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Teams from across the region had very different outcomes during the Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Challenge

By Heather Rivers, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

CASS tech students show off their Sorty Bot Tuesday at the Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Challenge Tuesday. From left Connor Hughes, Dylan Hewitt, Jacob Payne, Tim Jones, Michael Wright, Jared Spring and Jason Waterland. (HEATHER RIVERS, Sentinel-Review)

CASS tech students show off their Sorty Bot Tuesday at the Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Challenge Tuesday. From left Connor Hughes, Dylan Hewitt, Jacob Payne, Tim Jones, Michael Wright, Jared Spring and Jason Waterland. (HEATHER RIVERS, Sentinel-Review)

Their kits may be all the same but the results of their robotic efforts will end up being very, very different.

Roughly 20 different schools team from across the region were all given Lego Mindstorm kits and tasked with developing a programmable robot used in an industrial application.

“The interesting thing is they are all given the same same Lego kit – in an Apollo-type setting,” explained Brad Hammond, economic development officer with of the City of Woodstock. “Each team develops a robot that looks and behaves differently but completes the same task.”

Tuesday marked the 12th annual Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Competition, where schools from across and outside the county come to compete and show off their robots.

Founded in 2004 by the City of Woodstock, the competition has grown into a regional partnership entitled the Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Challenge.

“The purpose is to encourage high school students to think about careers in skilled trades and manufacturing,” Hammond said.

Dylan Hewitt, a grade 12 student at College Avenue Secondary School, said he and his team members dedicated 210 man hours to developing their Sorty Bot.

The team used their lunch hours, three-to-five times a week, to complete the project.

Sorty Bot was designed to sort six different parts based on shape, weight and colours.

“There is a big team dynamic in this,” Hewitt said. “Very different personalities are thrown together who have the same passion and ideas. It’s a fun experience, you learn a lot about engineering and programming.”

Hewitt said undertaking the project made him decide to study mechanical engineering so he could utilize his problem solving skills to build other projects.

CASS technology teacher Rob Van Dasler said the project helped the students develop new skills.

“It’s a great character building, problem solving project,” he said. “There are so many different aspects. You’ve got video, programming, mechanical situations and a written report.”

HRivers@postmedia.com