Young robot builders race into future

In a footrace, “Star Wars” droid R2-D2 wouldn’t stand a chance against the robots built by San Mateo County’s youngest engineers.

Take El Toro’s Revenge, for example. It may not be the best looking robot ever made, but it can rip around a racetrack, according to the Mills High School students who built it.

“He’s the highest-performing robot at the lowest cost,” said a proud Kevin Chen, 16, animation manager for the Mills Robotics Team.

The Mills team entered speedy El Toro, built on a $400 budget, into the FIRST Robotics Competition this weekend at San Jose State University’s Event Center.

The 10th annual FIRST competition featured a bevy of robots designed and constructed by teenage engineers from high schools across California and as far as Mexico and Hawaii.

Teams of up to 20 students spent more than a month constructing remote-controlled robots that can pick up and carry inflatable balls while racing around a track.

Mills was one of three San Mateo County high schools involved in the competition. Aragon entered a robot called The Faustinator and Menlo-Atherton entered Ma Bear.

Teams raise funds for parts and competition fees. Aragon has marketers and public-relations representatives along with its engineers. The team prints a newsletter as a progress report for sponsors.

“We don’t just learn how to create a robot, we learn to create an image for ourselves,” said Katie Ward, an Aragon teacher and team adviser.

maldax@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

In his extensive filming of The City during the pandemic, Eric Goodfield said he has been “observing how the environment affects the behavior of people.” (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Filmmaker Eric Goodfield fixes lens on SF’s COVID days

140 days of shooting in The City made for ‘greatest adventure’

Most Read