HCC goes high-tech for the holidays

At Haywood Community College’s Regional High Technology Center, students created a Christmas tree like no other — a high-tech tree.

All the programs in the Advanced Technology Department made decorations for the tree, which uses LED energy efficient lights. The tree is decorated with everything from roofing tacks strung as garland to machined ornaments, stars cut from wood and eight “tinny” reindeer.

As part of an assignment, the students built Santa driving a sled led by a reindeer. Using Lego building blocks to construct the bodies, students also programmed the ‘robots’ to detect when someone is within two feet. Then, the reindeer and Santa move the sleigh.

“While it seems very simple, it is really a complex example of programming,” said electronic engineering student Robert Staggs. “We learned several aspects of robotics to complete this. We used a combination of sensors, timers and moving parts to get the end result.”

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