Rachel Shelburne, a member of the ASMS FIRST Robotics Team, recently talked to some of her teammates about the process of building the robot and competing against other schools. Physics instructor Dr. Don Wheeler sponsors the team, which recently placed 3rd in a competition in Florida and will compete again this March in New Orleans.
Shelburne: So, tell me about the FTC competition. What was it like?
Jared Tompkins: The theme of this competition was “Get Over It.” It was played on a 12×12 feet playing field, which contained several obstacles that our robot, fondly named “The Comfy Cushion” had to move over in order to score points. Since this was our first competition, we had a rough time starting off with the design and made a few mistakes, but we really enjoyed the process and learned a lot. We ended up making 3rd place in the competition out of 17 other teams, which we were really thrilled about. It was a great learning experience. The competition itself was a blast even though we still felt a little stress and pressure, but overall, it was a fantastic learning experience.
Rachel Shelburne: Mike, you’re in charge of programming. What was your take on the competition?
Mike Ryan: The tech challenge was a pivotal first step for the robotics team. All of the members participating in the FTC got a unique learning opportunity building, designing, and programming our robot. Because of the FTC, I believe our team has developed a strong foundation for the FRC.
Rachel Shelburne: Were there any specific challenges that you had to face? How did you overcome these challenges?
Mike Ryan: Well, we learned to design instead of a complex and bulky robot, a simple and elegant one that can perform the tasks correctly. We discovered that by doing this we would greatly increase our chances of winning. We plan on effectively using these principles at the FRC in building a strong robot that can perform well and be the flagship of our team.
Rachel Shelburne: Tell me about the other teams. What were they like?
Chip Stallings: The advantage of the FTC is learning how the First community and First robotics works. We learned not only how to design and build, but discovered the true personality and spirit of First robotics. At FTC, we didn’t just learn about what worked with our robot and what didn’t, which is valuable, but what we really learned about at this competition was the kindness and compassion that of all First teams at the FTC displayed.
Rachel Shelburne: CJ, I understand that you were a driver at the FTC. How did you feel about how the competition went?
CJ Gore: The competition itself was extremely fun. It went much smoother than I expected. The people there were great. Honestly I didn’t like the practice arena very much. It too greatly resembled a death match and many unexpected things happened. (laughs) Nothing we couldn’t handle though! Overall, it was a great experience.
Rachel Shelburne: I hear you took part in scouting out the other teams. How does that work Parker?
Parker Caviness: Honesty is extremely important to this team, so we don’t really like snooping around and such. We know who we are (laughs). Our approach was very direct, so we just went up to the other teams and asked them, “Hey, what’s your strategy? Can we look at your robot?” Usually we just asked about their autonomous strategy, mechanical design, and stuff like that.