The Trinidad State Junior College’s Robotics program began in the fall of 2009 with the ambition of entering in the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s Great Sand Dunes Robotics challenge (http://spacegrant.colorado.edu/statewideprograms/robotics-challenge). This challenge required a team of students to design and build an autonomous robot designed to navigate several courses at the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado. After months of intense work, the team produced their first robot, Whiskers. Despite it being a mess of wires, duct tape, and covered in multiple Parallax’s Boe-Bot boards, Whiskers finished the first course, heading north and navigating through fine sand. Whiskers was one of two surviving robots out of 26 entries from all the other four-year colleges and universities in Colorado. It marked the beginning of a legacy.
For the next seven years, the TSJC robotics team continued to leave their mark. Every year, the team created a new robot, better than the last and continued to finish more courses than the previous years. In 2014, TSJC’s robot was the first ever to finish all six courses. The team began to take new approaches to creating their robots, including 3D printing out parts and creating their own custom printed circuit boards.
Due to the team’s great success in an extra credit challenge, the team believes it is time for a greater challenge. The TSJC Robotics team came across a new competition called the RASC-AL Robo-OPS (http://robo-ops.nianet.org/). This nationwide challenge sponsored by NASA requires a group of students to build a rover that will perform at Johnson Space Center’s Mars Yard in Houston, Texas. This rover will be controlled by students at a ‘Mission Control’ back at the Trinidad State Junior College. The rover will be expected to utilize an arm for picking up various rocks and other objects while navigating the different terrains at the Mars Yard. Lack of funding from NASA caused the competition to be cancelled for the 2016-17 year, however, the team will continue to build the rover and follow the competition’s guidelines and travel to the Johnson Space Center’s Mars Yard. This will help the small junior college’s team prepare for when the real competition starts up again.
Since the RASC-AL Robo-OPS is cancelled, the TSJC’s robotics team will receive no funding from them. The team is required to fundraise in order to build the rover and travel to Houston to the Johnson Space Center. This trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so any amount of support will be greatly appreciated.
We have been getting several inquiries on what to do if you want to give to our program with a check rather than through the Colorado Gives site.
If you would prefer to send a check…Please send the check to
TSJC Robotics team
c/o TSJC Foundation
600 Prospect St,
Trinidad, Co 81082
and please write TSJC robotics on that check …otherwise it may end up elsewhere!!!
The robotics team