SPIKE 293 volunteers at each elementary school in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. The team hosts a booth at each school’s science fair in order to inform kids about what robotics and engineering have to offer.
In 2009, SPIKE 293 was commissioned by the local police to create a robot they can use for target practice. The team eagerly took on this challenge as an opportunity to practice engineering for the real world and to show the community what it could do. After the competition season, members worked in the shop to build a robust, easy to use, easy to fix robot for target practice. Some challenges in doing this included making it easy enough for untrained police to operate and hardy enough to withstand long-term use. It also had to be bullet proof. After many prototypes and a couple of failed targets, the team was able to design and build this target practice robot and dispatch it for police use.
Fundraising helps buy the team supplies like bolts and metal and lower the cost of going to competitions. Annual fundraisers include a car wash, Community Cleanup and Pennington Day. Pennington Day is a big fair that celebrates the local city of Pennington. A street is closed off and different community shops and clubs set up stands to sell their products. SPIKE annually builds a mini robot for a children’s game at the fair. For example, one year we had a robot with a net attached that moved around as kids tried to score with small bean bags and hacky sacks. In previous years we had kids driving the robot around to knock over pins.