The Cinnaminson High School robotics team is off to a great start in just their second year together. In their recent initial qualifying meet in FIRST Robotics, Cinnaminson advanced to the semifinals as an alliance.
According to Cinnaminson robotics team member Nate Coston, the basic idea of the fall competition was for two teams to form alliances and face off against two opponents. Then one team would push blocks into a building zone for the other team to take and ultimately build a skyscraper.
The competition involves two different sections. The first is the autonomist section, which includes a list of actions for the robot to perform. Cinnaminson received points for having one of the four actions for the robot programmed. The second section is for teleop — programming the motor so the team can drive it with one of its controllers.
“Time is limited within those sections, so we have to complete those actions quickly,” said Coston. “There’s only about three minutes per match: 30 seconds for autonomist, two minutes for teleop and 30 seconds for Endgame, where points were increased.”
“We all had different roles,” said robotics team member Alex Boyk. “We have two drivers that switch off just about every round. We have the team coach, then we have a human player who places the blocks in the zone when and if we need them.
“We didn’t have the claw on the robot yet, but we were able to push a lot of blocks and get enough points to be the viable choice to be the alliance.”
Overall, the Cinnaminson robotics team placed seventh out of 21 teams during the competition. The top four teams would move on to the semifinals, but were also able to choose their alliance. Cinnaminson was selected as an alliance due to its ability to push the blocks. A team they had worked with previously during the competition selected Cinnaminson after they garnered a lot of points together in their previous match.
“That was a tremendous improvement,” said robotics club Advisor Nancy Mulville. “This was only our second time competing and our first time qualifying. For them, it was a tremendous improvement over the first time. They did very well. They completed the challenges with a lot of good strategies and teamwork and that’s why they were chosen.”.
According to robotics team member Dean Clark, getting involved with the club is all about hard work and teamwork. When the year first started, the Cinnaminson robot had some issues in terms of figuring out the correct design and how to keep the wheels on. But through teamwork and hard work, they turned it around.
“You don’t have to be the smartest person to join the robotics club,” Coston noted. “You just have to be willing to work hard.”