FTC robotics places 13th at Rockwell Collins competition

With fear in their eyes, FTC robotics team 6420 watched as their robot’s main power core blew out last Saturday. It was the league championship at Peet Junior High, arguably the most important meet of the season, when this robotics team lost connection with their robot and qualifying for a spot in the super qualifier matches in Johnston, Iowa, seemed in doubt.

The team placed 13 of 25 for regular matches, but then team 6420 learned it had won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award, which is given to a team that is creative, has a unique design and is an all around efficient team. This award allowed the advancement to the next level.

Team FTC had a little power source problem with this robot at the league championship on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Peet Junior High.

“They had a really unique setup for their robot,” said Carmen McIntyre, a mentor for a sister robotics team to 6420. “They incorporated certain aspects to their design that many teams chose not to add, which ended up advancing them to the next level of competition.”

Drive team junior Josh Borwick from 6420 feared for the outcome of the event when their robot suddenly lost all connection in the second to last match. Luckily, McIntyre’s team lended a vital accessory to 6420, following the First Robotics motto: gracious professionalism.

“We ended up recovering and finished the rest of our matches just fine,” Borwick said. “We moved on to the next round, which is huge.”

Borwick admitted this is not the first time their robot has had an issue during the season. “Things wouldn’t work, so we were pretty inconsistent. After we 3D printed a lot of new parts, we became much more consistent.” Despite these inconsistencies, the team has made tremendous progress.

The game is played by shooting balls, called particles, into a center or corner vortex, and pushing buttons to light a beacon. There is also a large yoga ball, called a cap ball, which can be lifted for extra points. Team 6420 used a unique elevator system in their robot, which shot the particles accurately into the center.

“We are one of few teams that can shoot into the center goal,” Borwick said. “That is something we are super happy about.”

Agreeing with Borwick, McIntyre reflected on 6420’s skills. “They were amazing at shooting the particles into the center vortex,” McIntyre said. “If they can keep that up, I think they have a high chance of doing well at the super qualifier matches.”

Borwick went on to explain the regrets 6420 possessed. “We worked hard,” Borwick said. “However, we always could’ve worked harder.”

Disagreeing with Borwick, McIntyre said she thinks 6420 always gives their all. “It’s evident that they work extremely hard,” McIntyre said. “Every member seems to be super dedicated.”

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