Robotics team set to take on new challenges

Published Jan 8, 2014 at 5:45 am (Updated Jan 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm)

The Titanium Titans FIRST Robotics Team #4467 was born last year from a vision from one remarkable woman – Mrs. Julie Ogburn, who also single-handedly created Creative Learning Collaborative. The objective of Titanium Titans to give high school aged students real engineering experience through a yearly competition (First Robotics Competition). This competition requires students to create a robot from scratch in only six weeks. The robot must also fulfill a given set of tasks and challenges that varies from year to year. Last year, the robots were required to throw Frisbees through a narrow target.

At last year’s Pittsburgh Regional FRC Competition, the team, consisting of mostly Peters Township High School students, won the FIRST Rookie Inspiration Award for community outreach and efforts in recruiting students to engineering. The award was very significant, considering the relative short time frame that the team started to work together and the stiff competition they faced.

This year, the original Titanium Titans Team (who mostly worked out of Peters Township Public Library and a parent off-site garage) has partnered with the Western Area Career and Technology Center robotics team, together making up the Titanium Titans. The team now consists of about 30 students and several mentors. Most of these mentors are parents volunteers who all are in professional fields of engineering, programming and project management. Co-coach Tim Angert, a mechatronics teacher who has been voted Best New Teacher by the WACTC, has also guided and helped the team substantially.

The team also owes their success and future successes to a number of sponsors which include NASA and the Perryman Company. Because of its sponsors, the team now has enough money to build two robots – one for practice and the other for the competition – and enough money to enter two regional competitions.

The team also finds time to participate in community outreach programs. For example, over the summer, the team, along with Creative Learning Collaborative, hosted two interactive Robotics Workshops based on the LEGO Mindstorm NXT 2.0 building set. Team members helped students from grades 4 to 8 learn how to build and program a LEGO Mindstorm. Fifty elementary and middle school students attended the workshop sessions, and over half of attendees signed up to participate on a FIRST Tech Challenge or FIRST Lego League team this year. FIRST teams formed as a result of the Workshops will also be mentored by the Titanium Titans in the 2013/2014 competition season.

In the off season, the team has been meeting at WACTC to learn about CAD design, programming and mechanical building with the help of its mentors. The Titanium Titans are ready to take on challenges in this year’s competition!

If interested in joining or sponsoring the team or for more information, visit titantiumtitans.org.

Stephanie Wang is a freshman at Peters Township High School.

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