Tanaka to enter VEX Robotics Tournament


Senior Corey Tanaka works on his robot after school to prepare for the Maui County Fair Invitational VEX Robotics Tournament on Oct. 1. His robot will have to score by moving the blue and red objects at the right and putting them into goals.

By Kiana Kamalu, Op-Ed editor

Senior Corey Tanaka will be competing against 32 other Maui teams at the Maui County Fair Invitational VEX Robotics Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011.

There are two teams competing from Kamehameha Schools Maui; Tanaka is one of them, and the other team is made up of seniors Michael Nelson, Trey Fernandez and Jarred Pulido.

“I am on my own team,” Tanaka said, “but I prefer it that way.” Because he is on a separate team, there might be a chance that he has to compete against Nelson, Fernandez, and Pulido.

Mrs. Phyllis Sone, the Robotics teacher, recruited Corey for the competition. He said that he has taught himself a lot of what he has learned. He is currently the only student with a robot that is working with a VEX Cortex microcontroller, which he had to teach himself how to use as well.

He has been working hard since the challenge was announced on Aug. 4. “I stay after school every day preparing the robot for the competition,” he said.

Tanaka has worked with several different designs, each one from scratch. This is his final design.

“It is pretty difficult because our maximum dimensions are 18”x18”x18”,” he said. The parts of the robot are supplied by the school, and they all have to be VEX brand.

For the competition, the robot will have to perform certain tasks. “It has to move two types of objects: a sphere with a diameter of six inches, and a cylinder six inches in width and five in height,” Tanaka said.

According to the VEX Forum, the game is called VEX Gateway, and a match is played on a 12’x12’ square field with two alliances: red and blue. The field is separated by three zones: the interaction zone, the red isolation zone, and the blue isolation zone. The alliances are two teams competing against each other to win the most points. You score by putting the cylinders and balls in the goals of varying heights. The alliance with the most points wins.

This event is a World Championship Qualifying Event, so the teams hope to do well in this competition and move on.

This is the second year that Kamehameha Maui robotics students have entered.

The public is invited to come out and root for their favorite teams this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in the Baldwin High School gymnasium. The event is free. The final double elimination matches will begin at approximately 2:45 p.m., with awards at 4:00.

For more information, click here to go to the information Web site.