‘We Are Robo’ moves onto state robotics competition
Published in the January 11, 2017 edition
WAKEFIELD — Wakefield’s “We Are Robo” robotics team just completed two qualifying tournaments to earn advancement to compete at the state level.
The team comprises of Wakefield students Cole Kraus (Lead Robot Engineer), Preston Yee (Lead Software Engineer) and Calvin Yee (Lead Accessory Engineer). The “We Are Robo” team won acclaim in their First Lego League (FLL) World Festival in St. Louis in 2015 finishing Top 10 out of 120 teams across 50 countries.
The team members are now at the high school level and the team has transformed itself to compete at the next level beyond Legos to the First Technology Challenge (FTC).
FTC robots are built using industrial grade motors, servos, sensors, Android(tm) control systems, and metal components. The robots are significantly sized at 18-inches in cube size and weigh in at over 35-lbs. The “We Are Robo” team is proud to be the first inaugural FTC team in Wakefield’s history.
FTC robot competitions encompass a 12 foot x 12 foot playing field in which 4 robots representing 2 alliance pairs compete for points by solving technical challenges.
This year’s competition is entitled “Velocity Vortex” and involves robots navigating to lighted beacons and pressing the correct color coded button panels, lifting a large exercise yoga ball 4-feet in the air and placing it in a basket, and collecting and shooting plastic softball-sized balls into a raised basket. The student members have to design, document, and build a robot to perform these tasks. The skills the members have acquired include programming in Java for the Android control system, sensor programming, electrical wiring, mechanical design, friction management, and technical problem solving.
They have also learned how to use a bandsaw, angle grinder, drills, heat gun, jigsaw, and numerous hand tools. The team’s robot at different stages incorporated materials made of aluminum, carbon fiber, plexiglass, fiberglass, wood, steel, and plastic.
The team had a successful outing winning at their first qualifier in December which was held in North Andover They finished in 3rd place in the first stage of the competition encompassing 5 rounds of matches. The second stage of Elimination matches yielded the team Winners of the tournament as part of the Winning Alliance thus winning an invitation to the state tournament.
The team received a special “Connect Award” for their community outreach to children in the community, their use of recycled materials in their robot, and for establishing a relationship with State Representative Donald Wong to bring greater awareness of the benefits and funding of robotics in education.
The team’s second qualifier took place in Lexington this past Sunday and represented a 2nd generation rebuild of their robot incorporating more sensors and a redesigned 4-motor high-speed flywheel ball shooter. They were 4th place after the first stage of 5-match rounds earning Captainship. In the second stage, they ended up as part of the Winning Alliance receiving a First Place trophy for their accomplishment and a special “Control Award” in recognition of their programming efforts.
The Massachusetts State FTC competition will be held in Natick High School on March 4 and is open to the public.