Who We Are:
The Los Altos High School Robotics Team is part of the robotics program FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST strives to promote engineering, math, science, and technology in a completely hands-on environment. The Los Altos High School Robotics team is a coed group of students representing grades 9 -12, and has been competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition for 16 years. Every part of the team is student run. Team members run the website, write grants and pursue sponsorships, design the robot, fabricate parts, program the robot, and learn electronic systems. Mentors are always available for assistance, but are not directly involved, and instead allow students to learn for themselves.
How It All Starts:
Each year, at the beginning of January, the “game” for the season is announced. Over the next six weeks, we design, argue, manufacture, wire, programming, test, and build a robot to compete at regional competitions. Students on the team gain a broad base of knowledge on how to design and work with mechanical, electrical, and software systems and ultimately learn how to integrate all of these together to create an effective robot. Our team allows students with no prior knowledge to be trained on tools such as our manual mill, lathe, band saw, and drill press. In addition, they learn how to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and learn C++ to program the robot. We learn skills that are not otherwise taught our classrooms. These skills allow students with passion and interest to explore new career opportunities.
The Importance of Robotics:
By participating in robotics at Los Altos High School, we obtain a greater understanding of technology from our high school experience. Through FIRST, younger students begin their learning process as freshmen performing smaller tasks and helping out the older students. Freshmen mature through their immersion in the robotics program and learn how to be a leader. By the time they are seniors, they pass on the knowledge they have acquired in Science and Engineering to the current underclassmen. Most of the students participating in this program go on to study engineering, computer science, or other STEM fields in universities. Some have even begun their careers early using their experiences from Robotics in an internship or job. As we progress further into the 21st century, we will have to rely more heavily on engineers to fix the problems of the future. This is what our team and FIRST encourages: the development of competent engineers from a young age who are capable and eager to find solutions to these problems.
Students on the team know the importance that science and technology has in our future and therefore are eager to help out in the community. Los Altos Robotics helps out in different areas including helping with a younger robotics program, First Lego League (FLL). Each year our team volunteers together to help run a local FLL competition. At the end of the competition we demonstrate our current robot and inspire these younger students into continuing into FRC. We also annually invite a local preschool to see and drive the robot, opening the eyes of preschoolers to what they can accomplish.