What’s been going on during Robotics training week?


Photo by Justin Kim

Daniel Lin

Co-authored by Justin Kim and Daniel Lin

The bandsaw screeches as the blade cuts through an aluminum bar. Donning goggles, students chatter amongst themselves as they try to fit pieces together to complete the task outlined on the whiteboard. Veteran Robotics team members look on as the new recruits progress, ever forward, towards the next step.

Check out the photo gallery below for a behind-the-scenes look at the Robotics training session.

Robotics Training week

Starting in September, Robotics recruits go through a nine-week training season to prepare them for the build season in January by practicing building the different components of a robot, from constructing its chassis to programming.

The first few weeks consist of acclimating the newer members by practicing cutting segments of metal, drilling holes and learning the basic procedures. During build season, the team tries to accomplish the annual robotics challenge, whether it be racing, walking or shooting basketballs. During training season, the team tries to accomplish another big challenge: training the newcomers, or rookies, as the returning members like to call them.

Despite the late start this year, the team’s training has not been heavily impacted due to improvements in the training process. Mentor John Yelinek has guided the Robotics team over the course of five seasons. This season, however, he believes that the team has improved drastically in comparison to previous ones. According to Yelinek, this year the veterans on the team have put more effort into training, such as implementing a rigorous training schedule.

“The veterans are much more engaged,” Yelinek said. “They’re doing a much better job in engaging the freshman.”

Yelinek thinks the team is in shape for a good build season. The veterans have also improved training by focusing more on a hands-on approach, in both mechanical and electrical fields. The incoming members are split into the mechanical division, which mostly works on 3D designing and fabricating the parts with power tools, and the electrical division, which does the programming.

The training season has received mixed reactions from newcomers, one of whom is freshman Caitlyn Trinh. She, like several others, joined robotics for engineering experience for a possible future in robotics. Despite finding the training useful, she had trouble following the instructions.

“If I decide to become an engineer, I can have the credentials,” Trihn said. “But some of their explanations are kind of vague and don’t really make sense.”

With the training season over, the Robotics team will see if the training pays off in the 2016 Build Season starting next month.