Hannah St. George
On Thursday and Friday Mar. 6 and 7, HB’s FIRST Robotics team met a great deal of success at a district competition at UNH. Craig Stone, ‘14, describes this year’s robot as, “the best we’ve had in years.” “It performed the best and it was the most reliable robot we’ve ever had,” he added. While they did well for their first competition of the season, 1073 is ready to roll in each of their matches for this year’s game, Aerial Assist.
After finishing the qualifying matches with an even record of 5-5-1, The Force Team joined the eighth-seeded alliance for eliminations with Team 3236, TRIFORCE from Franklin, MA and Team 3323, Potential Energy from Litchfield, NH. Although they were knocked out by the first-seeded alliance in their second match, members of 1073 were still pleased with their performance. Cody Douglas, ‘17, said, “It was fun and exciting, and it was great to see the robot in action.”
There are a few different factors for this year’s robot, Atlas, to be so successful. One of which is a rarity in the FIRST Robotics program. “We finished it early, and that definitely had an effect without a doubt,” Stone said. With time to polish up the code and allow the drive team to practice with the robot, The Force Team was more than ready to face their first competition of the season.
With its two rollers to feed the balls into the robot, Atlas is able to quickly pick up balls to place into its pneumatic launcher. This launcher could throw the two-foot diameter ball over the truss over the middle of the field, which gives the team’s alliance an extra ten points in the game, as well as throwing it into the high goal at the end of the field. The mecanum wheels used on the robot also allow Atlas to not only move forward and backward, but side-to-side as well, making it an agile robot to work with.
This design got The Force Team a great deal of praise from the judges, resulting in them winning an award. “It’s the award we won for the design of our robot and the bling we added to it this year,” said Stone.The Industrial Design Award is for an efficiently designed machine that effectively addresses the game challenge. However, not only did the mechanisms in themselves prove to be effective, but also a new addition that 1073 added this season. A string of LED lights is now on the robot acts as the new “bling” to signal to the drive team and the spectators in the stands what Atlas’s status is or if there are any issues.
However, this only marks the beginning for HB’s robotics team this year. “I think we did well at UNH, but we can to even better at Northeastern,” said Claire Cowan, ‘15. With skilled and experienced teams at the Northeastern district competition in Boston, 1073 will be pumped and ready for their next competition at Northeastern University on Mar. 28 and 29 with a shot at district championships. While this was their first competition of the season, 1073 met some worthy competition and is ready for more.