Herndon High School’s VEX Robotics Team 18 and its alliance partners Team 27, The Raiders from Fort Worth, Texas, and Team 48, The Grady Scouts from Atlanta, Ga., became the World Champion Winning Alliance at the FIRST VEX Challenge held in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The team of six students spent four weeks building its robot from a kit of parts introduced to the public by RadioShack at the competition.
The VEX product line, a new product from Radio Shack, is a kit to help design a robot that lifts, throws and races. The robot includes variable speed motors, multiple gears, various wheel types and a configurable chassis.
Herndon's students designed and built their robot to play a game asking them to do multiple tasks collaboratively to earn points.
The three-team alliance played two teams at a time against the other alliances in quarter and semifinal rounds to finish first in a 2-1 match during the final round.
DURING THE GAME the alliance worked cooperatively to gather softball-sized balls on a 16-foot-long field and deliver them to a human player who threw them into fixed and movable goals.
The robot could also cap the goals to double their points and then drive up a ramp to hang from a pull-up bar to finish the two-minute game.
The ball point value in goals and the number of robots hanging from the 32-inch pull-up bar determines each team’s score for the round.
Team 18 students, comprised of seniors Ashlyn Thomas and Will Gibson, junior David Breeding and sophomores Suraj Kulkarni, Sean Lavery and Peter Schulke were mentored by Team 116 parents Ray Witte, lead mentor, Jim Koca, Bob Gibson and Dave Breeding.
All the students participated on Team 116 Epsilon Delta during the build season for the team robot, but they chose to try the new VEX product in order to have an opportunity for additional hands-on training in the design and build process of robotics.
Participating on the competition field as flight crew were Gibson — driving the robot — while Thomas operated the hanging and gathering arm which corralled the balls into the robot for delivery to the human player.
Breeding and Kulkarni, team captain, coached the drivers on where they were on the playing field in relation to collecting the balls.
Schulke and Lavery assisted in building the robot during the build season.