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Robotics team advances to next level

Team Machination No. 6994, a robotics team with the La Salle County 4-H program, won the Control Award and held its second- place standing statewide at a robotics competition at Manual Academy in Peoria.
Team Machination No. 6994, a robotics team with the La Salle County 4-H program, won the Control Award and held its second- place standing statewide at a robotics competition at Manual Academy in Peoria.

A La Salle County 4-H robotics team is moving forward to the next level of competition.
Team Machination No. 6994 competed Feb. 10 at the Illinois FIRST Tech Challenge Regional Robotics competition at Manual Academy in Peoria. The team won the Control Award and claimed a second-place position statewide, which makes members eligible to move forward in competition.
The team placed first at a competition at Illinois Valley Community College in January.
The Control Award, according to a University of Illinois Extension news release, celebrates a team that uses sensors and software to increase a robot’s functionality on the field. The award is given to the team that demonstrates innovative thinking in the control system to solve game challenges, such as autonomous operation, improving mechanical systems with intelligent control and using sensors to achieve better results on the field. The control component should work consistently on the field.
A team must show respect and gracious professionalism to everyone they meet at a FIRST Tech Challenge event in order to win the Control Award, the Extension reported in the news release. Team members also must apply for the award by filling out the Control Award Content Sheet and submitting an engineering notebook. 
The engineering notebook contains details about the implementation of the robot's software, sensors and mechanical control and includes an engineering section that documents the control components, which enhance the functionality of the robot on the playing field.
The award also focuses on a team’s ability to program a robot that can reliably and efficiently carry out tasks during match play in a way that improves the ability to score during a match. Team members can submit their code for autonomous operation as well as their code for the driver-controlled operation, if they choose.
The judges look for the following: what sensors and hardware the team has tried on the robot, what algorithm or code with which the team programmed their robot and what worked, what didn’t and why.
The next Illinois FIRST Tech Challenge Regional Robotics competition is scheduled Saturday, March 3, in Elgin.

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