O-Bots: LHS robotics team preps for competition

March 23, 2019

The Ludington High School robotics team has had a strong second season so far, and the future continues to look bright for the O-Bots as they head to their next competition in early April.

“State is certainly in our grasp,” LHS robotics coach Karen Shineldecker said. “We’re absolutely counting on it, actually.”

The team made it to the quarterfinals at the March 16 First Robotics Competition (FRC) tournament in Muskegon, finishing in sixth place. It was the first of two tournaments that will determine which teams qualify for the state competition.

It’s Ludington’s second year competing, and, after winning the Michigan State Rookie All-Star award at the state competition in 2018 and competing in the worldwide tournament in Detroit, the O-Bots are hoping to duplicate and surpass that success in April.

“As a second-year team, we are implementing approaches to game strategy that you don’t typically see until you get a seasoned team,” Shineldecker said.

The team was hard at work on Friday in the robotics room behind the LASD central business office, and some students plan to work through spring break.

They’re restricted as to how much time they can spend on their robot between competitions, and the LHS robot — named No-Spins by students — is currently bagged up and off-limits until a few days before the next tournament, which is April 4 and 5 in Traverse City.

The limitations force teams to find creative ways to continue to make progress until the robot is accessible again.

“We had to use strategy,” Shineldecker said. “The robot is totally restricted … so we took the strategy on of creating a twin (robot), so we’re still working on the concept and practicing the whole time.”

The twin is a near-exact replica of the competition robot, but because it’s a different machine, students are permitted to work on it without breaking competition rules.

Read the full story in Saturday’s Ludington Daily News print or e-Edition.