Kids build ramp to help classmate confined to wheelchair compete in robotics event
A local robotics team has come together to build a ramp to help their classmate confined to a wheelchair compete.
The Rocky Point Robo Eagles are gearing up for the Long Island championships in less than two weeks.
The event is a multipart LEGO competition in which students build, code and program robots that try to complete timed missions to earn points. The competitors also come up with a research project based on the theme of the year. This year’s theme is to find a problem within the team’s community and solve it.
Alex Grundmann has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. After a year on the robotics team, the 14-year-old gave it up because he realized that he could not compete because the table was too high for his wheelchair. This year, he wanted to compete again. The team of sixth, seventh and eighth graders realized this was a problem they could solve.
“Our team just took that and ran. Seriously, they all researched it, they went into the ADA, the American Disabilities Act, all the research specifications. They actually designed it,” says Rocky Point Robo Eagles Coach Mark Moorman.
The result was a usable, portable, height appropriate ramp that Grundmann now uses in the competition. The team says it received great reaction at a recent qualifier match.
“The referees and stuff, they were just looking like ‘What is this thing?’ and then they saw Alex and they saw him wheel up there and they were like ‘wow, this is your project?’ and we were like ‘yeah, this is our project,’ and they though it was cool,” says seventh grader Kristian Hald.
Winning the competition in two weeks is the goal for the Rocky Point Robo Eagles, but their coach says this team and these kids are already winners. Grundmann also has praise for his teammates.
“I’m definitely proud that we were able to come up with something so simple that can help me and so many other people,” Grundmann says.