Some students in Bettendorf are preparing for a world robotics competition. The Winter Soldiers, a neighborhood team whose members are 12-18 years old, will go to an international competition in Detroit next month.
Janene Murphy, co-coach of the team, says they've been preparing since September.
"From September on, these students have been essentially studying the field, studying the competition, figuring out what works on their robot, what doesn't work at all, or what can be tweaked. The robots you see in the beginning are going to be different than the ones at the end because they've been constantly tinkering, working on their design process, building the robot, and adding components to make it compete as best it can."
The Winter Soldiers will compete for four days in Detroit with their robot, Black Widow. Teams will compete in pairs.
"Let's say a robot goes down. Something happens. It goes kaboom. There's always a rush of people trying to help that robot get back on its feet, because everyone wants to win, but at the same time, everybody wants everyone else to be in the best performance shape they can be. We're very much a family. And everyone is rooting for everybody else at the same time."
The group does outreach and mentoring with other robotics teams in the Quad Cities and even some overseas. Their mission is to spread STEM to under-represented and under-privileged students.