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Engineers advise Sparkman robotics

Sparkman High School students are collaborating with industry experts to prepare for the 2015 BEST (Boosting Engineering and Science Technology) Robotics Competition. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sparkman High School students are collaborating with industry experts to prepare for the 2015 BEST (Boosting Engineering and Science Technology) Robotics Competition. (CONTRIBUTED)

HARVEST – Local professionals are advising students in Sparkman High School’s Engineering Academy as they prepare for the 2015 BEST (Boosting Engineering and Science Technology) Robotics Competition.

Employees in local engineering, robotics and mining companies, including Frederick Energy Products, GeoSteering Mining Services and Barn Owl Robotics LLC, are collaborating with Sparkman students.

Representatives from these companies visited the campus on Oct. 1, sponsor and Sparkman teacher Rachael Simons said.

Geosteering Mining Services “specializes in design and manufacture of Gamma Detector Systems,” founder and engineer Larry Frederick said. Frederick also leads Frederick Mining Controls in Huntsville on Jeff Road, approximately two miles from Sparkman’s campus.

These representatives explained mining, engineering, safety and company structure. “This presentation will help Sparkman students to be better prepared for the design and implementation of their robot, exhibit and presentation in the BEST competition,” Simons said.

Area robotics teams will converge on the Decatur campus of Calhoun Community College for competition on Oct. 31.

The BEST Robotics Competition is a national robotics contest for middle and high schools. BEST started in Texas in 1993 with 14 schools and 221 students. The program has grown since then and expanded to having BEST hubs around the United States.

In 2012, the network of competitors had grown to 875 teams, 46 hubs and 18,000 students. BEST is a six-week competition each fall culminating in regional and then national competitions. (bestinc.org)

In preparation for the Oct. 31 competition, Sparkman’s Engineering Academy in collaboration with Sparkman’s creative writing class will fabricate and market the Spark Industry Robotics (S.I.R) brand and products.

In keeping with the S.I.R. concept, Sparkman will have a medieval-type tournament culminating in a jousting match with robots. The medieval tournament will raise funds to help offset costs required for the exhibit and competition.

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