Robotics Readies to Ball at Local Competitions

Upon entering room 602, home of the school’s Robotics team, one is met y the sounds of scraping metal and heavy machinery. Dedicated team members industriously hammer and program away, laboring for long stretches of time, usually leaving sweaty and tired. And this is all in a typical team meeting.

The Robotics team debuted this year’s robot at the Portland Regional Robotics Competition. The event was hosted by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization focused on inspiring young people’s interest and participation in fields involving mechanics and technology. Every year, a game is chosen for the robots to compete in, and teams from all over the West Coast have about six weeks to build, program and ship their robots.

The team recently attended competitions at Davis and San Jose with their robot, which was designed to pick up and throw a ball 20 feet.

“It’s an incredible piece of machinery,” team adviser and science teacher Karen Davis said. “[The team] worked really hard on it and it shows.”

The hard work will continue. Problems with computer programming and components that fail under the pressure exerted by the robot will require adjustment and repair before upcoming competitions, including the replacement of a motor.

“Coming back from the Portland competition we knew we had to make some changes and we made them, but we have to make some more,” senior Michael Fagan said.

The team did not make the final rounds of either the Portland or the Silicon Valley competitions, with a 5-3-1 record at Portland and 4-3-1 record at Silicon Valley, but it has high hopes for success in the remainder of the season. Team members will say that this success will be helped by the camaraderie between them.

“The team really works well together,” Robotics team captain senior Marc Goupil said. “With the pressure and time crunch, people are still functioning smoothly.”

Marc, who led this year’s project, was very excited about the team’s progress.

“We’re mainly working on a lot of team development and training the younger members and we’ve come a long way from the beginning of the year,” Marc said.