The Robotics team smashed all opponents at a recent qualifying round, guaranteeing them a spot at the State Championships. Because the team, self-christened the “Bossbots,” won every match and placed highest at their qualifier in Fremont, they are not required to compete again until the State competition in late February.
The Bossbots, though, are not spending those months idly and, despite their recent victory, are planning to improve their vehicle further. “It’s not good enough,” said senior Sammie Wang.
Although the team has a good chance at state, “it’s not assured.” That’s why the team is redesigning key components on their vehicle. Although they are not required, the team plans to attend three or four other qualifiers to test out their new designs.
The robotics team works on the same technical challenge presented to all teams nationally. The problem changes every year; this year, the robot’s challenge is to collect raquetballs off a 12X12 foot field, place the balls in crates, and raise the crates as high as possible. The robots are required to act autonomously for the first 30 seconds of the challenge, and are then allowed to be guided via remote control.
Each team is allied with a robotics squad from another school. The pair then competes against another set of allies. At lower levels of competition, the pairings are random, but as the team advances they choose which teams they want to be paired with.
The core of Campolindo’s team is made up of Seniors Max Lamb, Maks Tsvetskoff, Sammy Wang, and Ryan Smoklin, and Junior Mira Madra.
In addition to preparing their own vehicles, the members are instructing students new to the Robotics Club who are not on the Bossbots squad. Their instructions includes more than just technical aspects of robotics. “There actually is a code of conduct really specific on sportsmanlike conduct,” said Wang. Because the program “is meant to bring robotics to underperforming and underprivileged schools,” there’s a spirit of cooperation at events, even between competing teams.
Several freshman in the Robotics club came to the recent qualifier just to watch, because the seniors want to “ease them into next year” said Wang.
There’s a lot to ease in to. Competition starts at 8:30am with a check-in of the vehicle, an inspection of an engineering notebook with explanations of the vehicle, and a team interview with judges. Only then do team members go to the Pit area, where they rest with other teams and prepare their robots for competition.