MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) A group of Martinsville High School students are using their love of robotics to try and help out the police department.
The MADawgs, as they are called, are working on a police robot. It will be small enough to fit into the trunk, but strong enough to pull an officer out of a dangerous situation if needed.
"This project is just another way for us to showcase what we're doing and it's a way to give back to the community from our skillset that we're using here," says MADawgs Robotics Club member, Daniel Peay.
About ten of the 20 students in the award-winning robotics program at Martinsville High School have been working on this project for three or four weeks.
They aren't done yet. They're still adding more features, like a camera and speaker system.
"An arm. An arm that will be able to open up doors, or pull bags, boxes, pull sheets back if they need to, move stuff out of the way," says Peay.
It all started when the School Resource Officer picked up a backpack he found and someone asked him, "Well how do you know what's in there?' says SRO, J.C. White. " I'm like, well I don't, but if I had a robot that would be kinda cool and it wouldn't be an issue then."
The students have been working closely with the police department and SWAT team to see what features they want.
It also has tank tread and will be able to go over any type of terrain, and it can get up to 40 mph.
"I can't believe you guys made a machine do this at the high school with the parts that you have on hand. That just says so much about them and the teachers here," says Officer White.
There's a lot more that goes into building and mastering the operations of the robot.
"It's not just about the mechanical, the electrical piece of it. It's marketing, it's programming and coding. It's a well-rounded program, which I'm extremely excited and proud to be a part of," says Martinsville Schools STEM Coordinator, Todd Cassell.
The teacher says they are really on the cusp of something great.
"What we've done here is built something very very special that can be used in real world for not a lot of money," says Cassell.
Mr. Cassell says they've used all materials that they already had on hand in the shop, and it's about $1,500 worth of materials.
They hope to have the project complete by December.