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Archytas First Robotics competition team wins Spirit Award

By Robin Alberti

Over the weekend of March 15-17, Archytas #6933 First Robotics Competition team attended its first meet of the season, bringing home the Spirit Award from New England District Qualifiers in Bedford, New Hampshire.

Each year, First Robotics announces the rules/requirements of the current season’s game, including the specifications of the playing field and objectives that the robots must complete, and teams from around the country have six weeks to design, build and program robots for competition.

Jack Barhart, a 14-year-old from Barnard who attends Sharon Academy, is one of the founding members of the team.

“I’ve always liked science stuff. I was on another team a couple of years ago, but there was a lot of seniority there and I felt like my ideas were not being heard. I wanted to start my own team to be more involved,” Barhart told the Mountain Times.

In August of 2017 he did just that with about a dozen other students from five different central Vermont schools. When asked what his favorite part of robotics was, he said, “Coming up with ideas at the beginning of the season when the game is released.”

Carl Groppe IV has been involved in robotics for six years. The 17-year-old Sharon Academy student from Gaysville loves the comradarie of team Archytas, and when asked what was most challenging said, “Keeping everyone focused.”

Their next competition is in two weeks.  When asked if there are adjustments he wants to make to their robot, “Change the manipulator,” Groppe answered.

Another 17-year-old Sharon Academy student Scott Elderd from Tunbridge loves the competitions and building and playing with robots. To Scott the most challenging part is “Trying to think about everything you might need to be ready for competitions. And then when you are there, getting things done in between matches.”

Speaking with first year team member Danny Smith, 8th grader from So. Royalton, about what he liked most about robotics he said, “All the teams aren’t against each other, they support and root for each other.”

When asked what the hardest part was, Smith answered, “If your team doesn’t have a lot of money, it’s hard being able to get everything you need to build the robot and practice before competitions begin.”

The team is named and after the ancient Greek philosopher, Archytas, a mathematician, astronomer, statesman and strategist with strong leadership skills. Archytas believed everything revolved around, and could be explained by, mathematics. One of his inventions, known as the Flying Pigeon, is sometimes referred to as the first robot. The team’s logo is based on a sketch of the Flying Pigeon. With a strong but light-weight frame built of wood, his steam-powered invention is believed to be the first-ever self-propelled flying device.

In 2019, robotics team Archytas #6933 has grown to over 20 student members ranging in age from 13-17. They are in charge of game strategy, robot design decisions, programming and implementation.  Adult mentors to help teach them the skills they need to accomplish this, as well as the fundamentals of calculus, business letter writing and Java programming.

They raise funds to cover the costs of building their robot and traveling to competitions. You can support team Archytas by visiting their donation page.

For more information, visit: www.archytas.org.

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Fans of Archytas robotics team cheer in support.

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