Bearden robotics team launches into new project


Allie Gruszkiewicz

Business captain Christina Paris oversees a group of robotics team members at Friday’s meeting.

Allie Gruszkiewicz, News Editor

Bearden’s robotics team has begun the process of creating a T-shirt launching robot that will appear at future sporting events and pep rallies.

They expect to have the launcher ready for next season’s football games at the latest, but hope to have it finished by this basketball season.

The T-shirt launcher will be built with two pressure-charged cannons mounted at a 45 degree angle, programmed to control the release, compression, and steering. For some parts of the project, they are using recycled parts of an old robot.

“I think it’s going to be neat to see it at football games,” robotics team captain Aria Sajjad said. “It’s going to generate a lot of excitement.”

The idea came from the fact that other schools, most notably Hardin Valley Academy, have T-shirt cannons at games. For the robotics team, this project is an opportunity to publicize itself and contribute to school events.

“Other schools in the area have robotics teams that have T-shirt launchers, and we thought that it would be a great project for us to have,” business captain Christina Paris said.

With this project, the robotics team is preparing new members before competition season in January. While last year’s new members were trained at the same time as they built their competition robot, this year they will have some experience beforehand.

“We thought the T-shirt robot would be a good way to both promote the team… and it would be a good practice for members who have never seen or touched a robot before,” Sajjad said. “So when it’s build season, they’ve already seen and done all these things and kind of had a head start.”

Members of the robotics team have received instruction in electrical, programing, and mechanical basics. Currently, the build-team is in the process of building the launcher and finalizing the physical aspects before programming.

The T-shirt launcher project will cost “a couple thousand dollars.” The robotics team is getting funding from Knox County Schools and some engineering firms as well as some fundraisers of their own.

Robotics team sponsor Mr. William Schult said that the project is teaching the team design, circuits, and wiring. Overall, however, he said that the T-shirt launcher is about something beyond robotics.

“It’s really all about school spirit, that’s what the T-shirt launcher is all about,” Mr. Schult said. “It’s a way for us to link to school activities.”