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The Madison Record

Bob Jones Robotics Team to appear in “Space Warriors”

The Robotics Team at Bob Jones High School has broken a new barrier with their work in the movie, “Space Warriors.”

“Space Warriors” follows a teenager chasing his dream to attend Space Camp, if he can excel over four competitors. A former astronaut tests the camp recruits physically and mentally. In the finale, the teenagers heroically battle to resolve a catastrophe on the International Space Station.

Robotics Team members in “Space Warriors” are senior Tori Florence; junior Charles Boyd; Trey Gould and Sydney Dirigo, both in Class of 2011.

Gary Dillard with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Rick Schwarz with the Missile Defense Agency served as the student’s engineering mentors.

“Karen Kelley in the NASA education office, who is involved in FIRST Lego League (FLL), found out that the ‘Space Warriors’ producer was looking for larger robots to participate in part of the movie,” Dillard said. Kelley contacted the mentors of all teams in the Alabama FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) about availability.

Bob Jones students appear in various scenes as one of five robotics teams competing against the lead character’s robot. “They drove our robot around the field and against the competition as the event unfolds and worked on the robot during the ‘aftermath,'” Dillard said.

The driver control station for the Madison team was adjacent to the lead’s control station. “So we should get some good screen time,” Dillard said. “It was a long day of filming, concluding with all the robots staged on a huge green screen so the special effects can be added later.”

For the movie, the team “reconfigured our robot Sebastian from the 2011 FRC season, a remote-controlled, 120-pound machine that has four independently controlled mechanum wheels that allow it to drive in any direction, even sideways,” Dillard said.

“The primary manipulators had previously been removed, so we could use it as a test bed for the upcoming season,” he said. This summer, Bob Jones students modified the software and controls to run in the stripped-down configuration.

“We also brought our 2012 FRC robot Reptar to sit on the sidelines as part of the scenery,” Dillard said.

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