By Dr. Martin Cwiakala, Special to the Sword and Shield

The Keenan Robo-Raiders attended the Palmetto Regional FIRST Robotics competition. This event, hosted by the Citadel, was held in North Charleston on March 24 through 26.   The Robo-Raiders ranked 31 out of the 43 teams attending.

While budgetary and manpower constraints initially hindered Keenan, donations from Teradata Corporation and Schneider Electric allowed the team to form and compete in this year’s competition. The event was entitled LOGO MOTION.  Alliances competed on a 27-by-54-foot field with poles, attempting to earn points by hanging as many triangles, circle and square logo pieces as possible. Mini-Bots also climbed vertical poles for a chance to earn additional points.

Due to control and software issues, the team was unable to test its robot before shipping. As a result, the team worked hard to resolve difficulties at the competition concerning electronics, the chassis, manipulator (arm) and end effector (hand).  During the event, students presented to judges and met fellow students from other South Carolina schools, New Jersey and Florida.

The design of this year’s robot was among the most aggressive ever created by the Keenan team. It utilized pneumatics to operate the arm and also featured a holonomic drive with Mecanum wheels that allowed the robot to move forward, backwards and turn, as well as slide sideways. The team is to be applauded for their high-level achievement—creating a robot that required significant research and ingenuity.

Pictures from the Palmetto have been posted on the Keenan website under QUICK LINKS along with a video of the robot in action.

Student in attendance included:

Gregory Lindsey

Ariel Weeks

Turquiose Williams

Delaquan Williams

Kimberly Cartledge

DeAna Smalls

Nathaniel Abraham

Malcolm Gibson

Samanuel Martin

Joseph James

Brandon Smalls

Teachers and mentors included:

Dr. Martin Cwiakala

Mr. KaReem Beckett

Mr. and Mrs. James Coleman

Mrs. Kirstin Bullington

Mrs. Peggy Cwiakala

Dr. Cwiakala is one of Keenan’s Engineering Teachers.