The Anacortes High School FIRST Robotics team competed in the Seattle Olympic Regional at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on March 22-24, bringing home numerous awards and an ecstatic team.
They competed against more than 45 other teams in their division, with opponents ranging from the local Mount Vernon team to international competitors from Mexico and Turkey.
The team received the Quality Award sponsored by Motorola. It celebrates machine robustness in concept and fabrication. It was awarded to a team and machine that displayed a high degree of excellence and set a high standard and stood out as an example to other teams. The award recognizes the winning team and machine as the quality standard for FIRST Robotics.
The Anacortes students made it to the quarterfinals at the competition.
This year’s game was called Rebound Rumble.
Two alliances of three robots each try to shoot foam basketballs into basketball hoops during a 15-second autonomous period, working independently on student programming. Next, humans took the controls, trying to shoot as many baskets as they could during a two-minute period.
Then they attempted to balance as many of the 250-pound devices as possible on large bridges in the center of the arena for a high point gain. Cooperation was highly encouraged between alliances for special “Coopertition Points,” which were achieved by having one robot from each of the opposing teams work together for mutual gain.
Despite the straightforwardness of the match as compared to other FIRST challenges, many supporters were worried about its hidden complexity.
“These are large machines,” one supporter said. “Getting three of them aboard one of those bridges is going to be highly difficult to do, never mind the fact that it is an accident waiting to happen if something goes wrong.”
Nevertheless, Team 3238’s talented drivers were able to nab high scores during their matches.
The autonomous program “worked for once,” one team member joked. “But I do admit, it was awesome to see the balls flying through the air toward the baskets, when our drivers aren’t even in control!”
The robot’s basketball collector, a system that received many tweaks to its design during the build season, was also viewed as being an important factor of the driver’s success. Judges were impressed by the robot’s robust arm. Welded by students at the high school, the aluminum appendage was located in the front of the robot, and was powerful enough to lift up the front of the robot if it found something to use as leverage.
However, what students found to be the most advantageous characteristic of the robot was its bridge-balancing ability. Featuring two omni-wheels for dexterity and two pneumatic wheels for grip and support, the robot drivers were able to deftly balance the team’s contraption on the bridge in minimal time, scoring the most points from balancing out of any of the competing teams.
It was from this lofty position that the robot even managed to perform an awe-inspiring feat — Team 3238 was able to make a hoop from atop the bridge, an accomplishment few teams were able to perform.
Due to their prodigious balancing and hoop shooting abilities, Team 3238 was one of the first six teams chosen to join an alliance with one of the top 10 teams, where its final alliance of the competition was able to make it to the quarterfinal round.
Visit the team’s Web site at www.team3238.com.
— Compiled by team leader Elisa Franssen
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