The Los Altos Robotics Team 114 went to the NASA Ames Research Center today, Wednesday, March 13, to test-run its new and improved robot. The team went today in the hopes of upgrading the robots’ onboard software before competition on Wednesday, March 20.
The robot will represent the team in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition Science Technology) Robotics Competition in Sacramento. The school team has competed in FIRST competitions since 1997. Every year, the objective changes in order to provide a new challenge for robotics chapters across the United States, and this year, the objective is to design a robot capable of both firing frisbees precisely and climbing an iron pyramid. The team’s first robot turned out to be too complicated.
A video of the objective can be seen here.
“The first robot [our team] designed was a robot that would climb all levels of the pyramid and shoot frisbees, because [this design] would give us the most points,” junior Royce Chung said. “We decide that it was too complicated [however], so we decided just to design a robot that [would] hang on the bottom level of the pyramid and focus more on shooting [rather than climbing].”
Since precision is required to fire frisbees into the small holes, the team hoped to patch up the software before the first competitions begin. The NASA Ames Research Center has a full size court where the team practiced.
The team discovered a few mechanical problems that it plans to address before the competition. Some parts didn’t function while other parts kept falling off.
“It was fun going to NASA today,” Royce said. “[We tried to make] sure our robot could score consistently, and hopefully we’ll be ready for our competition [after we troubleshoot these errors.”