HPHS Robotics

This weekend, the Highland Park robotics team are hopping on a bus and going to Duluth to compete in the 2017 First Robotics Steamworks Competition. This competition will determine if the team will move on to the worldwide competition in St. Louis later this year.

For those of you who don’t know, First Robotics competitions work like this: every year First Robotics creates a challenge, this year it’s “Steamworks,” they lay out a field of play for the robots to traverse, and complete unique challenges in order to earn points, to eventually win the match. One challenge this year was to make your robot climb a rope onto an “airship.” Another was to make the robot throw wiffle balls into a boiler in order to “power” the airship.

When the match starts, the first 15 seconds are called “the autonomous period.” This is where the robots do pre-programmed tasks and deliver pre-loaded game pieces. After the 15 seconds expire, the team’s drivers take over for the last 2 minutes, and 15 seconds, of the match. In this time, teams might try to defend an objective, or complete some of their own. The team’s drivers have to be some of the most talented people on the team as one crucial mistake could mean the end for your team’s season.

Behind the scenes are the build team, the business team, and the programming team. During the six-week long build season, the build team comes together to actually turn their designs into reality. This job takes skill, and the ability to work with your hands. During the hectic build season they must work hard to assemble a robot that can physically accomplish all the methods of winning. According to freshman Alexander “Zuperman17” Busch, the hardest part of being on the build team is managing your time properly in order to finish everything with time to spare. “I mostly like the snacks,” He said jokingly.

The business team works with local businesses in order to get sponsorships, and to manage the team’s finances. One member of the business team, Greta Shore, says robotics helped her follow her passion for science, engineering, and technology. “It helped me develop relationships with upperclassmen,” she said with a “dab.”

In contrast to the large rosters of the build team and business team, the programming team is much smaller with only two members. One member of the programming team, Alexis, said, “Robotics is challenging, but fun, and very rewarding!”

Overall, robotics isn’t about the competition, according to the FRC (First Robotics Competition), it’s about the cooperation, or working with other teams, and with your team, to accomplish goals. That’s what really makes robotics special; it’s the “varsity sport of the mind.” It’s extremely different than many other sports because two teams can win the match. Robotics combines the precision of an athlete, the smarts of mathlete, and the determination of a boxer.

For all of you who want to join an after school activity, but don’t know what to join, the robotics team always welcomes you.

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