Robotics of Protocamp
The middle school students attending Protocamp spent the week building, wiring and reverse engineering robots to gear up for Friday’s final competition.
The Swept Away Competition pitted seven teams that went head to head in a robotic skills challenge. Each team had to drive their remote-controlled robot inside a box filled with balls. The robot had to either push or pick up and drop balls into the other team’s area.
The orange team, whose members included Colby Burnham, 11, Ruby Marker, 12, and Jack Lueck, 13, won by a small margin.
The team members said they won, not because their robot was built better, but because they practiced their robotic driving skills the most. “Our scoop was the same but we practiced our techniques a lot,” Marker said.
In its 5th year, Protocamp is a science and engineering camp for middle school aged children sponsored by Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College. This year’s camp was funded in part through NASA NNX10AK73H and the University of Colorado-Boulder Colorado Space Grant Consortium.
“A lot of these kids want to be engineers or designers,” said Scott Davis, co-director of Protocamp.
Each year, the camp has provided a variety of science-related activities, from floating weather balloons to the current high-end robotics kits.
“It’s a lot of fun to see them manipulate the kits and see what they come up with,” Davis said.
The students love the competitive atmosphere. “It was just so awesome, totally, and I’m definately coming back next year,” said Burnham.