(MTN News-HELENA) Operating robots can challenge most people, but designing and building one can be event more difficult. In this week’s Class Act, MTN’s Mikenzie Frost met some Helena students who do not have issues with robots in any form.

Fusion 4133 is a robotics team from Helena comprised of middle and high school students who just returned from winning their second state title in a row.

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“Well, next we get to make our robot better for Super Regionals,” said Fusion co-captain Elijah Beckstrom.

In March, the team will travel to Oakland, California to put their robot to the test, but it won’t come without practice.

“We usually try to do twice a week, every week. But when things come down to it, like a competition is closer or we really want to get this done, we could end up meeting longer,” said Fusion co-captain Zachary Hainze.

When making design decisions and building it, it always comes down to one thing.

Ellis added, “One will get us the most points in competition.”

This year the team switched programming softwares.

“We went from Robot C to Java,” said Fusion Safety Officer Bryson Jones.

For those of us who do not really know what that means, it is the switch that caused some problems.

“We had to re-teach the robot how to drive forward and how to do basic turns and maneuvers,” explained Jones.

How did these kids get involved in such a unique, technical club?

Fusion Pit Manager Emily Ellis said, “a former member, who’s now in college, got me interested and told me to come check out the team and so I just started from there.”

Jones added, “I went to the kick off and it really piqued my interest.”

Fusion Designs builds their robot themselves from the bottom up, but funds for the materials can be a little hard to come by.

“When we’re designing our robot we usually come up with all our ideas and we write them down. We often go to local businesses and ask for sponsorships, and we volunteer and do concessions,” said Beckstrom.

Besides getting to travel, competitions offer life experiences as well.

“An overall, like great experience, and it looks great on college applications too,” said Ellis.

The members of the Fusion 4133 are able to balance practices, competitions, and school which makes them a Class Act.

The team will be hosting a murder mystery dinner fundraiser in March to help off-set their costs to travel to California for Super Regionals.

For more information of the Fusion 4133 please visit: http://www.4133fusion.org/about.html

Reporter: Mikenzie Frost