LIC Robotigers look for funding of national competition

By Sadef Ali Kully

The Robotigers Team 1796 from Queens Vocational and Technical High School in Long Island City, which won the regional First Robotics Competition, is trying to raise funding to travel to the national robotics competition in St. Louis.

“The trip can costs from up to $25,000 to $30,00,” said Peter Beninati, 24, Robotigers mentor and student teacher. “When I was in the team as a student, there were six people. I know personally what this competition means for students. The amazing experience led me and other people to expand on the team.”

The Robotigers Team 1796 has only raised $5,000 for the trip. The funds would include travel costs, meals, and hotel accommodations. Team members plan on traveling by bus because the air travel costs and shipping the robot safely would be too costly.

There are 35 members of the team with sub-groups, including administration, design, build, programming, marketing, development, and drivers’ team. The competition is April 21 and they would have to leave a day ahead because the travel time can be 20 hours by bus.

“The most difficult was deciding on what we wanted our robot to do,” said Anthony Chauca, 16, about choosing special features to make the robot stand out in the competition. Chauca is studying Cisco networking system at Queens Vocational and Technical High School.

“I helped design and create the robot,” he said. “I specialized in the elevator system with a bearing system that makes it move smoothly.”

The Robotigers Team 1796 is a tight-knit bunch. Their interest in bringing technology and creativity together binds them. Each member represents the bright green color of the team in his or her own distinct way: hair color, team T-shirt, stuffed tigers, green poms-poms in the audience, team cheers and the handshake, a cross between the wave and a modified version of the ‘60s dance move known as the swim, before the start of each competition.

“The robotics team has really inspired me to pursue a career in mechanical engineering,” said Tia Singh, 16, part of the build team. “We built the robot for four weeks and then we handed it over to the programming team.”

The Robotigers Team 1796 has also started a Go Fund Me campaign (gofundme/robotigers for donations) and donations are also privately being accepted on the website, robotigers1796.com.

The team won the regional competition in New York, qualifying them for the national competition, and also won the Imagery Award at the Jacob Javits Center March 16.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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