Dublin Faire Promotes Robotics


Credit: Alexander Zerkle

Vaughn Luthringer, Staff Writer

Members of the Robotics club met at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Dublin to display their new robot for this year’s competition season. The Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire, a smaller version of the larger Maker Faire, which takes place in San Leandro during springtime, was held on November 5.

Stone Mao, senior and co-club president, said, “The purpose of the Maker Faire and Barnes & Noble was to showcase robots, and to stimulate the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] community, and promote STEM and robotics.”

Mao hoped the club’s display at the faire would promote the club and its projects. “As a team, we kind of went to promote the FTC [FIRST Tech Challenge] competition,” Mao said. FTC is a subdivision of FIRST, a company that administers robotics competitions and events.

The robot showcased at the event was a long term project of the Robotics Club, and has been in motion since the start of September. Eventually, the club will bring their creation to the FTC Velocity Vortex competition. In addition, the club brought their 3D printer to the event, which takes about seventy minutes to print a singular model.

“There were a lot of people [at the faire],” Mao said. “From like 9-years-old up to like 70. Teachers, engineers, and just people from the community [in the] Barnes & Noble area.”

According to Mao, the event was a success. “I feel like we got a lot of young kids interested in robotics, and I hope that they can join this field,” Mao said.

There were a few challenges at the faire, mainly with the large competition robot. “We drove the robot around a lot. We drove it around until it broke,” Zerkle said. But club members were able to fix the robot without much trouble. “I found where the star nut had fallen off, and I fixed the robot, “ Zerkle explained. Unfortunately, after further use, the robot broke again and was out of commission for the remainder of the event.

Fortunately, the small 3D printer had no such problem. “It worked, well, almost flawlessly,” Zerkle said. “We were printing things for our robot, but it looks cool when the 3D printer is moving around, so that was nice.”