Michigan Scientific is a proud sponsor of the Alanson Vikings FIRST Robotics Team. For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics is an international youth organization the gives high school students real-world engineering experience in a competitive atmosphere. High school students have the opportunity to design and build a robot that competes against other robots in the region. Competitions range from district-wide to world-wide as teams advance further.
The Alanson Vikings will be traveling to Alpena, Michigan for a competition against 40 other teams during March 21st-23rd. Michigan Scientific provides funding for the FIRST robotics team and two Michigan Scientific employees even work with the team! Karen McFarland started the Alanson team three years ago and has been the Vikings Head Coach since. She helps with all tasks ranging from paperwork and fundraising, to teaching students how to use basic hand tools and power tool safety. Karen is a Senior Technician at Michigan Scientific and specializes in building electronics.
Scott Cannon is a Project Engineer at Michigan Scientific and joined the Vikings as a volunteer assistant for the team. He helps with brainstorming the design of the robot and helps construct and build. Scott also taught the students how to use computer aided design (CAD) software.
The Vikings have six students on the team and have invested over 150 hours into the design and build of the robot so far. Competitions may progress into mid-April. During competition, the robots perform tasks such as climbing onto platforms and placing disks and balls in strategic areas within the arena to earn points. It is important for the robot to be able to put these items at different heights during the competition. Each time has a student driver, or multiple drivers, controlling the robot’s movements. Check out the video below to see the robot in action.
Michigan Scientific is proud to have the opportunity to sponsor a local robotics team and introduce them to STEM fields. Karen stressed the importance of giving a small Northern Michigan school with no STEM industries an opportunity to compete and excel.
When asked what it means to have the support of Michigan Scientific, Scott said, “Working for a company that is willing to support a local robotics team with many resources from machining services and financial sponsorship, to lunch room table-talk and engineering decisions, is just awesome!”