BL Spotlight

Lumberjacks Prepare to Carry Their Alliance

It is that time of year again when the Boys’ Latin Robotics Team prepares for another arduous and rigorous season. Every year on the first Saturday in January, the team huddles around a projector screen and awaits the new challenge for that year, and this year is very interesting. FIRST PowerUp is unlike previous years as this game requires a lot more strategy and creativity.

FIRST PowerUp is a competition where each team in the FIRST Robotics Competition essentially delivers crates to a scale and attempts to tip the scale in their favor to gain points for every second they own it. As this sounds easy, FIRST decided this year to add a special element to the game called the Volt where teams have power-ups that increase their score at certain times. The team is working a lot on prioritizing certain elements of the game like which scale to place a crate and when to use a powerup for maximizing points said Walker Campbell, a junior on the Robotics Team.

“This game incorporates mechanisms from past years all combined together like the lift mechanisms and the possibility of climbing and still requires to think outside of the box; that is the best part of the game,” Mr. Bennet explained, a mentor for the Robotics Team. The team is not only coming up with great strategies but also researching previous years’ robots and how games were played in the past to develop similar mechanical designs and strategies. Although the team does not have a final design yet, they are working diligently on prototypes and have a conceptual view of what the robot will be.

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A mock of the scale platform that the alliance members will “levitate” on.

The most impressive and controversial design is the levitating mechanism which has the robot be above a 12-inch marker. They plan to build a ramp for the other two robots to ride on and be carried above the mark, which would earn their alliance points every time, but may not be legal. The team has done its research and re-read the game manual and believe that they have found a loophole as their concept stays within the limits of the rules.

The 2018 Robotics season for BL is a rebuilding year in terms of organization and structure with Matthew Post being the lead captain and sub-captains under him in each area in robotics. Post is doing a great job leading by making sure everything runs very smoothly but most importantly not neglecting the new members of the team. Instead, he is making sure that every new member contributes and learns from the upperclassmen as soon they will be leading the whole Robotics Team.

In Robotics, freshmen used to be looked down upon as they do not know how the season runs, but this year, the team has embraced the freshmen in every area in robotics. The relationship between the upperclassmen and underclassmen is good according to Hunter Hegmann, a freshman on the Robotics Team. This new environment that the leadership has created allows for a more comfortable place for everyone to feel involved.

The team’s hope is to again earn the honor of going to St. Louis and competing in the World Championships. Cole Jarrett, a senior who has been to the World Championships, said that the team will go to St. Louis because of three primary aspects: “the robot is easy to control, it is efficiently designed and each design is simple.”

Categories: BL Spotlight

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