This week the FIRST Robotics Championship Competition takes place in Atlanta. My school’s team, Bishop Guertin’s Team 811, will be competing with and against over 300 other teams from around the US and around the world. Should be a blast.
This year’s competition, Rack ‘n Roll, involves robots that pick up pool inner tubes and hang them on a large tree-like structure in the middle of the field of play. Six robots (three on the red team, three on the blue team) play in the 2 minute-15 second round, and scores are based on the length of rows of tubes hanging on the tree at the end of the round. But what makes the game REALLY intense is that during the first 15 seconds of the round, the robots run without user control.
Teams that can build a robot that can hang a tube on the rack during this first 15 seconds have a significant competitive advantage, because they start the round with points scored. In previous years, it was quite common for teams to score autonomous points; this year, however, the game’s complexity meant that very few teams successfully score this way. Team 811, I am proud to say, is one of the few. In the Manchester, NH Regional competition last month, we had the entire Verizon Arena watching as our robot ("Sparky", named after a few unfortunate incidents during construction) hung it’s tube all by itself.
Hopefully, our team will do well in the Newton Division (one of four in the Championships, along with Archimedes, Curie, and Galileo). There will be 81 teams from all across the US, 2 from Canada, and 3 from Israel! Can’t wait.
I’ll report more as time goes on.