Robotics places third in FRC district competition

By Eve Titlebaum and Hirari Sato

Whitman’s robotics team, Team 1389 — The Body Electric — competed in a district competition March 6-8, placing third in the first round of qualifications, but lost their first and second match in the quarterfinals, making them unable to go to semi-finals.

The team started off strong with a record 10-0-2. They had a streak of 8 wins in a row and the games they lost were a close call. However, things took a turn during the quarterfinal rounds. During the second match of the quarter-finals, one of the robots on Team 1389’s alliance drove over another robot, giving them a red card. A red card immediately made the entire alliance be disqualified from the rest of the games.

“It’s a sore subject because we would have won one,” said Zoe White, the sub-team electrical leader and manipulator of the drive team.

Every year, a different sponsor selects a theme and a unique field game. This year’s theme is Infinite Recharge, where each team’s robot competes in a game to collect and shoot “power cells” into “power ports” to gain enough points to activate a “shield generator.” 

In the first 30 seconds of the game, the robots are autonomous, moving from pre-programmed code. Each robot is preloaded with 3 power cells that they get to shoot. The Body Electric is autonomously programmed to pick up and shoot 3 more balls, which has been consistent throughout the competitions, White said. 

Another advantage of this year’s robot is Vision. The robot has a Limelight camera, which scans and locates a piece of vision tape under the power port so the robot directly lines up with the tape to shoot.

Despite the loss, the team is ranked 32nd out of 120 teams in the district and need to remain top 80 to qualify for District Championships June 20.

The team has managed well under the high-pressure situation and is confident about qualifying, White said.

“This is the first year where the robot was completely finished and working,” she said. “Almost everyone in a leadership position has been on the team for at least two years so communication is a lot better than it was last year.”