DENVER, Colo. - FIRST Robotics Competition pairs high school students with adult mentors (primarily engineers and teachers) to design and build robots that compete against one another in a high-energy environment. This varsity Sport for the Mind™ combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources and time limits, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program ROBOTS to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world” engineering as a student can get. (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology, FIRST, retrieved from https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/game-and-season)
In January 2019, the FIRST Robotics Organization launched the reveal video for this year’s First Robotics Competition (FRC), Destination: Deep Space presented by Boeing. Rawhide Robotics was given six weeks to design, construct and program a robot within the required rules and regulations. The regional FRC competition was held in Denver, March 21st-23rd. On Thursday, the Rawhide Robotics Team, Team 5657, unpacked their competition robot, cleared inspections and fine-tuned their creation during practice matches against other teams. Friday and Saturday morning they competed in 12 qualification matches. During the matches, there are two alliances, red and blue. On each alliance there are three robots; teams that work together to complete tasks that earn points. The alliance with the highest points at the end of the match (2 min 30 sec) wins the match. This year's competition involved creating a robot that could deliver cargo pods (18” round balls) into different containers at different heights, both on the cargo ship and onto the rockets. The robots also had to place hatch panels (round plastic disks) onto openings on the cargo ships and rockets to secure the cargo balls. At the end of the match the robot has to return to their habitat, which has different levels, each worth different points. There are two levels that are 6 inches off the ground and one level that is 19 inches off the ground. Rawhide Robotics built a robot that could intake the cargo pods (balls) both from the ground and from a loading station, and deliver balls into the cargo ship and the rocket. The rocket has three different ports that cargo has to be delivered to, 2’ 3”, 4’ 11”, and 6’ 11” ports. Rawhide’s robot was not able to get to the highest port. The robot was also able to load hatches and deliver them to the cargo ship and rocket. The most time-consuming part of designing and building the robot was trying to climb to the top level of the habitat. Small adjustments and add ons were made to the robot at the competition that allowed it to climb up to the 19” platform by first climbing onto a lower level and then turning and getting to the top level. Rawhide Robotics placed 26th out of 53 teams at the Colorado Regional Competition. The students did an amazing job of working together, competing, designing, building, fixing and driving the robot. The team consists of students: Teagan Tschacher, Clayton Williams, Jayden Matthews, Makena Engelker, Mackenzie Lyons, Julianne Graham, Sadie Sturman, Damien Molzahn, Tanner Carpenter, Wyatt Stauffer, Ryan Bruegger. Mentors: Katherine Kruse, Pat Weisbeck, John Thayer, Chantry and Amy Filener.