Robotics team overcomes malfunctions, takes fourth in McQueen competition

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STORY AND PHOTOS BY SAM STYNEN

The robotics club placed fourth in its meet last Wednesday against other WCSD schools and community teams, such as the Boys and Girls Club and UNR.

The team wasn’t disappointed with its finish, though; their robot malfunctioned during three of the five rounds.

At the beginning of each round, the robots balance on a balance board. The rounds consist of an automated no-controller section, and a portion where the drivers can control the robot.

To earn points, teams can have their robots collect glyphs, 6-by-6 boxes, and stack them.

Before the meet, the club was confident they would do well. Team members said they’ve invested a lot of effort into their robot, in preparation for the match.

“This match, I think, is going to go very well,” Senior Cameron Cobb said.

The team works on their robot almost everyday after school, and even worked on it during winter break.

“We’ve been working on our robot over the past four weeks, without having any matches and we’ve put a lot of time, dedication, and money into the robot,” Cobb said.

IMG_7669All the robots have similar abilities. McQueen’s robot, 11183, has a glyph claw to pick up glyphs and put them into the glyph box, as well as a vertical arm to raise the glyph claw, multiple motors for the vertical arm and wheels, and it has a battery and phone compartment.

Despite the team’s preparation, their robot malfunctioned right before their second match.

“What happened yesterday was not a typical problem,” Team member Larson Rivera said the next day.

Usually there is a programing error, a dead battery, or a cell in the battery dies, so that is what they checked first, but it didn’t help. This was an unexpected turn of events.

Nevertheless, the team managed to place in fourth.

“We held our spot in first and second, despite not being able to operate for three out of the five matches,” Rivera said. “In the end we placed fourth, which isn’t too bad for only having our robot work for two matches.”

The team will spend their time figuring out and fixing the problem, and preparing for their future meets.

 

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