Robotics Starts off with a Bang

By Nathan Satterfield ’19
Coming off of the team’s most successful season during the 2017–18 school year, the robotics program had a busy summer full of hosting an off-season competition, moving rooms in the school and building three robots in less than 16 hours. The team, during the past three and a half months, has hosted 20 robotics teams at Parker, worked with more than 40 volunteers from around the Midwest and has reached more than 3,000 people via our event live streams.
On July 21, we hosted the Chicago Robotics Invitational, an off-season FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) competition in the Big and Small Gyms at Parker. Twenty teams from seven states traveled to Chicago to compete. The game for this tournament was the same game as this past year, but in order to create a more enjoyable tournament, and to increase the difficulty, the game was modified slightly. With the game modification, we also created a few extra rules to go along with our fun game additions. The event was a major success, and teams from all across the Midwest greatly enjoyed themselves. At the end of the event, we gave out numerous awards for teams, ranging from design awards to an award for team spirit. The event was such a success that we are hosting it again next year. Additionally, the event was streamed on Twitch, and we had nearly 1,200 viewers throughout the day.
While the summer went on and our off-season tournament came and went, the east end of Parker’s shop room underwent a major renovation. Walls were knocked down, and a new room was formed by merging the old metal workshop, the shop room office and the shop room storage closet. This new room is the brand-new Parker Robotics room! The new space is dedicated solely to the three Upper School robotics teams, two FTC teams and one ROV team. You can check out the new robotics space by peeking through the yellow frame door that is directly across from the cafeteria. The new space will allow us to be more efficient in our building, allow us to work in a larger area and enable us to have the safety measures that come with working in a shop meant for manufacturing our robots. We spent the two weeks leading up to school organizing and optimizing the space for the teams needs and we are thrilled to have a dedicated space in the school.
Last, this past weekend we built three robots between Saturday and Sunday. The challenge for this year was released at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and, knowing the challenge, we spent all day Saturday and Sunday prototyping robots to compete with using parts kits donated by Andymark and REV Robotics. During the course of the weekend, alumni, volunteers from around the Illinois robotics community, students from other teams and mentors joined Parker’s team in the challenge of building a robot in one weekend. We ended up building three robots, as mentioned above, and currently we are in the process of furthering those robot designs. We are also creating tutorial videos about our robots so that teams can learn from our work during the weekend. Similar to the event during the summer, we live-streamed the whole Robot in One Weekend, and at the end of each day, we sat down and did recaps of each sub-team’s progress with their robot.
Saturday Recap:
Sunday Recap:
Stay tuned for many more updates from the robotics team as we get started with our season!
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.