Students’ Fire Fighting Robot Wins Wardlaw-Hartridge Science Fair


Rosalie Xu and Ethan Ye display their fire fighting robot and the plaque they won for first place at the Trinity College competition. (Photo by Rudy Brandl of Fanwood)

EDISON — Rosalie Xu and Ethan Ye of Edison, freshmen at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, impressed the judges, parents and fellow students and won first place in the Upper School Science Fair on April 11.

The winning team built a Fire Fighting Robot, which was programmed to navigate a maze against time and extinguish a flame. Winning the Science Fair wasn’t much of a surprise after the students took home a much larger prize, first place at the Trinity College Fire Fighting Home Robot Competition on in Hartford, Conn. on April 6.

“They built it from scratch and showed phenomenal ability to troubleshoot and problem-solve,” said Roland Marionni of Scotch Plains, a Wardlaw-Hartridge chemistry teacher and one of the judges at the school’s Science Fair. “This is one of the best projects I’ve seen.”

The students, who were born in China but first met as classmates at Wardlaw-Hartridge, put many hours of work into their project. Xu’s computer programming skills and Ye’s creative building ability combined to create an awesome robot.

“I’m very excited, we spent a lot of time on this,” Ye, 15, said. “I was really glad when we tested it and it worked.”

The students spent an estimated $500 on materials and Ye assembled the robot. Meanwhile, Xu spent more than 100 hours writing an extensive program to make the robot work.

“I started working on the program before Spring Break and spent many hours,” Xu, 16, said. “When I started to learn about programming, I became really interested in it. I think we learned a lot from this.”

Many other Wardlaw-Hartridge students produced fine projects for the Science Fair. Pierre Bouley of Edison took second place for Shiff Bases and Perfumes and there was a third place tie between Matt Handzy of Westfield and John Anderson-Schmitt of Scotch Plains (Slinky and Transfer of Information) and Max Needle of Scotch Plains and Astitva Soni of Edison (Ferro-Fluid).

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