The Seneca High School Iron Devils robotics team will be hosting the First Robotics Competition March 21–24.
The team is comprised of Seneca and Shawnee upperclassmen.
Seneca hosted the event last year, drawing approximately 2,000 visitors, according to Robotics Advisor Chuck DiVincenzo.
“It was pretty hard walking down the hallways at some points. I was surprised at how many people were actually there,” DiVincenzo said.
The team has been working on a better-designed robot for this year’s competition since nationals ended last April.
“The kids learn as much as they can about engineering and math. When it comes time to build the robot they come up with different designs by making mock ups,” DiVincenzo said. “The electronics kids actually made a testing station this year. When we started putting the robot together we were able to test it. It made things easier for the team.”
Competing teams were required to shoot foam basketballs, a skill the Iron Devils were never able to get the hang of, according to DiVincenzo.
Last year, the Iron Devils finshed 10th and 11th in multiple competitive categories.
The team won’t be changing just the functionality of the robot this season.
Dimension requirements of the robots are now required to be 120 inches.
The robots can be as tall as five-feet by three-feet by two-feet, according to DiVincenzo. No two robots will look or function the same.
“We were looking at the things we did right and what we can improve. We spent a lot of time trying to perfect shooting goals in different areas,” DiVincenzo said noting Pete Puzio and Megan Jones helped the team prepare.
The Iron Devils have been working on aiming Frisbees inside various openings and attempting to achieve consistency the team failed to find last year.
“It took us awhile to get the shooting to where they wanted it. Now that it’s shooting better I think they’re more confident about what they can do in the competition,” DiVincenzo said.
Thirty-two teams will be in attendance. Two teams from Delaware, 10 from Pennsylvania and 20 from New Jersey will contend for the title as top robotics team.
The Iron Devils have completed a competition, finishing 11th.
“We are really looking forward to seeing how much it improves a week from now,” DiVincenzo said.
Sister schools Lenape and Cherokee have a team, Storm Robotics, that will be going up against the Iron Devils.
Despite the rivalry, the battle to the top is a friendly one.
“It’s fun to watch a team succeed whether you’re competing against them or not. You actually root for them to make it,” DiVincenzo said. “You’re just rooting for everyone to be successful, which means a robot working. You hate to see a robot not work.”
Students developed the projects three to four hours a day during the week, plus an additional six to eight hours on weekends.
The Iron Devils won’t just be unveiling a new robot; they’ll be donning new jerseys.
The team will be trading in the burgundy shirts for a new color and catchphrase.
Additionally, the team will be handing out Frisbees with its colors and phrases.
The First Robotics Competition will be held March 21–24 at Seneca High School located at 110 Carranza Road.
Admission to the event is free.
“Anybody who likes technology would be amazed at all the students. Every team has dedication,” DiVincenzo said.