The Strathcona Christian Academy (SCA) Secondary's robotics class recently finished an ambitious project.
Last year, the school received a grant from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to fund a robotics program in the school. In return, the students had to create a robot that would meet curricular requirements and serve the community or school in some capacity.
The students came up with a few different ideas before settling on a zip-line robot.
"We thought that the zip-line robot would be quite a good challenge for us and would be something fun that we could do for our school," said Grade 12 student Catherine Gelmini.
Their plan was to use the machine to record footage of plays, sports games and other school events from multiple angles. Drone-mounted cameras can be obtrusive and impractical to use indoors, whereas a zip-line is sleek and safe to use.
Combining multiple robotics kits their teacher had bought with the APEGA grant, the students spent about a month building the project. The robot consists of two motors, a go-pro camera and three 3D printed pulleys mounted on an aluminum body. One motor propels the machine along the zip-line while the other controls the orientation of the camera.
The entire class had some form of experience in robotics before joining the school's program. Gelmini, who has been a part of robotics for about eight years, noted the robot would not have been built so fast otherwise.
"The trouble was trying to teach an introductory robotics class to a bunch of students who are not introductory level, which is a great problem to have," said robotics teacher Jon Courville. "I told them to be ambitious, so they ended up surprising me and coming up with a great idea."
The robot was completed at the end of January.
SCA Secondary also has a robotics club that has competed internationally.