Basket ball playing robot vies for FIRST honours

Allentown High School's Redbird Robotics Team has created a robot that is equipped with a cannon-like mechanism to shoot basketballs.

The team built the robot after six weeks of arduous labour invested in conceptualising, building, programming and testing the machine, during which time it learned much and picked up a number valuable skills from its creation.

The team recently entered the machine for the first bout in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Rebound Rumble.

FIRST was established in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. It is based in Manchester in New Hampshire in the US and is a not-for-profit public charity. It runs accessible, innovative programmes to kindle the interests of young people in pursuing education and career opportunities in science, technology, and engineering.

The team first unveiled the robotic device on 9 March at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia for the first leg of the Mid-Atlantic robotics regional competition.

Besides the shooting mechanism, the robot is equipped with a conveyor belt and a variety of other features that allow it to retrieve and throw balls through programming and sideline controls by team members.  It was able to just about make it within the limit at 119.6 pounds, according to team mentor Chris Nalbone.