That’s exactly what the Half Moon Bay Odd Fellows did at their May social meeting. The Pumpkin Bots are the HMB High School Robotics Team and the students demonstrated their robot, Zip Tie, and told their story. Students Ana Linares, Samantha Norris, Andrea Miguel- Delores, Eli Dill and Jackson Shui attended the Odd Fellows meeting with parents and mentors Matt Noris, Chris Doty, Mey Wong and Sean Riordan.

Their story started last fall with a group of teenagers in a Moss Beach garage and a donation from the HMB Odd Fellows. It culminated with local students being among the thousands of aspiring young engineers who gathered in Houston, Texas, for the annual First Robotic International Championship April 20-24.

Students from all over the world competed and attended workshops. “The world Championship was a wild ride for four days,” according to teacher/robotics club advisor Sean Riordan. “We were one of five rookie teams in the competition and we finished 46th out of 75 in our division.”

In addition, the team was awarded the "Gracious Professionalism" award. “All in all, a great showing for the Pumpkin Bots!” and an immense achievement for students who knew little to nothing about robots when they started.

The Pumpkin Bots stood out in their first two competitions because they are a small team that worked really well together, Riordan said. Most teams have 20-40 students while HMB’s team has fewer than 10. “Everybody gets their hands on the robot and that doesn’t happen when you have teams of 40 students. Our two pilots were experienced in battle bots so we could engage in ‘rough play’ really effectively,” he added.

The competitions have three challenges. The first is to move autonomously and shoot a basket for 30 seconds. The second two minutes involve collecting and shooting basketball-sized tennis balls into two baskets – eight foot and four foot high, respectively. The last 30 seconds is a climbing challenge involving a series of monkey bars that are four, six and eight feet tall. “By the end we accomplished all three challenges,” Riordan said. “I’m so proud of these students and what they’ve accomplished.”

Donations are still being accepted. All the competitions are quite expensive, Riordan noted, which includes transportation for the students and the 100-pound robot plus there is a cost to build and maintain the robot.

The All-Seeing Eye


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Half Moon Bay
CA 94019

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