them to focus on computer programming, system design, sensing and engineering.

Students then use these skills to create two autonomous (no remote control) robots that work together to complete the tasks of the current year’s Botball competition.

To learn more about robotics education in Hawaii and view photos of the competition, visit http://www.botball.org/hi.


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