Members of Deep Blue dive into the world of technology

Students build and compete with robots


Kimberly Brodersen

There are many different tools used to build robots.

Kimberly Brodersen, Staff Writer

Carlmont’s Robotics Club, Deep Blue, is an intense club that requires a lot of hard work but provides students with lasting benefits.

Club members spend six months designing and building robots and competing in the FIRST Robotics competition. The experience gives students an opportunity to work with professionals in the tech field.

David Talcott, the host of Robotics Club, says that FIRST Robotics is the biggest robotics competition in the world. According to the FIRST Robotics website, the organization is 30 years old and strives to motivate kids into pursuing STEM careers.

Deep Blue’s calendar is split into three seasons. The offseason, from May to December, is more relaxed with two meetings per week. When the build season starts, the club meets almost every day  for six weeks to design and build their robots. Deep Blue continues to meet daily throughout the competition season.

Deep Blue’s time commitment can be problematic for students.

“The thing that I don’t want to see is people trying to do 150 percent of what they’re capable of, and then having a breakdown,” Talcott said. “[I require] honest conversations about whether or not [robotics] is a good fit for [their] mental health and future goals.”

Members spend a lot of time working on their robot, and feel a sense of achievement when it is done.

Mihai Tudor was a member of Deep Blue during the 2017–2018 school year.

“Build season was the busiest time I ever had in my life. I think we were working, like, 20 plus hours on building the robot. It was a little ridiculous.” Tudor said. “It was amazing to see the robot we built in such a short time actually working properly.”

The many hours spent in Robotics can result in long-term benefits.

According to the FIRST website, over 75 percent of FIRST alumni are in a STEM field and over 90 percent of students reported improvements in problem-solving, time management, and conflict-resolution skills.

There is a variety of skills that Deep Blue students can learn and improve. Deep Blue has design, fabrication, control, fundraising, media, and outreach sub-teams that each use different skills, ranging from planning to execution to communication.

Talcott said, “there’s lots of different ways that you can participate and they don’t all involve twirling wrenches and things like that.”

Students can also learn career skills because they work directly with professionals.

“High school students get to interact with mentors who are professionals. It’s also a chance for them to understand more fully what the expectations are for people who work in the field [since] they learn that from the people who do, in fact, work in the field,” Talcott said.

Students who make the commitment to be a part of the Deep Blue team are passionate about the club.

Allison Hauf, a Deep Blue veteran, said, “I have come so far with this team with just recently getting into the finals at CalGames and being the champs at Capital City Classic. I have learned so many new things. This is my second year in robotics and I am going to say that this was one of the best parts of my life!”

You can visit the Carlmont Deep Blue team’s website here.