School News & Events

Teen Robotics Team Advances to World Championship with Unique Robot

The Centers of Learning robotics team, Team Torch, took the Gold Division “Winning Alliance” at the FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) West Super Regional in Oakland last week to advance to the World Championship in St. Louis, MO on April 27-30.

A unique hanging robot design contributed to the team’s success in the FTC challenge, which is called “RES-Q™.” The challenge simulates an avalanche rescue where the robot must perform a series of specific tasks, performed in sequence, and done autonomously as well as with a driver control. The tasks include removing debris, resetting rescue beacons, delivering climbers to a shelter, and parking on the mountain.

“When we were presented with this year’s RES-Q challenge, our team members brainstormed ideas and priorities for our robot design,” says Coach Rick Loomis. “We ultimately settled on a design strategy to make our robot hang on a frame during the last 30 seconds of a match and claim an all-clear signal.”

After several ideas and building and testing many prototypes, the one design that proved to be the most robust and consistent was to use a tape measure to run out a heavy string up to the hanging bar, resulting in the team having a large point-scoring system that has made them one of the outstanding innovative teams.

The team will now take their robot to the 2016 FTC World Championship, a four-day robotics championship consisting of the top qualifying teams from the five USA Super Regional Tournaments, as well as from 18 other countries.

“Team Torch has shined brilliantly over these past three days of competition against the best teams in the West,” says Loomis, “and we look forward to successfully competing against the very best teams in the world in St. Louis.”