The Rolling Drones, Bötley Crüe, and Pink Droyd of the robotics team will be competing on January 14 for the First Tech Challenge.
"This is preparation for the real tech world," said Rabia Javaid ’17, Bötley Crüe’s engineering notebook keeper.
The teams have been preparing for the qualifiers for months. This year’s competition is Velocity Vortex sponsored by Qualcomm. FTC is a big competition that role plays for real life situations. Collecting balls and bringing them to an higher place is this year’s main theme for scoring high but risky points.
"In other words, future innovator’s robots could go up in space and collect particles," said Javaid ’17.
Programs like FTC spurs up competitive spirits and push out 21 century work-life skills like problem solving, management, and communication to a higher level. Each captain of the team have high responsibilities and management for the team.
"The most difficult thing I had to do was to get everybody on the same page so they could visualize my goals for the robot," said Ron Lazimi ’17, captain of the Bötley Crüe team. "Our robot is decently built with a good chance on getting past the qualifiers but we’re missing some major components like sensors because they didn’t come in time."
Even without the most vital parts of robots, the teams managed to work around the problem. Other captains also expresses their concerns and success.
Captain of The Rolling Drones Mari Geguchadze ’17 said, "I’ve never really had to account for an entire team before. Sometimes it’s a little suffocating. I think that aside, we have a pretty good grasp on the competition."
Although The Rolling Drones are experiencing some trouble coordinating, they’ve pulled through with a robot built much quicker than the other two teams.
"This year, AutoCad is very intense due to our time limit. The team works very well together trying to back each other up and giving good feedback on plans and tactics for winning," said Captain of Pink Droyd, Mohammad Ishtiaq ’17.
In the end, the most important thing is that all teams have each other’s support and working together to reach their ultimate goals. "
As time progressed, my team and I grew a bond together and we’re able to make changes and build on each other’s ideas," said Sidney Yee ’18, a builder of Bötley Crüe.
Matthew Eng ’17, another builder of Bötley Crüe, said, "Building with what we came up with was easy but testing and rebuilding takes a lot time in order to reach the consistency that is crucial to robots."
Captains weren’t the only ones to have their hands full. Tasks assigned to team members receive high expectations and are expected to be complete within a certain time frame.
Budget is another problem in this year’s FTC competition. New logos were designed by each respective team. This means there needs to be a new batch of team attire to be ordered and each team member had to pay for their own attire.
"This year’s funds were a lot less than last years and I don’t have direct control over it. I can’t make everyone pay $30 for a T-shirt," said Mr. Jahn, coach of the robotics teams.
Funds were in the hands of Parent’s Association and accessing it was not as easy. With barely enough money to cover the fees of sign-up for the competition, funds were used sparingly.
However, Anthony Annuziato ’17 from Bötley Crüe managed to hook up everybody with three local sponsors. The team is able to get more funds for parts which helps greatly since many remaining parts for the robots were previously abused to even function properly. Sarah Wu ’17 and Tiffany Zhang ’17 from Pink Droyds also put in efforts in fundraising by crafting perler beads art.
This year we also have designed a completely new website ran by Pink Droyds team with Bötley Crüe’s contribution. It serves as a purpose of attraction for people who are interested in our program inside and outside of the school. Visit midwoodrobotics.org for more information and details about the teams and classes.
"It’s time for us to face the real challenge, and we are ready," said Javaid ’17.
Written by LeiBin Li (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of Argus.