Race Inspired Robotics

The success of any business starts with the people who work there. That is particularly true here at Mercury Racing.  Our employees are highly skilled, extremely passionate and dedicated to their work. We rely on schools that provide technical training to secure a skilled workforce for the future.

Aidan Keiler and Oscar Lopez making last minute repairs to defective sensors and motors between competitions. The tournament structure requires efficient teamwork in making adjustments and repairs in order to be ready for the next match. Photo courtesy of Chris Keiler.

One such program that caught our eye is the Lomira Robotics Club, in Lomira, Wisconsin. Established in January of 2017, the club provides students hands-on training to gain a better understanding regarding robot construction. To enhance their experience – the students elected to enter their projects into a robotics tournament. Competition accelerates student learning and provides them exposure to students from other schools and their associated robotics programs. Two middle school teams and one high school team, each comprising of four students were entered.

Aidan Keiler makes adjustments to the robot’s programming code while preparing for competition. Variations in field conditions and surfaces create a need for ongoing adjustments. Photo courtesy of Chris Keiler.

The season began in June 2018.  All team members participated in a five-week summer school program to develop a greater understanding of programming and engineering design. Robot construction to build prototypes and develop code began in September.

Oscar Lopez, Owen Binkelman and Aidan Keiler modify the ball intake cage on the robot to increase efficiency. Photo courtesy of Chris Keiler.

Turning Point, the theme of the 2019 Robotics games, requires robots to flip and raise caps, turn flags by shooting balls, and climb platforms. VEX Robotics has over 20,000 teams representing more than 50 countries competing around the world. All three teams from Lomira qualified for the Wisconsin VEX Robotics Championship, March 3-4 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Master Minds: (L-R): Jaye Zingsheim, Oscar Lopez, Owen Binklman, and Aidan Keiler. Photo courtesy of Chris Keiler.

The Master Minds, consisting of eighth-grade students, stood out in the skills competition for their programming and driver performance. Their 11th place finish qualified them for both the U.S. Open Robotics Championship and the World Championship. In the general game, they reached the quarterfinals of their division with their robots placing in the top three for the state of Wisconsin. 

Mercury Racing supported the program with a $4,000 donation to assist with expenses associated with the VEX World Championship tournament. 

The Master Minds get ready to compete in the first elimination round. They won this close match by a score of 18-14 to allow them to move on to the quarter finals of their division. Photo courtesy of Chris Keiler.

The Master Minds had a fantastic run at the VEX World Championship Tournament, April 24-27 in Louisville, Kentucky. Their 11-3 overall finish placed them in the quarterfinals for their division and in the top 32 middle-school robots in the world. 

“The tournament was filled with great opportunities for our team to network with outstanding engineers from middle through collegiate levels, representing bright minds from across the world,” said team mentor Chris Keiler, Lomira School District director of pupil services. 

The competition requires communication and networking with teams from around the world. (L-R): Oscar Lopez, Aidan Keiler and Jaye Zingsheim network and strategize with a team from Bangkok while overcoming language barriers. Photo courtesy of Chris Keiler.

Lomira Middle School Science Teacher Blake Bogenhagen, who also serves as a team mentor said, “We are proud of the hard work, dedication, and accomplishments of all of our robotics teams, and appreciate the partnership from companies like Mercury Racing to help make these real-world experiences happen.”

Mercury Racing was glad to be involved in a supporting  role.

“Mercury Racing is proud of the Lomira Robotics Club and their accomplishments, particularly because it’s such a young program,” said Mercury Racing General Manager Stuart Halley. “We support these programs in hopes of attracting the talent to support our business and the surrounding communities in the future.”  



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One thought on “Race Inspired Robotics”

  1. We are proud to have Mercury Racing as a sponsor of our Lomira Robotics Club. Thank you for your partnership in giving our teams first class experiences in engineering and automation that will help prepare them to enter the workforce at world class companies like Mercury Racing.

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