Laingsburg robotics team reveals machine

Laingsburg’s Red Thunder Robotics team's 2019 robot, Opportunity, is shown.

LAINGSBURG — Laingsburg High School’s competitive FIRST Robotics team, Red Thunder Robotics, recently hosted a public reveal and a live stream of the unveiling of its newest 105-pound robot, Opportunity, which it will be taking to regional and statewide Destination: Deep Space competitions in March.

FIRST Robotics combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology.

“This year we took on things like Java programming which allowed us to go leaps beyond where we were last year,” said Paul Garrett, LHS robotics and physics teacher and Red Thunder Robotics lead mentor. “For example, last year we could only send information to our robot but we couldn’t get anything back. This year we can.

The students showed their pride in bringing Opportunity to life.

Students decided to build an elevator to complete the Deep Space tasks. They used PID to make the elevator, which was the hardest thing to build and calibrate, work. Another new tool is CAN Bus communication, which chains things together along a single line, like multiple motors.

Red Thunder was among the last of the Shiawassee County school districts to have a FIRST team, Garrett said. In its first year, Red Thunder competed against teams from bigger schools across the state who had more than $100,000 in monetary and in-kind support from major national organizations.

“We’re growing,” said Garrett. “Every year will be better. Our kids work hard and deserve lots of kudos. We’re grateful to those who have stepped up to make this a reality for us.”

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