back to top
Class of 2019
Sunday, January 8, 2017

Full Steam Ahead: Nemesis FLIES Into 2017!

Even the threat of a winter storm could not deter them. On January 7th 2017, thousands of FIRST Robotics teams around the world held their breath as they anxiously awaited the release of the 2017 game. Each year at Kickoff, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) provides these high school robotics students with a new challenge to hone their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills at competitive regional, district-wide, and international events. The Kickoff marks the beginning of 6 hectic weeks to design, prototype, and build a robot to effectively address the game challenge.

On the frigid Saturday morning, robotics teams from high schools in North Brunswick, Bridgewater-Raritan, Ewing, West Windsor-Plainsboro, and Allentown joined Robbinsville's Nemesis Team 2590 at Montgomery High School for the Kickoff of the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition season.

Before the game reveal, students were able to attend a multitude of workshops hosted by Montgomery High School's own robotics team, Cougar Robotics. Providing instruction in a variety of subjects such as gearboxes, pneumatics, sensors, and Autodesk Inventor (a CAD - Computer Aided Design - program), the workshops served as an efficient way to assist students in learning some concepts that would benefit them in the upcoming build season.

"The gearbox workshop was extremely insightful," commented Robbinsville sophomore, Morgan Serra. "It especially helps new robotics members like myself to understand this topic before we begin to brainstorm. Without this workshop I would've been totally confused throughout build season!"

Excitement buzzed through the air as teams gathered in the auditorium and waited for the NASA-TV webcast to start, live from FIRST Headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire. As the game was revealed, the applause was deafening. Introducing the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition challenge... FIRST Steamworks!

FIRST Steamworks, inspired by steam power technology from the Industrial Revolution, features two alliances of three robots each. The game starts with a 15 second autonomous period in which robots operate solely through pre-coded instructions. The remaining 2 minutes and 15 seconds of each match consists of fierce competition between the alliances in which robots are driven by student drivers. Each alliance's goal is to prepare their airship for takeoff by collecting as much fuel (balls) as possible and shooting it into the boiler (goals). They must also deliver gears to the pilots (human players) on their airship in the middle of the field who will install them in order to start the engines. In the last 30 seconds of the match, robots can latch onto the airship by climbing a thick rope, which earns them additional points. The alliance with the most points at the end of the match wins!

Feeling adrenalized after the game reveal, Nemesis members are already overflowing with ideas on how to design this year's robot.

“This is definitely much different from last year, especially with a drive team member on the field for the first time in FIRST Robotics history,” remarked senior and Build Executive Harsha Pavuluri. “With the many aspects of the game, I can’t wait to hear what the team comes up with!”

Nemesis will be competing at Hatboro-Horsham High School on March 4-5th, at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy on March 18-19th, and at the Festival de Robotique in Montreal, Canada on March 23-25th. Nemesis hopes to qualify for the FIRST Mid-Atlantic District Championship at Lehigh University and the FIRST Championship in St. Louis.

Nemesis would like to thank their sponsors for their continued success: Robbinsville High School, NAVAIR, CCL Label, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Nordson, Robbinsville Education Association, Leidos, Triangle East Windsor, Skylink Technology Inc., Northstar Vets, RAS Process Equipment, Designtree, EAG, Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, Robbinsville Education Foundation, Lockheed Martin, SRI International, McGraw Hill Financial, Siemens, and Investors Bank.