Article by: Lucas Ramos
Illustration by: Sung Hee Bae
Every year, teams travel to Taipei to compete against other International Schools in the given VEX game. While in previous years one preliminary tournament was sufficient for determining these travelling teams, Robotics has expanded so much that now there are two tournaments known as the Robo-Rumbles. This year, the game we compete in is known as “Skyrise”, which involves building a tower out of several parts and then placing cubes inside the pillar built. (For an overview of the robotics club and game itself, it can be found in another BT article: http://bambootelegraph.com/2014/10/13/robots-rule-the-robotics-club/)
There are different types of competition. In Autonomous Mode, robots score without any user input. On the other hand, Driver Control utilizes driver input to score as much as possible. The final type of competition are the matches: while these were 1-on-1 in the first Robo-Rumble, for this second round they were 2-on-2, meaning that other aspects that were not present in the previous round, such as teamwork and communication, have come into play. The first round of elimination reduced the number of teams from eight to six, while the second tournament scheduled on November 4 and 5 will reduce the number further from six to four.
With the stressful first tournament behind them, the six remaining teams are continuing to improve their robots. Some teams, such as Sophbot, have decided to have a focus on the autonomous part of their robot. As Nodir Musaev says, “We’re not certain that we can make any drastic changes to our robot, so instead we’ll keep it generally the same and improve on another place that can score us more points: autonomous.” Other teams, such as MegaCharizardVex and Donburi Destruction, have much more drastic changes in mind. As Jazi Mamaril from MegaCharizardVex says, “Because we weren’t overall satisfied with our robot during preliminaries, we have completely revamped it. Our new design, especially of our eight-bar lift of an arm, will give us an edge in stacking skyrises and blocks will give us an edge in the next competition.” Nico Te from Donburi Destruction has similar insights, stating that “Our old robot was really inefficient, so we’ve spent our time streamlining our original design to make it work much more efficiently. One issue was that our old scissor lift (an arm that goes straight up and down) could not have its intake system move in a vertical fashion; the new design improves on this flaw, making it much easier to score with.” My team as well has made several changes, developing on shortcomings that we experienced in the previous round. All the teams are excited for the next round, and are doing everything they can to ensure their robots are in top-tier condition.
The new, refurbished robots will make this second round of competition significantly more exciting. With more robots on the field capable of scoring even more points than before, matches will be intense, and victories will happen on a smaller margin. In addition, because the Wednesday competition happens partly during the school day, many excited Elementary school students will be able to show up to show their appreciation for robotics. For these excited tikes, we have also created a lovely cow and dog robot to give them the first-hand experience of driving a robot. If you have some spare time, I suggest you to show up as well to see the best innovative creations that the Robotics Club has to offer.