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Boys' basketball: Harvard-Westlake robot doesn't miss free throws

February 22, 2012 |  8:55 am

There's a reason I show up to athletic events more than an hour early. I like to see what's happening on a high school campus, and on Tuesday night at Harvard-Westlake, I discovered a group of students building a robot that shoots basketballs using an ultra sonic guidance system thanks to a tour by Audrius Barzdukas, head of athletics.

The robot isn't supposed to miss any shots. The students were in their final hours before having to finish the project for a national competition. They had a fire extinguisher nearby and were playing Star Wars music as they tried to get part of the robot to work. The first attempt produced sparks and a burned battery. The second attempt got the motor running.

One of the captains of the robot team is fencer Matt Heartney, who was doing his best to get the robot to fire away.

But with any robot, there were mechanical problems. Hopefully, he'll have the issues fixed in time for the competition. There's always a need for a machine that's supposed to be better than Kobe Bryant in making shots.

-- Eric Sondheimer