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Robotics Team Aspires for World Championship


Robotics Team Aspires for World Championship

Sam Arvin

Every year, Harrison Boiler Robotics works tirelessly to plan, build, and create its one-of-a-kind robot.

The 2015-2016 Harrison robotics team, named 1747, is facilitated and run by Doug Klumpe, a mathematics teacher here at Harrison. The program is in its 11th year.

The number is assigned by the U.S. FIRST organization, according to Klumpe. The organization started with No. 1 and now is up to about 5,000 teams worldwide.

“After the game kick-off, which was the second weekend in January, we have six and a half weeks to design, program, and build a robot for this year's task,” said Klumpe.

All of the participating teams are also given a so-called “de-encrypt” that enables the teams to view several manuals regarding rules and other administrative information.

The team must design and build its robot to overcome the constantly changing obstacles and to score against the enemy team.

The game reveal video was released by FIRST in January of this year.

FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is the organization that created and hosts the robotics competitions.

This year the game is called “Stronghold.”

“There are rocks that get catapulted into a castle,” says Klumpe. “Now these are nerf balls. And also there are defenses that you have to break, to conquer, in order to score points.”

    The teams in “Stronghold” are made up of robots from the school teams at the event.

There are several different ways to score for your team, but the most effective is by shooting a ball into the top window of the enemy team's so-called stronghold.

In the center of the game area, there are obstacles that are continuously changed, chosen by the audience.

The robots must be able to lift, climb, and shoot, among other things, in order to successfully conquer the enemy stronghold.

Although a single robot cannot overcome all of these tasks, so each team must choose something that they want to focus on accomplishing.

“From this year’s reveal video, we decided to build a short robot in order to go under what’s called the ‘low-bar’ defense,” says Klumpe. “We also decided to build a tank drive system, with tank treads, instead of a wheel system because our robot is able to traverse the defenses much more easily.”

Each robot on a team is only a piece of the puzzle, and it is impossible to win without every robot working together.

Nikhil Carneiro is a senior at Harrison and the student director for the robotics team.

“I am mostly responsible for managing the team and making sure everyone is on task,” said Carneiro. “I also maintain and teach others how to use our team website.”

Payton Lanie, a senior at Harrison and an experienced member of the Robotics Team, is also a varsity member of the Harrison swimming and diving team.

For a span of about a month and a half, Lanie commits himself to both swimming and robotics.

With grueling practices both before and after school for swimming, and then practice for the robotics team until 9:00 p.m., Lanie knows the true definition of being physically and mentally exhausted.

Lanie is not alone in this endeavor. Senior Andrew Baldwin and Benjamin Cunningham are also members of the swimming and diving team and the robotics team.

“It’s very hard,” Lanie simply said.

Harrison is fortunate enough to be close to Purdue University, so along with the help of engineering students at Purdue and a few adult mentors, the robotics team was able to successfully complete their robot.

Harrison will be hosting its first robotics competition with 38 other teams from throughout the state on March 12 and 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The team will compete in three district events that are all in Indiana, and have the possibility of advancing on to the state event in Kokomo as well as the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Missouri.

Klumpe, the team’s facilitator, is confident in his team, and believes that they will make it to the world championship this year in St. Louis.

“We think we’ve got a good enough robot that we should be able to qualify to get to worlds this year,” says Klumpe. “It’s been more than four years since we’ve been at worlds.”

Both Carneiro and Lanie remember when they went to the world championships as their favorite moment from their four years on the robotics team, and hope to go there again this year.

“During our build season, the period in which we build the robot, we spend 24 hours a week for six weeks designing, coding, and building our robot,” said Carneiro. “Not only do we have to spend a lot of time, we have to spend a lot of money. Because of this we hold fundraisers and have companies to sponsor us during the season.”

The robotics team is also hosting a fundraiser at Noble Roman’s Take-n-Bake March 1 or March 3.  

When you place your order, tell them you are there supporting Harrison Robotics and pay regular price and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Harrison Boiler Robotics.




Harrison Boiler Robotics 1747 - 2016 Reveal: