Meet Dr. K, robotics team's baby

Robotics adviser affixes sticker to robot

On Tuesday, members of Albany High School Robotics Team 1493 officially named their six-week-old, 120-pound baby.

Meet Dr. K, whose moniker is a mashup honoring two of the group’s advisers: Dr. Andre Castagna, a longtime Albany High math teacher who is retiring at the end of the school year, and Richard Kissane, a retired Albany High technology teacher who has been involved with the club for two decades.

In return, Castagna and Kissane christened their namesake Wednesday with stickers bearing its name. Check out a YouTube video of Dr. K in action.

Dr. K is the smallest robot ever made by the team. It’s 27 inches high, 22 inches wide and 22 inches deep.  The team worked hard to keep the robot’s weight down to keep its center of gravity very low to the ground.

The robot is programmed with the language Java. It has more than 30 parts made from a 3-D printer, along with 13 motors, two cameras and a dozen sensors.

Dr. K was entirely fabricated at Albany High for the team to operate at two 2023 FIRST Robotics competitions this month: the Finger Lakes Regional at Rochester Institute of Technology March 16-18 and the Tech Valley Regional at the MVP Arena March 30-April 1.

FIRST Robotics is an annual international high school robotics competition. Each year, teams of high school students, coaches, and mentors work during a six-week period to build robots capable of competing in that year's game. Robots complete tasks such as scoring balls into goals, placing inner tubes onto racks, hanging on bars, and balancing robots on balance beams. The game, along with the required set of tasks, changes each year.

Castagna will continue serving as an adviser to the team after his retirement.