By Mary VanDeventer, Vilseck High SchoolApril 8, 2013
VILSECK, Germany -- The Vilseck High School RoboRaptors and EuroBots joined forces, March 16, to defeat 11 other robotics teams from all over Europe at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)Tech Challenge robotics competition, here.
The FTC is a robotics competition based on a sports model; teams of up to 10 students design, build and program robots to compete as an alliance against other teams.
The objectives of this year's competition required the robots to pick up plastic rings from stationary pegs and move them to other pegs, each at a different height.
Teams were awarded points for such things as the number of successfully transferred rings, moving rings to higher pegs, and juxtaposition of rings. These delicate movements involved coordination among the robot driver, the arm operator and the coach.
The competition began with a 30-second "autonomous" round, where the robot was pre-programmed to act independently of an operator. Then there was the regular round, where the robots had two minutes to place the rings. Computers adjacent to the arena automatically shut down the robots at the end of the round.
According to Garrett Juliar of the Robo-Raptors Team, students have spent approximately 400 hours working on their robots since the beginning of the school year. In September, they started as one team with one design, according to Kayde Rivington of the Eurobots Team.
"We all met up and the first thing we did was the brainstorming process … we eventually narrowed it down to two designs, and then we worked as a team making the bases (and) making the arm towers," said Rivington, a second year member of the Robotics Club.
From there, they split into two teams, each crafting their own bot into a unique machine. Students indicated that they will keep their bots for future reference, using them as inspiration for next year.
Reggie Mungia and Sabrina Becker, both first year members of the club, found the competition exciting, as well, noting especially how they enjoyed observing the different programs and the different robots.
All the participants enjoyed the celebration at the end, where, according to Mungia, even the referees joined the dance party.