EHS robotics team continued a proud legacy and heads to worlds


Mimi Beringer

High-powered machinery: robotics team member Jonah Rosenthal adjusts the router.

Kerui Yang, page editor

Last year, Edina High School’s robotics team, 1816 The Green Machine, attended the World Championships and was awarded the Chairman’s Finalists Award. The Chairman’s Finalists Award is given to the top six teams worldwide who “best [embody] the values of STEM and F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the organization that runs [the robotics competitions],” senior Captain Aiden Swann said. Because they earned this award last year, The Green Machine automatically qualified to compete at this year’s World Championships.

Every year, there is a new challenge for robotics teams across the world. This year, the topic is named Destination: Deep Space. In teams of three, each alliance needs their robots to place hatch panels on simulated rocket ships and cargo ships, place valuable cargo for transport off the planet in the rocket ships and cargo ships, and return back into the safety habitat before the sandstorm hits.

The team has just finished building their new robot that can complete all aspects of the challenge and are excited to compete with it.“We have a really nice robot this year and things are looking good,” junior Assistant Safety Captain Grace Bowe said.

The process to create the robot involved an intense six-week building process in which team members had to attend practice from 3 PM to 9 PM on Mondays through Fridays and 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturdays. During these six weeks, the team took a few days to generate ideas and create prototypes for potential robots. After deciding on a concept, The Green Machine used wood to create initial prototypes and then moved onto creating the real robot while the control system programming team would start coding.

To help them make their building process more efficient and precise, the team was able to obtain two new pieces of technology: a milling machine and a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. For example, the CNC machine would allow the team to quickly create new machine parts with the corrected dimensions after discovering that a previously designed piece was incorrect.

The robotics team needed a large sum of money to buy these two pieces of equipment. This is where the business team stepped in. “It is impossible to build a robot without money and funding, and the business team is in charge of [that aspect of robotics],” Swann said. The business team planned events such as restaurant fundraisers and coordinated sponsorships in order to help the team have sufficient funding.

Additionally, there is an outreach team that is responsible for making sure that there is a strong robotics program in Edina. On Feb. 25, the outreach team visited the Minnesota State Capitol for STEM advocacy day. They discussed the importance of STEM education with State Senator Melisa Franzen and other legislators while demonstrating their robot.

1816 recently attended a regional tournament where they made it quarterfinals and became fifth seed alliance captains, won the Chairman’s Finalist Award (double qualifying them for the World Championships), and won the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award for their faculty advisor Alyson Purdy.

Looking forward, 1816 will be attending another regional tournament and the World Championships. They hope to win a regional tournament and also to qualify for the State Tournament. In the summer, they will be conducting many off-season events, such as traveling to Washington D.C. for the F.I.R.S.T. National Advocacy Conference to meet with Congress members to talk about STEM initiatives.