Two lakes area robotics teams will be competing beginning today, Wednesday, April 25 through Sunday, April 29 at the world championship in St. Louis, Missouri.
Waterford Township Kettering High School’s FIRST robotics team, Team 3098, competed at the Michigan Championship Tournament held Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15 in Ypsilanti. The team placed eighth in the state.
Huron Valley Schools’ Heroes of Tomorrow (HOT) Robotics team was crowned the victors at the state tournament, where 64 teams competed.
Both will now advance to the FIRST World Championship, where they will take on 395 teams from around the world.
The HOT team was seeded second. Las Gorillas, Team 469, from the International Academy Central in Bloomfield was seeded first and chose the HOT Team as part of its three-team alliance. Team 830, the Ann Arbor Huron High School Rat Pack, was chosen as the third alliance partner.
“You must qualify based on points accumulated at district events,” said HOT team mentor Lori Gleason. “Points are then given by placing or winning awards so only the best teams attended. The cool thing is that you’re competing against the best.”
Robots were built during a 6-week period prior to the competition season. Each team was assigned to build one robot that would play a 3-on-3 basketball game.
“There were four nets and you get more points if you get the ball in the highest one rather than the lowest,” Gleason explained. “At the end of the game, you had to balance your robot on these teeter totters and then get a certain number of points. Our alliance could fit all of our robots to balance and got the maximum points.”
The HVS alliance earned the highest number of points during the competition, scoring 111 points in the first round alone.
The HOT team also received the highest award during the competition, the GM Industrial Design Award, given to the team that celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively achieves the game challenge.
“Some of the business sector’s top brass judges them and decides who is worthy of the award,” Gleason said.
The HOT Team, a member of FIRST International, is comprised of 42 students from Milford High School, Lakeland High School, and the International Academy West who pair up with 20 mentors from the General Motors Proving Ground and Huron Valley Schools.
The mission of FIRST and the HOT Team is to inspire students’ interest in science and technology. The mentors and students work in unison to build products that are judged in FIRST Robotics regional competitions and the championship event. Products include a robot capable of playing a game designed by FIRST; documentation of the success of the team with multimedia technology; and an animated short created using the same software used by the motion picture industry.