Visitors to Jerry’s Hardware in Edina, Minnesota, in November might have thought they traveled to the future where robot assistants can aid their shopping. In reality, it was just the work of skilled high school students and an area robot team that brought the future to them.
Customers at the hardware store got the chance to see the robotic creation of Edina High School’s robotics team. The machine, which is conceptualized and built by the team and then entered into state and nationwide competitions, was designed to throw a basketball through a hoop, and it did so on command for any visitor who wanted to see it in action, says manager John Connolly.
“The robotics team has been bringing their robots in every year since 2010. It really is impressive to see what each new year brings and what the kids on the team can accomplish at such a young age,” Connolly says.
The team has an open account with Jerry’s Hardware, and the team often uses the store to supply items like small nuts and bolts as well as tools, Connolly says. The store makes a yearly donation to the team and offers a discount on purchases.
“It’s really fun to see how far the team has progressed over the years. It’s gotten to the point where the high school team is so advanced that they mentor a junior high school team as well as create their own robot,” Connolly says. “The team has a lot of community support, and there’s always a lot of interest in mentoring these students.”