BY EVAN TEICH
SPORTS COPY EDITOR
After a long year at work, the robotics team, “Greased Lightning,” qualified for the 2014-2015 First Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship. Only three percent of teams qualified for this tournament. There are 200 teams competing in this category, coming from over 30 countries, ranging from Australia to the Netherlands. The tournament will take place in St. Louis the weekend of April 22.
“It feels really good, especially since last year we made it to super regionals,” vice president Alejandro Munoz Mcdonald, a senior, said. “We wanted go further than we had gone before.”
Club sponsor and founder Angela Ashley said the team received the motivate award which made them eligible for the world championship. This award has to do with motivating people to be interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activity.
This year’s world competition is called the Cascade Effect. Each team is required to assemble a robot that will retrieve plastic balls from dispensers in the center of the playing field. Upon doing that, the robots have to score the balls into specific rolling goals, which vary in height. In this particular event, there is a two-minute remote control portion, as well as a 30 second autonomous period.
Ms. Ashley said the robot is always being updated. It takes time to produce the end result.
“Once a year they will be given the task, and the task will be complex enough so that the robot won’t be able to do everything by the first tournament,” she said.
“We will have design goals for each tournament, and the robot will get more advanced from tournament to tournament.”
She said building a robot is a strenuous task, and without the consistent dedication of her members, the club would not have this kind of success.
“They never stop working,” she said. “It is a 365 day competition so as soon as this year ends, we already start working on next year.”
While building the final robot takes months to complete, president Savanna Lipke said there are many other factors to being successful at competitions. Judges critique spirit, costume, and passion.
“We are ‘50s themed, and we all have costumes which intrigues judges,” she said.
Since the club was founded six years ago, Ms. Ashley said the robotics in general, as well as the club itself, has become more popular among teenagers. There were only six members when the club started, and now over 40 kids are paying members. Over this time period, the South Florida region has grown from just three or four teams to over 40 plus teams.
Next year is the premiere of the Robotics class. If interested in signing up for this course, see Ms. Ashley in room 838.