Robotics wins award for socially-distanced project


Contributed by Weyland Bailey, Robotics Team Coach

Senior Lauren Jardiolin works on attaching arch bindings to the robot. Teams had to work in groups of three to stay safe during the pandemic while building the robot.

Wyatt Cullison, Staff Writer

It sits on an austere white pillar, feathers spilling majestically back over its crest, wood shining with polish and care, flowing designs cover every inch of Mid-Pacific’s newest robot, put on show for all to see.

Mid-Pacific High School Robotics recently won first place in the Innovation + Imagination Student Challenge in the Hawaii Wood Show, held Oct. 24.

The Hawaii Wood Show is an annual exhibition put on by the Hawaii Forest Industry association, where many craftspeople gather to submit work of the highest quality.
The team was invited by the University of Hawaii College of Architecture.

The Robotics Team’s robot, called Kia’i, sits on display at the Hawaii Wood Show. The robot was made in just 3 weeks after the team was invited to participate by the University of Hawaii College of Architecture. (Photo contributed by Weyland Bailey, Robotics Coach.)

This was not the first time that the team has built a completely wood robot, having built similar machines for the First Robotics competition for several years.

The team was invited by the University of Hawaii College of Architecture.

The Mid-Pacific robotics team took donated native Hawaiian woods and built an award winning robot, named Kia’i which translates to “The Protector”.

Though the team has prior experience, this is the first time that the students worked with Native Hawaiian wood, so they had to adjust accordingly.

“When we build a robot we just buy cheap plywood and slap it together. We never had to consider using these different woods,” said senior Kanoa Hirschman, a wood stainer and sander.

Inspiration for the robot’s design was taken from ancient Hawaiian designs, and team members Kanoa Hirschmann, Gavin Ball, Drew Kam, Lauren Jardiolin (Senior), Gabi Turnbull, Bryce Yamamoto (Junior) and Julian Rodgers (Freshman) shared reference photos on a Padlet.

“Fortunately we do have that experience with the wood robots, so we had to go right back to that kind of style,” said coach

“The idea came together; what if modern engineers went back in time to work with ancient Hawaiian warriors and military, what kind of robot would they create,””

— Weyland Bailey


Safety of the students was “the most important thing” to Bailey, and the students needed to be able to meet safely in a limited time frame of 3 weeks.

“We had arranged scheduled times so 3 people could meet up at school physically before anyone else could go back to campus,” said senior Drew Kam, CAD Designer.

Bailey said he “did a lot of thinking” about the best way to allow the students to do their work safely, before high schoolers came back to campus.

The activity and teamwork were beneficial to the team and their mental health, especially during the pandemic, said Kam.

“It was definitely a good activity for other people as well, both academically and socially,” Kam said.