Project 691 Robotics make finishing touches for competition season

Project 691 coach Aaron Dolgin, left, and Olivia Onesti, 17, solder a motor onto the drive train of the Project 691 team robot at West Ranch high School in Valencia on Saturday, February 22, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Project 691 Robotics participants were making their finishing touches on their robot Saturday to compete with teams from all over the world at the Mamba Sports Academy next weekend. 

This competition marks the start of the season, with more than 40 teams coming to compete. Three world champion teams are attending, along with teams from Hawaii, Taipei and the Netherlands. 

For the past two months, the team has been brainstorming, problem-solving and constructing a robot for the competition. They meet every Saturday for 12 hours at a time. According to a member of the team, they would stay later if it weren’t for the 9 p.m. curfew. 

“(The team members) have completed their strategy and figured out how they want to drive the robot and how they want to play the game,” said Aaron Dolgin, coach of Project 691 Robotics. “They figured everything out so they now are figuring out how to integrate it and bring it all into one system.” 

At the competition, the robot will compete in different challenges including picking up a 7-inch foam ball and shooting it across a field, according to Dolgin. 

Danny Green, who is also a coach, emphasizes that programs like these are important when it comes to learning mechanical skills. With these workshops, these students have the opportunity to have hands-on experience. 

The Project 691 team works on the ball conveyor of the Project 691 team robot at West Ranch high School in Valencia on Saturday, February 22, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

The road to completion has not always been a smooth one, according to Olivia Onesti, a junior on the team. 

“We’ve run into a few hiccups because we’ll have a design and we think it’s going to work and then we try to integrate it with the robot and it doesn’t work,” said Onesti. 

Onesti is interested in pursuing a career in engineering, like most of the members on the team.

Project 691 Robotics are competing in their first competition of the season with their robot on Saturday and Sunday at the Mamba Sports Academy, where an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 are expected to attend, according to Dolgin. 

The First Robotics Competition, the Los Angeles North Regional, is a free event at Mamba Sports Academy, 1011 Rancho Conejo Boulevard, in Thousand Oaks.  For more information about Project 691, visit their website at

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