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Helena robotics team brings home 1st place award

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Posted at 1:38 PM, May 12, 2023

HELENA — Helena robotics team Fusion 4133 recently got back from an international competition in Houston, Texas, securing a 1st place win for their robot design.

“It shows that all the work I've put in isn't just like, oh, it's kind of cool for Montana. But it's actually means something on the world stage,” says team co-captain and build lead, Zach Heller.

Fusion 4133 won the award at the FIRST Championship held in Houston Texas in April of this year. The Helena robotics team took home 1st in the design category of the Edison division. The judges were looking for a team that has worked through various iterations of a robot to land upon a final version. And in fact, the team even went so far as to create a whole new robot for the international competition.

This was their very first win at this international competition.

While the judges didn’t directly tell the team why they won, Heller, the team’s co-captain and build lead, suspects it had something to do with their 3D-printed belts.

“We believe that this was for our 3D printer belts which are one of a kind throughout the entire competition, possibly the entire world,” says Heller.

Using these homemade belts allowed the team to not have to subscribe to a more rigid or traditional design of their robot.

“But most people use store bought belts and those can limit creativity or make you fit into specific areas because you need the right amount of teeth to go between different distances. So, being able to print them gives us that freedom,” says team co-captain and lead of documentation, Miranda Sheafor.

For the 2 seniors, Heller and Sheafor, this competition and win is a great way to leave their legacy on the team and know that they’ve left it in good shape for future tinkerers.

“So, it was really great to feel like we have, as a team, uplifted fusion robotics to such a great place,” says Sheafor.

Team coach, Jamie Dushin, says he is very proud of his team and the work they’ve done, and that Helena can be too.

“These guys went and represented Helena and Montana very well. So, everybody should be proud of the work they did,” says Dushin.