NORTH BRUNSWICK — Raider Robotix team members are continuing their tradition of varied accomplishments at local robotics competitions.
The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 25 from North Brunswick Township High School competed against 36 other high school teams at the Mid-Atlantic Robotics (MAR) District Event at Bridgewater-Raritan High School April 2 and 3, coming away as the No. 2 ranked team in qualification rounds and finishing the MAR event as a finalist, according to a statement prepared by Karen Ramsden-Zahler.
At the end of the qualification matches, Raider Robotix was ranked No. 2 with nine victories and three losses. For the semifinal rounds, the tam ranked No. 1, Team 1257 Parallel Universe from Union County Vocational Tech, selected Raider Robotix as the first overall pick during the alliance selection process.
Team 3340 UCHS MagneGeeks of Union City High School and Team 555 Montclair Robotics of Montclair High School also joined with Parallel Universe and Raider Robotix in the alliance, which proceeded through the semi-finals to the final rounds against the alliance team from robotics teams 223 Xtreme Heat of Lakeland Regional High School, 1676 Pascack PI-oneers of Pascack Valley Regional High School and 5624 Tiger Tech of South Plainfield High School, according to Ramsden-Zahler.
In the finals, the 1257-25-3340-555 alliance was defeated, and the Raider Robotix team finished the MAR Bridgewater-Raritan District Event as a finalist.
During the 2016 robotics season, FIRST FRC teams are playing against each other in FIRST STRONGHOLD, a medieval-inspired game in which two alliances made up of three robot teams each try to capture their opponents’ castle tower by scoring balls, or “boulders,” into openings. Each boulder scored through an upper story window or ground-level goal earns the alliance points and reduces the tower’s strength, Ramsden-Zahler explained. If enough boulders are scored, the tower becomes weakened and can be “captured” for bonus points if all three robots surround it at the end of the match.
In addition to scoring boulders, points are also earned for driving over or through a variety of different obstacles that defenders place on the field to protect their tower. In the last 20 seconds of the game, robots can also try to scale the opponent’s castle wall for additional points by grabbing a 6.5-foot-tall rung and elevating at least 2 feet off the ground.
Only three robots at the Bridgewater-Raritan MAR District Event were able to scale the tower, but Raider Robotix’s robot proved to be the most consistent, Ramsden Zahler said.
Raider Robotix’s climbing mechanism’s design, as well as the robot’s custom drivetrain wheels, and the ability to quickly score boulders in the low goal both in autonomous mode and under operator control, led a panel of industry professional judges to award Raider Robotix the General Motors-sponsored Industrial Design Award, which “celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addresses the game challenge.”
Raider Robotix’s overall success at their last two district competitions currently ranks the Raider’s team ninth out of the 121 MAR District teams from Delaware, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.
After the MAR District event, Team 25 qualified for the Mid-Atlantic Robotics District Championships April 13-16 at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, where they will compete against 54 top-ranking teams in the hopes of securing a spot at the FRC World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, at the end of April.
All FIRST events are open to the public, and admission for seating is free. For more information on the 2016 season and venues, visit www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc.