Technology

Students in Michigan 4th in world to fix potholes with robot

Posted June 14

— A team of four middle school students from southeast Michigan is winning awards for a robot designed to fix potholes.

Team Equalizer from Norup Middle School in Oak Park won first place in May at the State Robofest contest at Lawrence Technological University, then won fourth place this month at the World Robofest competition in Florida, the Oakland Press (http://bit.ly/2tmunne ) reported.

The team includes Max Fagenson and Izzy Jansen, both seventh graders, and eighth graders Ellie Haenick and Max Rontal. Their robot is programmed to work on the road filling the potholes while a worker safely operates the machine while not on the roadway.

The students competed against nearly 20 teams in their division at the World Robofest, which included 240 teams from 10 countries.

"It was so cool getting to know other issues from other countries and what these kids did to help them," Ellie said.

The students were assigned to solve real-world problems with a robot, Berkley School District spokeswoman Jessica Stilger said.

"After much research, students created a robot that fills potholes on Michigan roads with the goal of saving dollars, but also saving lives," she said.

Part of the research focused on injury and mortality rates of highway workers who fix crumbling roads.

"They realized the job was more dangerous than they could have believed," Stilger said.

District Superintendent Dennis McDavid congratulated the team, saying the district "is proud of these students who used critical thinking, research and creativity to solve a real-world problem with fidelity."

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