Upper School Robotics teams recently conducted a Morning Ex to share about what they do, how they do it and convey more about the accolades their teams have garnered leading up to a league tournament taking place at the school.
Participating students introduced the FIRST organization, which includes the FIRST Tech Challenge. FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology—is a global robotics community that prepares young people for a future in STEM fields. The FIRST Tech Challenge challenges student teams to design, build and code robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams.
Parker has two teams participating in the FTC this year: Robotheosis (#3507), which consists of students who have been involved in Upper School robotics for at least one year, and Frank’s Garage (#9410), a team consisting of only first-time participants in FTC. Frank’s Garage and Robotheosis currently rank 1st and 2nd, respectively, within their league.
One student described the gameplay associated with this year’s FTC. “Power Play” challenges teams to use their robots to place cones at different junction heights on the game field to score points within a finite amount of time. For two minutes of each round, human drivers can operate their robots, and for 30 seconds of each round, the robots must operate in an autonomous mode.
Team members provided a detailed glimpse into each of their robots and the ways the team controls them in competition. Since each season presents a new challenge, teams must design robots each year to spec. Members of Robotheosis explained that their design used a compact drivetrain, wheels that allow the robot to drive in any direction without changing its orientation, arm and lift and a single finger claw to accomplish its objectives. Frank’s Garage shared how they aimed for a simpler autonomous mode with their design, which includes a chassis made of aluminum and a linear slide run by a string. The teams demonstrated their robots’ mechanical claws and arms on stage for their peers, simulating how they work in competition.
To cap off their presentation, the teams invited student and faculty volunteers on stage to pilot one of four miniature robot “battlebots” featuring balloons they designed. Participants drove their robot within a gamefield, attempting to pop their opponents balloon—proof positive that you don’t need to be an engineering student to enjoy robots!
Parker congratulates these teams on all their hard work this season!