Vernon Robotics Team supports essential workers during pandemic

Vernon. Team 1989 helped workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency services by creating 4,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), including Montana masks with a filter insert and comfort strap, PRUSA face shields, Vernon face shields, and BVM Filter units.

Vernon /
| 30 Nov 2020 | 07:17

The Robotics Team of Vernon Township High School is a STEM-centered program that is targeted towards bright scholars who are interested in exploring the fundamentals of engineering in modern society. Team 1989 dedicates its time and effort to participate in competitions against other schools, whether it be on the regional, state, or national level.

To compete for a spot at these competitions, the team required to create a functional and durable robot that is set to complete certain tasks during competitions. During the beginning of the season, or the Kick-Offs, Team 1989 is informed of the certain tasks that the team has to perform in order to gain points during the competitions. In transitioning to the build season, the team builds, designs, and codes the robot to accomplish specific tasks.

Their perseverance and commitment during the build season are important, as the team faces many challenges in creating the robot. To conclude the build season, the team forms a Drive Team to navigate the robot as the team battles and completes tasks against other teams during the various competitions. Throughout all of this, the team also has to directly fund the team through fundraisers and plan events, and complete assignments to continue to raise money and gain new members. In doing so, Vernon Robotics Team anticipates expanding the horizons and opportunities of Viking Robotics.

Supporting essential workers

As of the year 2020, a myriad of clubs have been immobilized due to the concerns of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the safety of the public. However, Team 1989 made the extra effort in order to assist and support society’s essential workers, including hospitals, nursing homes, and first responders. They executed this by means of using well over 100kg of filament to create 4,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This includes Montana masks with a filter insert and comfort strap, PRUSA face shields, Vernon face shields, and BVM Filter units. On account of this extra effort, Team 1989 was able to support the community in times where many people are at risk, overall improving and aiding the safety of the community.

Although many Robotics members are confined in their homes, they continue to attend multiple virtual seminars in order to gain attention from potential sponsors for the team. This led to the creation of Team 1989’s video for the VERRF event. This is an event where many companies and First Robotics Teams display their 3D printed creations, in order to gain publicity and potentially gain sponsors. The video link is available below. In addition, Viking Robotics has recently attended a virtual seminar that Purdue University arranged. In fact, they were presumed to present but the team was sadly not admitted, however, the team retained various and crucial components that could be applied to Vernon’s Robotics Team for future seasons, as they watched their peers present various ways to fundraise, recruit, and design.

In fact, many past alumni have decided to take action and become volunteer mentors. Currently, they are helping the team by spending their time teaching the fundamentals of engineering and giving their input during team meetings. These team meetings occur once a week and go over the main agendas. These include a progress report for the Community Robot, fundraising, and recruiting ideas to name a few.

During these meetings, Team 1989 takes into consideration everyone’s schedules in order to schedule times that work with everyone, which is proving to be successful with most members attending. Currently, the team is productively spending the majority of this precious time creating the Community Robot, which will be utilized to attend local events such as football games, in order to gain publicity and potentially gain new members, thus benefiting the team for future events. This robot will be directly funded by Team 1989 through fundraising and gaining sponsorships.

The mission of Vernon Viking Robotics is to demonstrate that COVID-19 has not stopped students’ drive and imagination to help create robots safely and efficiently. As the team is operating virtually, they continue to exuberate the same ambition as they were before this pandemic, allowing for many great projects to get started. The members of the team continue to express their creativity by making safety adjustments to efficiently continue the expansion of knowledge and the development of robots. This serves to show that regardless of the condition that Viking Robotics is in, it will always find a way to continue to progress as a team.

Editor’s note: Vjosa Ukella is captain and Kennedy Truong is business leader of the Vernon Township High School Robotics Club, Team 1989.