Members of the Upper School FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics team orchestrated a Morning Ex to introduce each of the school’s robotics teams and provide an overview of their work this season to date.
Those in attendance watched a video of the Middle School FIRST LEGO League teams competing throughout the season prior to hearing from the Upper School Remote Operating Vehicle Underwater Robotics Team and both Upper School teams competing this year.
Next, US members of the FIRST Tech Challenge teams provided an overview of the current season challenge: Freight Frenzy, which requires FIRST Tech competitors to transport as many blocks as possible within the playing area while attempting to keep one hub in the playing area balanced and another unbalanced—quite a tall order that can be accomplished in myriad ways!
Each team then shared a design overview of their robots, pointing out the unique components on their design that helped give them an edge in competition. Features such as a gearbox and claw on a 180-degree arm, a belted drivetrain, computer vision, large multi-directional wheels and a virtual 4bar mechanism have been instrumental in each team’s success to date. The freshman team (#9410) ranks second overall in the Chicago League, and Parker’s veteran team (#3507) is right on their heels in the third-place slot.
Team members working with student and faculty volunteers piloted one of two robots on the Heller Auditorium stage in a series of “Battle Bot”-type competitions, with each trying to pop a balloon on the other’s robot. Video cameras captured and shared the robotic action from above so that those in the Auditorium, and watching on Zoom from their classrooms, could share in the fun.
Reflecting upon the experience, team member and senior Star Rothkopf said, “Getting to share our work and excitement for robotics in front of the whole school was very exciting. We were able to offer information on our team, activities and robot design, as well as put on a fun display for the whole school to enjoy. The Battle Bots were a huge hit!”