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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Two robotics teams to work with police on moving target

Heritage High school robotics team (WYDaily/ Courtesy of the Newport News Police Department)
Heritage High school robotics team (WYDaily/ Courtesy of the Newport News Police Department)

NEWPORT NEWS — Robotics teams from Heritage High School and Hines Middle School are working with the city’s police department to create a remote controlled moving target.

The Hines team will work on the target system, while the Heritage team will take care of the drivetrain and the control system, according to the department’s news release.

The prototype is expected to be complete by Sept. 1.

Newport News Police Sgt. Bradley Churchill said he thought of the idea for a remote controlled target when he was looking for ways to create life-like training scenarios.

“I place a very high value on reality based training,” Churchill said. “I’m always looking for ways on how we can provide our people with good quality training.”

A team of eight students from Heritage are taking the lead on designing the moving target while staff and other mentors, including a NASA engineer, a software developer and a developer from the Newport News Shipbuilding, will assist as needed, mainly to see if the students’ designs are plausible for real life scenarios.

Olimpia Stein is the engineering teacher and the head coach of the robotics team at Heritage High School and said the project is an opportunity for the students in the Governor’s STEM Academy, to get real world experience in the field of robotics.

“We are really fortunate we heard about this project,” Stein said, adding the robotics season ends mid April to early May and the team usually works on a project to prepare them for next season.

The high school is closed for the summer because of construction so the team will meet at the Peninsula STEM Gym during the summer months.

Jacob King, a first-year team member of the robotics program, said initially the team used WiFi to control the moving target but is trying to switch over to radio control.

“Our biggest challenge is figuring out how to control the robot,” King said.

In addition the team plans to have a model before the building starts, said Dalton Webster, a freshman in the engineering and robotics program.

And while the project is still in the design phase, the goal is to start building the prototype in June and complete the prototype by Sept. 1 before they prepare for next year’s robotics competition.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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