Education Matters: Hi Fives FIRST robotics team heads to World Championships

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- "When we finished in the Colorado regional we sent our real robot to Houston. And it's there waiting for us for next week, for the competition," said Will Ness, Presenter for the High Fives Robotics Team.

They have a secondary, or practice robot, that they're working on this week. Running mock trials of upgrades, kind of like a NASCAR pit crew, so they can make changes to their competition robot, quickly and accurately.

"We are trying a new gear mechanism. One of the elements of the game this year is taking a gear and putting it on a peg," said Ness.

Their shop looks quite a lot like the lair of a bunch of mad scientists. It's partially lit, very shadowy and mostly empty. This group of high school students works in a rural warehouse outside of Fruita. They have a scale version of their 'field', and all the tech and tools to figure out how to take down the competition.

"Our last gear mechanism only grabbed the gear from the intake station, which is one of the parts of the field. Now we're moving toward a design that can pick it up off the ground, which is advantageous. That way if we end up losing the gear, or dropping it we can pick it back up off the ground."

Practicing making the switch to their competition robot is critical. They need to get it down perfectly.

"Each robot has like, a time log," said Ness.

That way, on competition day, when everyone wants to make those last minute improvements, no team has more time than the others to make it happen.

"The first robot we can test stuff and the second robot will be perfect," said Ness.

If they can handle the pressure; they'll have about five minutes to complete a 20-minute job. But that's what this team is all about, working under deadline, under pressure, under the lights.

"The competitions can be very stressful," said Ness.

But if everything can go off without a glitch, they could end up World Champions.

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