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Class of 2021
Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pixelated Hijinks At Kickoff

Get ready to build robots! The annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) game competition has begun. The game brings great joy and excitement to hundreds of thousands of high school students in real time all around the world, including the Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590, Nemesis.

Well over 400 students from several local teams including Robbinsville, Montgomery, Hamilton, The Peddie School, Hightstown, and many more from Mid-Atlantic Robotics had the opportunity to attend robot themed seminars prior to kickoff. The students chose from gearboxes and transmissions, sensors, pneumatics, and Autodesk Inventor, (computer aided design software) among others. These seminars supplied students with the preliminary knowledge needed to tackle the challenges of the 6 week build season. Finally, it was time for the moment that all FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) enthusiasts around the world were waiting for: the reveal of the FRC challenge.

The students settled into the auditorium. As the clock counted down the moments until the big reveal, the excitement was overflowing inside the auditorium. Prior to the reveal, a representative from Picatinny Arsenal, Shah Dabiri, came onto stage and spoke inspirational words about the children of today, and the hope we have for the future. His words definitely spread the message of STEAM and FIRST to the young engineers and future business leaders sitting in the audience. 0:03, 0:02, 0:01, 0:00. The lights dimmed while deafening applause traveled through the auditorium. The presentation had begun and wonderstruck students gazed upon the screen. FIRST Power Up has arrived.

Alliances of 3 teams each are trapped in a nostalgic video arcade game, where the field consists of 1 scale located in centerfield and 1 switch on each end. Power cubes are used to control the balance of the scale and switches and can be found throughout the field.  For every second a scale/switch is tipped in one alliance’s favor , that alliance gains 1 point. During the 15 second autonomous mode, the robots are operated with the use of pre-programmed instructions; anytime the scale or switch is set in an alliance’s favor, that alliance earns 2 points per second. During game play, Power-Ups give temporary scale or switch ownership resulting in score boosts. Robots can boost their alliance’s score even more by climbing the scale’s structure during the end game.

After the video ended and the lights slowly lit the room, many students minds were already at work on the infinite possibilities for their upcoming build season. Kavya Velliangiri, a Robbinsville freshmen on Nemesis stated, “The kickoff was exhilarating, and it was an experience to remember!” From the faces on many of the students in the room, they were feeling exactly the same way.

Teams were quick to flood out of the building, eager to return to their high schools to study the manual, filled to the brim with rules and information pertaining to the challenge, and share their newfound ideas during brainstorming sessions. Nemesis is very excited to start their build season off right.

Nemesis will compete at the Hatboro-Horsham District Event on March 3rd-March 4th, the Bridgewater-Raritan District Event on March 17th-18th, and the Hudson Valley Regional in Suffern, NY on March 23rd-March 25th. All events are free admission and all are welcome.  

Nemesis would like to extend great thanks to their generous sponsors: Robbinsville High School, NAVAIR, Bristol Myers Squibb, Department of Defense STEM, CCL Label, Knowledgent, Lockheed Martin, Nordson, Picatinny Arsenal, New York Society Of Cosmetic Chemists, Leidos, Robbinsville Education Association, RAS Process Equipment, Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, Investors Foundation, Robbinsville Education Foundation, Sharbell Development Corporation, Gilbane Incorporated, Design Tree, Northstar Vets, Skylink Technology Incorporated, Triangle Copy, and Coldwell Banker.