The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 26, 2012

Athletes of the mind: Athens Bible School’s Trobotics Inc. prepares for robotics competition

Special to The News Courier
Associated Press

— Athens Bible School’s Trobotics Inc. is one of 16 schools participating in the 2012 T.V. B.E.S.T. (Tennessee Valley Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) program, held at Calhoun Community College annually. B.E.S.T. currently mentors and encourages approximately 11,000 students nationwide to pursue careers in the areas of S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math).

Teams planning to participate were given an identical box of parts with a packet of instructions to design and build a robot. Not only are the teams challenged to produce a successful robot, but they must also write an engineering notebook documenting the engineering process used as well as develop a winning marketing presentation and construct an educational marketing booth.

As competitors in this program for six years, Athens Bible School’s students believe they have been significantly challenged, and have grown both academically and socially.

“These students are athletes of the mind,” said mentor Keli Sparks. “This healthy challenge would not have been possible without the generous help of Athens Bible School.”

New manufacturing, testing, and marketing facility

Many changes have taken place since last season for Trobotics Inc. regarding location, tools, and overall growth of the team. Because of the absence of a manufacturing site in the past, the team was unable to be together and communicate as wanted, having to shift from house to house.

This year, however, the team said it was blessed with a permanent working facility — the new field house of Athens Bible School.

The Trobotics team is especially thankful to the school for their  generosity.

“I think it’s nice that we can all practice together and not at separate places,” explained B.E.S.T. Coordinator Ashley Rumph.

2012 Mission

On Kickoff day last month,  T.V. B.E.S.T. revealed this year’s robotic game challenge, titled “WARP XX.”

The idea of WARP XX is centered around space elevators.

The Trobotics team has to take on the persona of a company that has designed, built, and marketed a space elevator required to transfer cargo from Earth into outer space to a midway station.

On week four of the six-week WARP XX challenge, Trobotics Inc. met at the Madison Square Mall for TV B.E.S.T. Mall Day. Teams tested their robots on the Warp XX playing field.

They will spend the remaining two weeks of this year’s robotic challenge making adjustments to their robot as they prepare to compete in a “fly-off” against other BEST teams Oct. 27 at Calhoun Community College.

Community Outreach

As part of the challenge, Trobotics Inc. has also been busy organizing outreach events at schools and throughout the community.

At the events they showcase their robot by letting visitors drive their prototype. They also hand out informational brochures about their team, and B.E.S.T. robotics to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Fundraising Efforts

The Trobotics Inc. team knows that every good company needs capital to run its business. The team has been selling Hexbugs at Athens Bible School, and throughout the community as well as seeking sponsors.

Trobotics Inc. was recently awarded a $2,000 grant from the Pathfinder Chapter of AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International). AUVSI offers the opportunity to earn educational grants in the pursuit of expanding knowledge or identifying promising technologies applicable to robotics programs.

To find out more about AUVSI, email Education Committee Chairman Joe Fitzgerald at busdev@comcast.net.

To find out more about Trobotics Inc., visit www.trobotics.info or contact   coach Craig Adams at craig.adams@athensbibleschool.org.