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The QWERTY Robotics Team hosted a programming and training workshop for other FIRST teams on Dec. 15 in Detroit Lakes. Submitted Photo

QWERTY robotics team preps for Canada

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The Detroit Lakes robotics team will be competing in Canada in April.

QWERTY Robotics is entering its fourth year as a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) team and upon invitation from the Western Canadian Regional FIRST division, will be competing at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Alberta, in April.

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In preparation for the upcoming 2013 build season, QWERTY Robotics hosted a full day training-workshop in LabView for other FIRST Teams in North Dakota and Minnesota. Instruction was by the Duluth FIRST team.

Team members from Detroit Lakes, Moorhead, Fergus Falls, Duluth, Badger and Northwood, N.D. braved the icy roads and snowy weather to get to Detroit Lakes to participate in the programming training on Dec. 15.

Computers were donated for use from local businesses and brought from other towns for students to use. Labview is the program used to program and operate the Detroit Lakes robot in the competitions.

Other workshops have included an LED project - soldering, team building presentations, tool identification, resume writing and website design.

QWERTY Robotics is also looking to fill a position on the team for a team writer and web designers. Any students interested may contact Debbie at 847-9753.

The build season starts on Jan. 5. The new "game" for which the robot will be designed, programmed and built, will be revealed across the nation via live stream from New Hampshire.

Each year the game, goals and specifications are different. Since 2009, the team has built and competed with three bots: "The Rookie," "The Truck" and "The Tank."

The team has qualified for the World Championship in 2011 and 2012 with their robot "The Truck" and with their team captain winning the Minnesota State Dean's List Regional Winner Award.

1. What did you do during the Labview Programming Workshop?

A. I helped other students learn and set up a lot of computers for the training. -- Jacob Conway (previous team captain who is now a mentor).

B. I spent my time installing lab view and helping other students. -- Jeff Fish (current student team member).

C. At the Labview training I worked on the controls for the drive train of this upcoming composition's robot as well as helping those who fell behind -- Drake Halver (current student team member).

2. What did you get out of it or learn from the training day and how will it help you?

A. There was a particular object that I did not know about. Now I know how to use it properly. - Drake Halver

3. What are your thoughts about other FIRST Robotics teams traveling from distances to help and learn from each other?

A. It's been of tremendous value having teams host and attend events. - Jacob Conway

B. I think that it is great that FIRST encourages such team communication. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be working with some of them. - Jeff Fish

C. This Labview training is a good example of the idea of gracious professionalism that is a major part of the first robotics. - Drake Halver

D. When other teams are willing to travel to learn from or help other teams, I think it just proves that not everything is about winning. A lot of what we do is just learning new things. -- Gabi Swangstue, student team member

4. What do you think about being on QWERTY Robotics team and the upcoming competition in Canada?

A. I'm excited for the new competition! It will be my last as a high schooler, and I want the team to go out with a bang and bring home another win! I'm excited to meet teams from another country, something that I didn't get a chance to do last year. The team has welcomed me as a member, it's a place to be myself and not have to worry. I can have fun with others while learning or teaching them. I'm going to miss the team when I graduate. - Gabi Swangstue

5. How do you feel about the upcoming kickoff day at NDSU?

A. Excited! - Jacob Conway

B. I am excited for the kickoff. I want to learn what the game is this year. - Drake Halver

C. The kickoff will be a lot of fun! I have a presentation that I'm going to give about the aesthetic part of making a robot. I'm not nervous, just really excited about showing others what our team can do to help them out. - Gabi Swangstue

The DL Robotics team is funded with the help of businesses and individuals, who have also provided mentorship and other help.

Check out the website at qwertyrobotics.com.

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