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Carrigan Students and Engineers Team Up For Robot Competition

Students from Carrigan Career Center's Electronic Class builds robot for "First Robotics Competition," with help from Alcoa Howmet engineers. 
They call it the "varsity sport for the mind."

It's called "First Robotics Competition" and a group of students from Carrigan Career Center in Wichita Falls will be among dozens of teams competing.

Last year was Carrigan's electronics class first time competing, but this year they're without their fearless leader, their teacher.

Tim Clements has been teaching the electronics class for about 4 years at Carrigan.

But this December he was deployed to Afghanistan.

And now his students are teaming up with a local company to help them go for the gold at the competition.

Driving and controlling this robot is only half the battle for students in Carrigan's electronics class.

They're building a robot to compete in "First Robotics Competition," a state wide competition with a tough challenge.

"This year they gave us Frisbees so, we have to find out a way to make a mechanism to launch a Frisbee to score different points," said Jose Madrigal, a student in the electronics class.

The points they earned last year got them 4th place as a rookie team, but this year they have help from a couple of guys who know a thing or two about robots; Engineers from Alcoa Howmet.

"We are going to get their ideas and help guide them and help them along the ways if they have any mechanical issues, problems with electronics or building issues," said Robert O'Malley, from Alcoa Howmet.

Like the issues they might find with their computer, which shows the path the robot travels with help from a camera.

There are still many hours of tedious tasks ahead for these students before the competition, but what keeps them rolling is the competition's "super bowl" like atmosphere.

"It's basically like if you are at a football game. And it's in the center, and all your attention is on the robot. It's just exciting to be with people that like robots just as much as you do," said Madrigal.

And it's that common interest which brought these students and engineers together, hoping to have the best robot on the field.

The competition will be held in Richardson, Texas in late March.

And students say they'll be working everyday in class and several hours after school to complete their robot.


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