Axiom 4787 Storming Into The Competition
By Klaudia Jablonska
In early March, Northside’s Robotics team, otherwise known as Axiom 4787, participated in its yearly FRC, “FIRST Robotics Competition.” All competitions Northside’s Axiom 4787 team participate in are run by FIRST Robotics and are a culmination of the team’s six-week build season, which runs from early January to mid-February. The group’s most recent competition was the FIRST Robotics Midwest Regional, hosted at the Credit One Arena on the UIC campus. The current sponsor of the team is Mr. Eric George, math department, although Ms. Erica Roberts, computer science department, has also proved to be a useful asset to the team.
On the first Saturday of Jan., all FIRST teams are given a specific challenge that they must learn how to overcome, and the groups have six weeks to create a robot with which to do it. This year the task was to lift plastic rings and kickballs, as well as to climb a tall ledge, with differing point totals given to each task. Within six weeks, Northside’s Robotics team worked to design a robot to fulfill the tasks. After the time was up, the Mustangs took their robot to the competition where they worked in alliances of three teams to complete the challenges. Just like any other sport, whichever alliance scores the most points wins the round. The top eight teams by the end of the competition move on to the finals, and the winning alliance goes to the national championships.
Typically, the Robotics team competes in two competitions per year, with the first competition serving as a trial run to test any unforeseen problems with their robot. However, this year the team was unable to attend two competitions. For this reason, Cora Pancoast, Adv. 900, member of the Robotics team, said “Our performance wasn’t as successful as we hoped going into it, but we encountered a lot of things that we can learn from going forward. Next year, we’ll take Midwest by storm!”
In preparation for these competitions the Robotics team spends their preseason, from Sept. to Dec., training new members by teaching them how to use power tools and other computer programs to design and program the robot. There are multiple sub-teams that have different roles during the preseason in preparing the robots. The sub-team involved with physically building the robot works on preseason projects to develop certain skills they might need for the build season. The management sub-team uses this period to raise money so that the team will have the funds to purchase parts they may need, pay for competition and travel fees, as well as maintain the squad’s presence on social media. However, the team does not know exactly what their robot needs to do until the challenge is revealed in early January.
Although the Robotics team did not place in the top eight teams to move onto finals, the team had the highest defensive power rating by the end of the competition. This means that the team was very good at keeping other teams from scoring thanks to their drive team. The drive team is the group of members controlling the robot and in charge of the robot on the field during the competition. Overall, the team said that the build season and competition this year were great learning experiences. The Robotics team designed heavily in the beginning stages of its season trying to figure out how to solve the challenges they were faced with. When building mechanisms for their robot, there were times when the team ran into problems, but with quick thinking the team was able to overcome the obstacles.
Hopefully, the Robotics team Axiom 4787 will compete over the summer in the Rock River Off-Season Competition Invitational hosted by Rockford Robotics to get some more experience for next year.