We Aren’t BattleBots: Inside the MA Robotics Team
October 14, 2012
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Robotics, a set on Flickr.
When somebody mentions robots, the first thing to come to mind is usually BattleBots, or the humanoid robots of I, Robot. But the M-A’s robotics team is a real-life wonder.
M-A’s Team 766 is part of an organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), which announces a game every January. Teams across the country have six weeks to prepare for the game. Last year, for example, the game was basketball, pitting teams of three robots against each other.
According to senior Elissa Webb, the M-A team’s robots are “largely defensive, which means [they] mainly just go and push other [robots] over.” Although defensive robots do not necessarily score very high, this strategy has proven successful for the team. Last year, M-A’s Team 766 was on one of the winning alliances, advancing to Nationals.
The team last competed in CalGames on October 13th, which they modified the old basketball robot for.
Each member of the team has his or her own role. Seniors John Carmichael and Will Fuller, for instance, weld the pieces of the robot together, while junior Jono Oppenheimer works on computer-aided design, known in the robotics world as CAD.
Using industry-standard materials, the team makes the robots with aluminum boxing. With six wheels, each robot is programmed to complete various tasks specific to the year’s game.
M-A robotics is ideal for students looking to “[go] into engineering, especially mechanical engineering, computer engineering, or computer science… to get all the essential skills without taking classes,” according to senior Johnathan Adams.