Robotics club learns about electrical grid

The Cranberry Area High School Robotics Club and members of the school’s gifted classes watched Penelec employee Joe Zacherl demonstrate a lineman’s job on Friday morning at Penelec’s plant on West First Street in Oil City.

Daniel O’Brien, a technology and science teacher at the high school, said the demonstration and talk showed students how an electrical grid works so the students can design a robot that can aid in the replacement of power systems.

Zack Bedee, who teaches physics and robotics, said the Robotics Club students are currently designing “a safer way to repair downed power lines and transformers, to make a lineman’s job safer.”

Jenna Seigworth, a senior at Cranberry, said the robotics team will incorporate the information when it prepares for a robotics competition in October, sponsored by Best Robotics, which will be held at Penn State- DuBois.

Several other local teams also will compete there, said Seigworth, who also is the CEO of Berry Botics, a simulated corporation. Berry Botics is the name the club chose as part of the competition.

“This is very beneficial for Berry Botics,” she said, “and we will apply it to making our robot and marketing it.”

Gayle Mitchell, a gifted teacher at the high school, organized the demonstration with Chuck Evanoff, an external affairs manager at Penelec.

“This is great stuff. I really enjoy this,” Evanoff said. “We are showing them some things that our lineman do to repair the line.

“We have a school in Erie, and maybe some of them will be interested in attending after seeing this.”