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Gibbons Robotics Team Wins Design Award
Rachelle Garbarine

Industrial design at its best.

That is the description of the award the Cardinal Gibbons Robotics Team won at the North Carolina FIRST Tech Challenge State Competition held recently at Southern Guilford High School in Greensboro.

Gibbons Robotics Team competes with studnet-built robot.

Along with designing a robot that incorporated industrial design elements the team, 2901 Purple Gears, also received the award for, among other things, its engineering notebook, replete with detailed robot design drawings; as well as "the respect and gracious professionalism" it showed to everyone at the event, according to information on the competition’s website.

The team also placed 10th out of the 32 teams in the competition, which help students learn the real-world application of science, technology, engineering, and math through designing, building, programming, and operating robots to compete in a challenge. This year’s challenge, Rover Ruckus, required that the student-built robots collect minerals and place them into the cargo holes of the lander.

Ripollone described receiving the award as a team effort. “They acted like a team, helping each other; they competed like a team, they were a true team,” she said.

The Gibbons Robotics Team has consistently competed in the state competition of the not-for-profit known as FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Additionally, this is the second time it has received the design award. The students’ hard work earned them the recognition, said Science Educator Diane Ripollone. She also is a moderator of the Robotics Club along with John Toebes, Parent of Gibbons Alumni and a club founder.

Describing the significance of receiving the award Toebes said: “The design award recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic.  For our robot, the team was exceptional in their truss design using polycarbonate to create both a robot with a multi-jointed arm that can pick up the balls and cubes and place them in the center lander. The students paid careful attention to both weight and strength to ensure that their design would work effectively.”

The Robotics Club is also filing a US patent ( its sixth) for this year’s robot design, the centerpiece of which is the extending hook, Toebes said, noting that combined with the multi-jointed arm… the team “designed a unique approach for solving this year’s challenge.” The team has earned three US patents and has two more pending.

Ripollone described receiving the award as a team effort. “They acted like a team, helping each other; they competed like a team, they were a true team,” she said.

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