Student Report: Robotics Teams Mid-Season Update

Student Authors: Lucas McCarty ’21 (representing Rampage), Kyle Fehr ’20 and Shibashis Mandal ’20 (representing Techoramic), and Chloe Cheng ’23 (representing Rampunzel).

The MICDS Upper School is home to three FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics teams: Rampage 9911, Technoramic 5190 and Rampunzel 9905. Both Technoramic and Rampage are coed teams, while Rampunzel is an all-female team focused on promoting women in STEM. All three teams compete in the FTC. Each year, FTC teams are tasked with creating a robot that completes a series of objectives in a robot game consisting of an autonomous period (in which the robot must think for itself) and a teleop period (in which drivers may control the robot). This year’s robot game involves taking „stones“ and stacking them to create skyscrapers like the one displayed in the image above. Additionally, robots must be able to move the foundation (the blue component upon which the stones are stacked), travel underneath the bridges, place their capstones and complete other objectives. Recently, all three teams participated in numerous competitions, in addition to partaking in other robotics events. Below is a summary of each team’s endeavors throughout the season thus far.

Rampage (9911) is the youngest team at MICDS. Last season, they placed third at the Missouri State Championship. Going into this season, they were excited and could not wait to meet the challenges of this year’s game. Rampage has had a successful start to their season. On December 7, 2019, Rampage competed at Webster Groves and placed second. Rampage narrowly missed first by losing only one match. After the event, the team was feeling optimistic about the next competition, which took place at MICDS on January 18, 2020. Here, Rampage once again earned second place. Lucas McCarty ’21 says, “Our performances at these past two meets put us in a good spot for the rest of our season. Of course, we have some improvements to make, but I have no doubt that we will continue to adapt our robot and gameplay, and hopefully, we will see further success as we head to our qualifier, and possibly also the State Championship!” Rampage’s drive team at the January meet – Liam Weber ’21, William Schott ’20, and McCarty – encountered some issues throughout the competition with some unexpected cable problems, but the team powered through and finished with a good standing. We wish them all the best as they continue their season.

Technoramic (5190) is the oldest team at the school with a total of nine years participating in FTC.  Over that time, the team competed at Super Regionals in 2018 and the World Championship in 2017 and 2018. The 2018-2019 season was a large transition year as many members graduated, and the team was split into two teams to better accommodate new members. Learning from past years and rallying around the goal of returning to the World Championships, Technoramic started the year with dedicated members, both new and old, and a clear vision for the season. Sticking to a rigorous schedule allowed the team to work through the design process more efficiently than in past years to create a solid robot that was fully built before the first competition. The first meet was the first time that the team had a chance to fully see the robot perform with other robots on the field. The team placed 11th which was not what everyone was hoping for, but it was a great opportunity to see what changes needed to be made mechanically to improve performances. After about two weeks of improvements, the robot’s capabilities increased substantially with increased efficiency. This led to the team placing 5th at its second meet where it performed well even when alliance partners had trouble. Technoramic competed last weekend at the Drury University Qualifier in Springfield Missouri. They earned a 2nd place in the Design Award but did not move on to further competitions from match play.

Rampunzel (9905) is an all-female robotics team with team members from 13 to 17 years of age. This year marks their 5th year of competing in FTC. The Rampunzel mission statement is to inspire young women to stand up for what they believe in and become prominent in the STEM fields. Between December 14 and January 18, Rampunzel made big changes to their robot. Team members observed and recorded their matches to point out what needed to be fixed or altered, and drafted multiple blueprints for the body of the robot and the claw. The new design allowed huge improvements in their next meet. The coders of the team have worked diligently to improve their robot’s performance. In recent weeks, Rampunzel team members have dedicated their time and energy to improve their gameplay, and they are looking forward to competing in the Oakville Qualifier this Saturday at Oakville High School along with team Rampage.

We wish all of our teams the best of luck as they continue their seasons. Go Rams!