Pierce forms its first robotics club

Coburn Palmer / Roundup


They met in a workshop and began assembling their machines; machines that would end up climbing, scooping and running without human assistance.

The Pierce College VEX Robotics team met again Friday to work on their robot, which they hope will defeat the CSUN robot in the upcoming competition.

The team is new to the college and was created this semester after many Pierce students who had attended high schools with robotics teams got together to continue their passion.

There are robotics teams in schools ranging from elementary school Lego robots to computerized metal robots made by high school students.

“It replaces a lot of educational opportunities that aren’t there any more,” said Ray Straub, vice president and founding member.  “Kids can bend things, wire motors and break things.”

Building robots helps promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

After graduating high school, the students found they no longer had an outlet for their hobby.

Ray Straub joined Club President James Azmoun and founding members Neil Shore and Joseph Su to create the first Pierce College robotics team.

The team paid the $1,500 start-up fee to join VEX and started planning their robot.

There are 13 roster members in this brand new club, with more joining all the time, like Angel Bernal.

“I’ve always been into building remote control cars,” said Bernal.  “I discovered I had a talent for being creative.”

Rules for building the robots are the same year-to-year, but the competition changes yearly to promote creativity.

The robots compete in a field that is 12 square feet, with two robots on opposing teams running at any given time.

There is an autonomous round in which the robots operate by themselves from student written computer programs using Easy C, a computer programming language; and an operator round in which students control their robots.

Each team will build their robots using only parts from VEX.

The robots will start out no larger than 18 inch cubes, using no more than 10 motors, 10 rubber bands, and two feet of Velcro.

They are also not allowed to pin opposing robots, or leave pieces of themselves on the field.

This year, the robots will score points by picking up rings and putting them on posts and by climbing ladders.

There will be a robotics competition against CSUN and other colleges on April 2 at CSUN.

The club meets in the CNA lab room 3808 Tuesdays from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., and Friday’s from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Anyone seeking to learn more is encouraged to attend a meeting or email the club president at jazmoun91@gmail.com

“You have to be willing to destroy what you create,” said Azmoun.