FORT MADISON – They’ve been tinkering for the past couple years with miniature robotics, but a group of CyberHounds at Fort Madison High School are taking things to a whole new level.

A group of about 23 students in the CyberHound Club at F.M.H.S. are shooting for the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) moon, so to speak, and are aiming at competing at a high level, international competition in 2018, with a 6-foot, 200 lb. robot. The robot must be built, programmed, and operated to specifications set by the FIRST program.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by Dean Kaman to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Its program features levels for all students in grades K-12 starting with Lego platforms and moving into fully functional robot mechanisms.

The first phase of the competitive program is a public relations and fundraising model. The group is looking to raise $20,000 in sponsorships, including in-kind donations, to help offset the costs of registration, the robotic basic kit, and the event itself.

The annual fees for team registration, a robot kit of parts, and event participation are $5,000 – $6,000. Additional costs for travel, food, team shirts, and other optional items will vary.

Senior Chris Brown, who has been a part of the club since its inception three years ago, said letters will soon be sent out to area businesses to help with fundraising and in-kind donations. Plans for sponsors include a mention on t-shirts, possibly on the robot itself, a banner, and publicity of the event.

Originally Published by the Pen City Current on November 8th, 2017. Written by Chuck Vandenburg. Read the Full Article at the Pen City Current

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