School news

Lynbrook robotics team competes in NYC


It’s ironic how the members of the Lynbrook robotics teams can have a difficult time picking up their clothes off the floor, yet can build a robot that can play tic-tac-toe, Amy Chrein pointed out at the March 13 Lynbrook Board of Education.

Her son Noah is a captain on the team that turned some heads on March 8 at the FIRST Robotics Competition held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Lynbrook’s two teams competed against nearly 80 other high school teams from New York and other nearby states.

Team LAIMO and team Task Main were each in different divisions during the competition and each saw success. Jeff Bernhardt, a computer teacher at Lynbrook High School and the teams’ advisor, explained that the competition does not run like a typical sporting event. Despite finishing with the second most points in its division, Task Main’s robot did not move on to the post-qualifying round because the competition is based on wins rather than points.

LAIMO’s robot did not have enough wins to advance to the next round on its own, but it was selected to pair up with the Dalton School, a private school in Manhattan, for the post-qualifying round. The top four teams in each division got the chance to picked its partners in the post-qualifying round, which is how LAIMOS was chosen. The pairing made it all the way to the semifinals before losing.

Bernhardt said that both team’s achievements in the competition will make next year’s teams even better. “They weren’t the top teams but they were close to being in that group of top teams,” he said. “They got a taste of what success would be like and I think they realize what they could’ve done and they got frustrated. They want more now.”

What makes Lynbrook’s showing in the competition even more special is the fact that the program has only been around for two years. After completing a fellowship at New York University in 2011 where he studied mechatronics — a combination of mechanical, electrical and software engineering —Bernhardt founded the team.

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