Robotics team gears up for major tournaments

James Ho, Staff Writer

The robotics team is building on its past experience for the first competition, The Northern Virginia Event, at Gar-Field High School on March 4. The club is one of the largest and most decorated student-led organizations.

For the competition, the team is given a yearly set of parameters they must abide by. Then, the team works to construct the most efficient robot. They must be able to build a robot that is able to perform the required tasks.

“It is actually pretty easy to construct a robot that meets all of the parameters,” electrical team member and junior Saketh Nadriga said. “Creating the best possible robot and considering the level of competition makes [the competition] slightly more difficult.”

The robotics team has over 100 members. With such a large number of members within the organization, they are further divided into smaller teams in order to work efficiently.

“The robotics team is divided into three alliances or subteams, and then further divided into six different sections,” electrical team member and junior Anvitha Natchiappan said.

The six sections are computer-aided design (CAD), programming, mechanical, electrical, marketing and leadership. Each section of the team has a different role in creating the best possible robot.

CAD utilizes computer software in order to design the robot. Programming is responsible for writing all the codes for the robot to function. Mechanical creates the necessary parts in order to construct the robot. Electrical is responsible for engineering all the electrical circuits. These sections are more hands-on with the construction of the robot.

“Each section of the team works together as a cohesive unit in order to reach our common goal,” Natchiappan said

The other two sections, marketing and leadership, also play a major role for the team to function. Marketing is in charge of funding the team through corporate sponsorships and writing publicity materials, while leadership makes sure that the team is on task and working hard. Although each section is very different, they complement each other and make sure that all of the team’s responsibilities are met.

“The goal of this year’s robot is to be able to put the most amount of balls into an airship,” programming team member and senior David Fiumano said. “Everyone is working day in and night out in order to have the best competition possible.”

However, unlike last year, when each team was designated to its own lane to complete the tasks, this year the robots will compete in an open field.

Although designing and creating this year’s robot is more difficult than years prior, the team has learned many lessons over the past couple of weeks.

“Being on the robotics team is really enjoyable,” CEO and senior Samantha Sheirich said. “The team really gets to bond as a family.”

Sheirich delegates tasks to other members and works with other officers to make sure the task at hand is completed. She also coordinates with the club sponsors, English teacher Lucy Voorhees, business and information tech teacher Scott Loube and emotional disabilities teacher Cathy Walker.

Robotics encourages students to take the initiative to step out of their comfort zones and try something new.

“I am very confident that our team will perform well in this upcoming competition,” Sheirich said. “And hopefully we will be able to return to [the world competition].”