New class extends robotics team

Sophomore Valerie Wang works on a prototype for the competing robot.

Kyle Jung

Sophomore Valerie Wang works on a prototype for the competing robot.

Mike Carlson, Staff Writer

In the 2016-2017 school year, Carlmont offered a robotics course, called engineering robotics, for the first time. 

This class provides students with an opportunity to learn basic robotics skills and build a robot that will compete in a For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition (FRC).

Carlmont has had a robotics team that competes in FRC since 2003 but it was a part of Team 100, a joint team with Woodside High School until 2015. 

Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, Carlmont robotics branched off and became Team 199, or Deep Blue Robotics.

“The robotics class is an extension of the team, not the other way around,” said David Talcott, a Carlmont robotics teacher. “About half of the people in the class are members of the team.”

The class works directly on the team’s robot for FRC during the build season, giving an opportunity for beginners to learn skills to better help the team. It allows students who might not have the opportunity to be part of the team to participate as well.

“The team does most of the robot work while the class does business and outreach along with learning the technical skills,” said Joyce Saltzherr, a junior.

The robotics class is an extension of the team, not the other way around

— David Talcott

Students also take part in activities that relate to each sub-team like programming, electronics, and fabrication such as building battle bots.

Carlmont scheduled the class purposefully in the last period of the day to allow students in the class to continue to work on the robot after school or for students who are busy after school to be able to contribute.

“I would be unable to be a part of the robotics team without this class because of other extracurricular activities,” said Denali Wilson, a senior.

The team’s mission is to provide students with the opportunity to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields and develop engineering, project management, and community relations skills in an engaging and challenging environment.

The class helps to work toward that mission by opening a huge opportunity for technical and entrepreneurial training, development of the team’s priorities, and expansion of the team.

“The main function of the class is to help expand the team,” said Talcott. “It does that by either letting new members work on the robot or helping people develop skills for the team.”

According to the Deep Blue Robotics website, “such a quick expansion would not have been possible without our school administration’s kind accommodation of [the team].”

Students enjoy this class because it teaches them valuable skills, allows them to work with a team to build something impressive, and lets them have fun.

Eric Liu, a senior, said, “I just really like building robots.”