November 3, 2020
Cypress Springs High School robotics students created the “Clawbot,” above, as part of an introductory robotics project. The robot is meant to pick up and move objects as humans can. (Photo by Alexis Gonzalez, Cypress Springs HS)
By Yadira Yanez, Cypress Springs HS
Nov. 3, 2020—Robotics is defined as the engineering and technology of machines and robots that replicate human actions. If there’s a problem that needs to be fixed, robots can provide a solution, which is what the Cypress Springs High School robotics class created with the “Clawbot.”
“The way I see it is that whatever is on your mind, use [robotics] to your advantage," Cypress Springs sophomore Jeremy Ijoma said. "For example, if you want to create a machine that will sense when it gets dark, then a nightlight will pop up."
The Clawbot serves as an introductory project for students to demonstrate the basics of robotics and set up the principles for more elaborate projects.
“It is used as an introduction,” said Glenn Winstryg, Cypress Springs robotics teacher. “After that, the students are given the challenge and the restrictions, and they get to design and build a robot that they think will be able to complete the challenge.”
The Clawbot was designed to pick up and move objects like humans can. The process of building the robot is very thorough, beginning with the base, building the brain, adding the wheels, programming it and refining every aspect.
“You first use the schematics to see what items you need to be prepared for building the robot for the day," sophomore David Jones said. "You then grab the tools that you might need and keep everything organized so that you don't lose anything you will need. You start putting the robot together in parts so you can spread the work. Then, when you have the robot put together, you start working on the coding which allows the robot to move and then you re-look at the work you have done to make sure it is built correctly.”
As students move on to other projects, they will use the techniques, knowledge and skills learned from the Clawbot to help them build more complex robots.
“Many of the first year students are currently just modifying the Clawbot to meet the challenge, but our second-year students have built a completely different robot,” Winstryg said.
The projects help students work together to get the best outcome possible. They help each other brainstorm ideas and then split the tasks to work effectively, either during class or after school.
“A day in robotics is mainly cultivating ideas and thoughts and then working together to build whatever we come up with in our heads,” sophomore Christian “Zen” Flowers said. “All thoughts and opinions are valued in a sense that anything could work. Once we start building, we just try our best to develop the bot that we agree to. From there we just have fun hanging out after school while building.”
Each student has his or her own reason for taking robotics, but there is a common theme: collaboration and competition. Working with people who are passionate about the same material, and then putting it to the test, is a big part of what robotics is about.
“My favorite part is building and coding a robot together,” sophomore Eva Ramos said. “Then going into competitions and watching the robots compete.”
The students are part of the CFISD STEM Academy for Automation, Robotics and Computer Science (ARC). The academy is housed at Cypress Springs and offers a rigorous educational experience in advanced career and technical education content areas.
For more information, visit https://www.cfisd.net/en/parents-students/academics/course-descriptions/stem-academy