The Davis County High School Robotics Team began preparing for worldwide competition on January 7 and will submit their virtual presentation Thursday, April 8.

Instructor David Brus proudly states that his team will be competing in a pool of 30 teams worldwide including teams from Australia, Turkey, Israel, and all over the U.S.

Senior Kyle Miller is team captain and programming leader. McKinley Boyd and Hoyt Dzwoniarski assisted Miller with programming the robot. Grant Hunter, Wyatt Hull, Michael Prevo, and Alexander Dunkin served as fabricators. Keir Price, Nick Hormann, Brandon Thordarson, and Robbie Ikerd assisted with the project.

“We must submit video evidence of everything we did as we constructed the robot,” Miller said.

The robot has a mecanum drive train that allows it to move forward and backwards, left and right, at any given time. It shoots balls like a pitching machine

“This year’s robot has a vision-tracking system that allows it to automatically aim at a goal and automatically pick up dodge balls on its own,” Miller said.

This year’s robot was modified from last year’s robot to handle this year’s challenges. (Last year’s robot never made it to competition due to the pandemic.)

Miller said there are five challenges in this year’s competition:

• Auto-navigation challenge. The robot must navigate an obstacle course without human help.

• Power cell game pieces on the floor. The robot has to find power cells (dodge balls) and pick them up on its own.

• Hyperdrive challenge. The robot navigates an obstacle course with human help.

• Interstellar accuracy challenge. The robot shoots a ball through a hoop from various set distances.

• Power port (hoop) challenge. The robot shoots balls into a power port, scoring as many points as possible in 60 seconds.

“The team gets better every year, but it wears you down when things go wrong. But we don’t stop, we find a solution and keep going,” Miller said.

While the team finds the project and competition interesting, Miller said it is not as exciting as going to McLeod Stadium in Cedar Falls and competing in person. “It’s a lot more immersive feeling than competing virtually,” he said.

“The DCHS robot is all student built,” Miller said. “Other teams have NASA of Google build robots for them, but we have Mr. Brus and he cares about this.”

Team members are all grateful for Brus’s mentorship. “He’s put in a lot of hours and he deserves recognition,” they said.