It’s been a long 42 days!
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – FIRST - combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is known as the ultimate “Sport for the Mind”. Three hundred thousand high-school students from over fifty countries as far away as Israel, Hawaii, China and London compete. Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week “build season”, teams of students are challenged to build and program industrial-size robots, to play a difficult field game with, and against, like-minded competitors.
On Tuesday night, the 42 days of the TechnoTicks “SteamWorks” build season came to an end and FIRST Team236’s 2017 robot was finally “bagged and tagged”. Members of the team were hard at work over the February vacation, supported by their extraordinary teachers and mentors.
This year’s game simulates a Jules Vernes-style character attempting to launch his steam-powered airship. Verne, along with H. G. Wells, is often referred to as the "Father of Science Fiction" and steampunk is a genre of science fiction with a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. Think Phileas Fogg travelling around the world in 80 days, or Captain Nemo in 20,000 leagues under the sea. “The airship needs a particular pressure of steam and a particular configuration of gears to launch, so the Ticks built a robot capable of picking up and placing multiple gears into a particular pattern and collecting and shooting fuel elements (large, neon green wiffle-balls) into a ‘furnace’. The first 15 seconds of each game are autonomous when the robot’s drivers stand back and hope that their pre-programmed robot scores high. That is followed by a 2 minute 15 second game where the drivers take control of their robot, following their game plan and adapting it in response to their opposition’s strategy.
As a FIRST “Hall of Fame” team, the TechnoTicks will travel to St. Louis in April to represent the school at the FIRST World Championships. Between now and then, they will compete in at least two District Competitions and, if they qualify, a North East Regional Final. Each competition lasts from Friday night practice, through to Sunday afternoon finals and requires as much dedication of it’s team as any other varsity sport.
GOOD LUCK TO THE TECHNOTICKS!
The Ticks would like to thank their mentors, the custodians and the administration for their support of the team over the past six weeks. Follow the team’s competition season at:
I would like to thank Sarah Crisp for writing and sharing this article and photos with me for posting.
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