Photo Courtesy of Heather Farnan
May 16, 2018
This past week, the Atholton Robotics team, the Space RAIDers, participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships in Detroit, Michigan.
Although they did not win the competition, they came in 47th in their division, and it was considered an electrifying experience by all.
“It is unlike any event I have ever been to before,” said Mr. Lidard, the sponsor for the Robotics team. “It combines the excitement of a sporting event with the nerdiness of a Comic-Con with the thrill of basically going to Universal Studios.”
This year’s event marks the second time in a row that the Atholton robotics team has been invited to the World Championships, a monumental achievement considering that the team has only been in existence since for 11 years.
Every year, FIRST Robotics assigns the robot a different task. This year, according to Mr. Lidard, the competition was “based around a video game theme, and it required our robot to place milk-crate sized boxes on a big scale.”
Many of the team’s members spent this year busily working on the competition. Sophomore Benjamin Guo said that during the six-week build season, they worked primarily on the competition.
Each team is divided into sub teams, such as mechanical and electrical, that have their own tasks to carry out over the course of build season. During the competition, a few members go down in the pit to work on “tune ups and little fixes” said senior Heather Farnan.
Last year, the Space RAIDers earned 5th place in the World’s competition. Their competition consisted of delivering a gear to an airship and placing it on a peg.
Although World’s ends the competition season for this year, the team is not yet done working and competing: “We have off-season competitions the following year that use this year’s game, but are not official events,” Guo said.
Looking even further ahead, Mr. Lidard’s vision for the team extends even farther than any one competition or any on. “For the team, we are hoping to create a toolbox of skills where we have the know-how to create different drives, different mechanisms, different grabbers, different climbers, you name it,” he said. “We want all that to come together to create not only a well-rounded robot, but a well-rounded group of students as well. We want to get as many different people involved in order to have a small community within this larger community of Atholton High School.”