BRONX W www.BXTimes.com EEKLY December 9, 2018 2
Morris HS’s 2TrainRobotics celebrates 20th anniversary
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Students design 3D components to robot
Schneps Community News Group/ Alex Mitchell
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H4922_Engine4002_M Accepted 08242018
BY ALEX MITCHELL
Sometime during the upcoming
2019 MLB season the New York
Yankees will get a glimpse of what
its future talent pool may look like
when a ‘bot’ throws out the game’s
fi rst pitch.
The event will mark Morris High
School robotics team’s 20th anniversary.
The celebrated robotics team
has come a very long way since Windows
First booted up by Morris High
School business teacher Gary Israel
in 1999, it was the Bronx’ fi rst
ever robotics team and it had a lot to
After winning countless competitions,
earning sponsorships from the
New York Yankees and Bloomberg,
in addition to landing a workspace at
Columbia University’s school of Engineering,
the Morris High School
team did just that.
Now called 2TrainRobotics, it’s
nothing but business for the 30-plus
student squad under the tutelage of
Columbia lab manager, Bob Stark as
they begin preparations for the Saturday,
January 5 kickoff to the season.
It’s then that 2TrainRobotics
along with their competition will
learn the parameters of what they
will be building and tinkering with
over the following six weeks.
Played out in an indoor arena
about the size of a tennis court, the
competitions usually entail skill trials
for the robots, rather than having
them go on a destructive rampage.
“It’s not like battle bots where
the objective is to destroy the other
team’s robot,” said Columbia engineering
student and 2TrainRobotics
mentor Noah Silverstein. “Although
it’s defi nitely a contact sport,” the
Last year’s major competition involved
the robots stacking up cubes
and other similar tasks.
Being that this year’s big event
takes place at Columbia, 2TrainRobotics
has somewhat of a home fi eld
Right now in the ‘preseason,’
teammates are practicing on their
120 pound, 10-foot tall extending bot,
Zoidberg, named for the eccentric
With a top speed of 15 feet per
second, the bot runs on two stick
controls like that of a dated military
tank in addition to a modifi ed Xbox
controller that handles Zoidberg’s
While most of those abilities come
from its student-made artifi cial intelligence
that gives it the ability to pick
up objects independently, the Xbox
controller can extend and contract
the bot’s extensive neck.
It also has it’s own Wi-Fi network
and series of micro-cameras.
While all of that is comprehensive
enough, building and running the
robot is the easiest part of being on
the team, according to Silverstein.
“Students have to market the
robot, budget for what it will cost,
promote it through social media,
organize community events, recruit
sponsors and new teammates, meet
quotas in addition to so much more,”
Silverstein said. “It’s really like running
a business and the product, in
this case the robot, is only one of
many components,” he added.
At one of those community
events Jarrell Dukes from Co-op
City, who has a special interest in
propulsion engineering and coding,
joined the team.
He’s one of many new recruits
from other schools around the
Bronx and the city, now that 2Train-
Robotics has expanded to allow just
about any city student with an interest
2TrainRobotics members have
a 100% high school graduation rate.
Many return as mentors to advise
the future teams.
The team is now designing
another robot for this upcoming
season, which is scheduled to be
showcased before a Bronx Bombers
Last year’s robot, Zoidberg.
Schneps Community News Group/ Alex