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Science Center revs up remote control competition

Suncoast Science Center hosts workshops leading up to inaugural Remote Control Custom Car Open in March.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. January 28, 2016
  • Sarasota
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By now, the batteries are dying in many of the remote-control cars given as holiday gifts.

But if you’re one of the seven high school SciCore Youth Volunteers at the Suncoast Science Center who are organizing the Remote Control Car Open race March 5, you know how to maximize — or upgrade — the battery and juice it for all it’s worth. 

The SciCore Youth Volunteers program brings together students with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and puts them in leadership roles.

Pine View senior Henry Tingle got involved with planning the concept for the race at the beginning of the summer, when he started volunteering at Suncoast.

   “I was thinking that a car was something that was relatively simple and not many parts,” said Tingle, who is also building  his own drone at the center. “They’re easier to modify, and automatically, (participants are) getting something that’s fun and enjoyable.”

The leaders behind the Remote Control Custom Car Open are Pine View School’s William Giraldo and Matthew Mason, ninth grade; Jade Fischer, 11th grade; Peter Florian and Tingle, 12th grade; Riverview High School’s Abby Vesco, 11th grade; and Suncoast Polytechnical High School’s Jared White, 12th grade.

Together, they have decided on every aspect of the competition, from its rules to the course. Approximately 40 teams have signed up for the event, which includes a drag race portion, beauty competition and lap race.

A look under the hood of the hobby-grade customizable remote control car.
A look under the hood of the hobby-grade customizable remote control car.


Each team will begin with the same grade-A hobby remote-control car that can travel at speeds up to 20 mph without modification. Participants can modify cars, although there are a few basic rules.

Matthew Mason, whose involvement stems from his passion for radio control vehicles, said a price limit on upgrades makes the competition fair.

Jared White hopes that the program will introduce participants to new building methods and resources. Participants will have access to science center resources such as a 3-D printer and laser and vinyl cutters.

“Part of the plan is to teach them a specific machine, too, so they know what they’re doing,” White said. 

Suncoast Executive Director Ping Faulhaber hopes the program will introduce younger students to new resources while building the same-age mentorship at the center.

“The whole thing is getting them to come here,” Faulhaber said. “They’re so passionate and excited.”



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