HR gears up for robotics competition


The arena of robots about to compete. PhotoCo: Mikayla Rust

  Twenty-six teams gathered to HR this weekend to participate in this year’s State Qualifier for robotics. This was the largest and the final qualifier of the year. Seven teams will be advancing from this competition to the state competition, which will be on February twenty-second. The two best teams in that competition will go on to regionals in Sacramento, California.

  This is the first year the robotics teams have decided to have a state qualifying competition. Before this year, all competitors just went to the state competition. With a higher number of competitors and raised level of competition, they felt it was necessary to have a state qualifier. This way, only the best of the teams get the chance to go to state.

  HR was the hosting team for the state qualifier. “We were hosting [the competition], so we didn’t have any robots of our own competing,” said Bernard Buschy, judge of the competition and security guard at HR.

  The main goal for the competition is to maneuver the robot around the arena to pick up small blocks and place them into a basket, and to perform a variety of tricks for extra points. This includes moves like the “hang,” where a robot uses its appendages to grab a bar over a ramp and swings from it. They can also raise a flag of their team’s color by twisting a lever.

A robot performing a “hang.” PhotoCo: Mikayla Rust

  There are four robots in every round, which are put into two teams of  two, one red team and one blue team.

  The robots are moved with hand-held controllers used by one member of each team. The robots also use infrared sensors. In each of the baskets, there is a beacon for infrared sensors. This allows the robots to place the blocks in the right place. A robot is only allowed to carry four blocks at maximum at a time in any point in the competition.

  Robots are ranked both in QP, or qualifying points, and RP, or ranking points. Two points of QP is acquired if a robot wins one match. Teams earn RP from gaining the points that their opponents earned. The score of the losing team is added to their own, which means that teams that had a close fight to win will earn more than a team who won because their opponent’s robot was not working. “The robots are judged by their technical elements as well as how they perform,” said Buschy.

  The robotics season will come to an end after the State and Regional competitions.

Mikayla Rust, Editor in Chief