Franklin Regional Superintendent Gennaro Piraino wished to know what junior Rory Messersmith thought-about to be extra invaluable to his tutorial future — being a member of the excessive school’s robotics staff, or finding out for the Pennsylvania System of School Evaluation assessments.

“I’m not sure if I should answer that,” Messersmith stated with a chuckle earlier than rapidly including. “I’d definitely say robotics.”

Messersmith is president of FRobotics 4150, a student-led staff that has been designing, constructing and programming robots to compete since 2012 on the FIRST Robotics Competitors.

“FIRST” is an acronym of “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” created by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, who holds greater than 1,000 U.S. and overseas patents.

The competitors — during which college students should design a robotic to finish particular duties as half of a new “game” yearly — gives college students the possibility to unravel real-world engineering challenges, work as a staff, construct management abilities and train others concerning the science, know-how, engineering and math, or STEM, ideas they use of their work.

“We go through steps of brainstorming it, building it, wiring it and programming it,” stated sophomore and staff Secretary James Sheridan. “And we learn a lot of useful skills that we can use in a variety of career paths.”

Along with Franklin Regional, different regional teams embrace the Titanium Titans, made up of college students from a dozen South Hills-area colleges, in addition to the Women of Metal, which incorporates feminine college students from 20 districts all through the Pittsburgh space. The Women of Metal staff in 2022 earned a spot within the FIRST Robotics World Championships in Houston.



Two members of Women of Metal focus on methods to make their robotic named “Lightning McQueen” higher. Will probably be competing on the World Championship in Houston by means of April 23.


Group members kicked off their season in early January, once they discovered the small print about this yr’s sport, “Charged Up.”

“There’s a yellow cone and an inflatable cube, and we have to pick these up and put them on pegs and platforms,” Sheridan stated. “Then at the end, there’s a teeter-totter we have to balance the robot on.”

There are 37 members on this yr’s FRobotics staff, a practically even combine of 17 male and 20 feminine college students.

Throughout the competitors, the staff will assign two drivers, a coach and a fourth staff member to participate in every spherical of competitors. Everybody has their position to play as a way to succeed.

“We use cardboard, wood and a little bit of metal to start prototyping ideas,” Sheridan stated. “At that point, some ideas make it and some don’t. Once we settle on a design, we start building the robot, mostly out of aluminum.”

With the opening of the district’s “elementary campus” on the former Sloan Elementary web site, the staff additionally has been given the previous Newlonsburg Elementary school cafeteria as a workspace.

Completely different staff members are engaged on different facets of the robotic.

“While the build team is doing its thing, the wiring team is working on how to make the robot move and how to work the wiring into the design that the build team is using,”
Messersmith stated.

Messersmith, Sheridan and staff Vice President John Ciecierski introduced final yr’s robotic to the Jan. 23 school board assembly to display some of its skills.

The staff has secured sponsorships from the district, the FR Panther Basis and native companies corresponding to MSA Security, Argo AI and Arconic to assist offset the roughly $5,000 annual price of constructing the robotic.

“In past years, we’ve had to take our robots apart to reuse parts, but it’s great to have one like this to take around and show people,” Sheridan stated.

To that finish, the staff is soliciting donations of objects corresponding to used computer systems, instruments and aluminum. Bodily and monetary donations will be organized by means of the staff’s web site, or by emailing

Ciecierski stated he’s wanting ahead to the annual competitions.

“The fun part is at the end of the year, going to events and competing in what are basically robot sports.”

For extra, see

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Evaluation employees author. You may contact Patrick by e-mail at or through Twitter .

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The Obsessed Guy
Hi, I'm The Obsessed Guy and I am passionate about artificial intelligence. I have spent years studying and working in the field, and I am fascinated by the potential of machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing. I love exploring how these technologies are being used to solve real-world problems and am always eager to learn more. In my spare time, you can find me tinkering with neural networks and reading about the latest AI research.


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