Statesbots, the WGHS robotics team, will sponsor a Tech Challenge meet in Roberts Gym on Nov. 17. The meet will be smaller than other robotics competitions, so 10 to 12 teams are expected to attend.
The meet will consist of matches between alliances, groups of two teams working together to defeat competitors in two-and-a-half-minute long Tech Challenge games. A new game is announced at the beginning of each season by For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), the organization behind the competition, and each game centers around a real world purpose.
This year’s Tech Challenge, Rover Ruckus, is themed around Mars exploration. Roberts Gym will house a field for students’ robots, designed after Mars rovers, to explore and collect materials from. Bonus points are awarded for returning the rover to the lander, picking up ground samples and traveling through craters.
“There’s a large Mars lander in the middle of the field, and there’s blocks inside of a crater, and you want to try to get the blocks to the top of the rover and put them in,” senior Zachary Richter said. “The second main objective is there’s a hook on the rover, and we’re supposed to try and lift our robot off the ground using that.”
After Rover Ruckus was revealed in September, Statesbots spent the next two months brainstorming, designing and constructing rovers. Creating robots can take months due to reprogramming and design changes, as even the smallest change on paper is a massive change in execution.
About changes to rover designs, sophomore Erica Magee said, “Our robot’s chassis is lifted up so [that] it’s off the ground. That was originally so we could go in the crater, but we kind of decided it wasn’t really necessary because we have different ways of getting to the pieces.”
“Honestly, there’s no such thing as done,” senior Gabe Mitchell said. “There’s always something you can improve upon.”
This is junior Colin Shue’s first year on the ECHO team. His sophomore year he wrote a few stories as a contributing writer. Today, he works as a graphics editor as well as creates and manages his own weekly blog.
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