Defense contractor's robot provides inspiration to Flathead stud - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Defense contractor's robot provides inspiration to Flathead students

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KALISPELL - The Flathead Valley High School Tech Club recently received a gift from Endeavor Robotics, a company that is contracted by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The robot has taken out over 50,000 bombs since it was created and is now roaming the halls of Flathead High School, helping the kids find inspiration in building their own robot.

The robot, Pacbot, was built in 1997. Some of its many features include LED lights, a gripper that can open a door, pick up objects, or pull wires and four separate cameras with infrared technology. 

The robot has been used all over the world to help diffuse various kinds of bombs.

“They used it extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan and then a lot of local police, bomb squads also used that in taking care of suspect packages, IED’S, pipe bombs here in the home land as well," said Endeavor Robotics Senior Robotics Project Manager Phil Herndon.

It has recently been loaned to Flathead high’s Tech Club in hopes of getting students to realize how important robotics can be.

“Really we wanted people to understand how important robotics was and hopefully inspire the school to create a full-up robotics class instead of just being an after-school club," Herndon told MTN News.

And that is exactly what it is doing. “It will definitely inspire us, I mean I’ve been inspired by it. I know that’s kind of like an end goal, I guess is what you could say," Flathead High School Senior Tyler Kitch said.

Vocational teacher and leader of the tech club, Ben Butts says they cannot build more on the robot or look into its code but it will still be helpful for the club.

“It will kind of give us a platform to see how robots work as we’re building our own. It is just kind of cool that companies out there want to participate in school events as well," Butts said.

Butts also echoed Herndon’s hopes that the club will ultimately become a class but is happy with where they are right now.

“I hope that one day it will transition into more than a club and be part of our curriculum here at Flathead, but that’s down the line. As long as we’re making strides towards that I’m happy with what we’re doing.”

The robotics club is building it own robot that will be featured in a competition later in February.

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