By Kathryn Harmon, Neah-Kah-Nie Middle/High School
Saturday October 28th three NKN Robotics teams competed against 12 other teams from around Northwest Oregon in Silicon Forest’s Meet 0 of the FIRST Tech Challenge competition.
FIRST Tech Challenge is an international Robotics Competition where teams design, build, and program a robot to score points during a 2:30 minute competition round. Paired with another team called an alliance, the goal is to score the greatest number of points against an opposing alliance of two teams.
The Menacing Muffin Dragons had a very successful start to their season ranked 3rd out of 15 teams at the meet. They were actually the first team in our league (partnered with the NKN Argonauts team) to complete the first mosaic of the season – placing three tiles on the backdrop in a particular
orientation/color grouping. It doesn’t look like much, but it was an impressive moment. The 47 points they earned in that round set them up early for a strong showing.
The Argonauts also had a solid showing at the meet. They ended ranked 6th out of 15 teams. Their unique Gecko Grabber wasn’t quite as fast on the pickup as they would like, but other teams were pretty impressed with the innovative design, and a replacement grabber is already built, and just needs to get swapped out. One team mentioned that, “Our coach has been trying to get us to design something like this since the beginning of the season!” The Argonauts are very enthusiastic, and did a great job connecting with other teams and learning about their strategies and capabilities..
The World’s smallest Team, or TWsT for short, struggled quite a bit yesterday. They ranked as high as 5th in the competition, but ended in 12th place
out of 15 teams. That being said, they did very well considering the sizable challenges they faced. They had a brand new member who had attended only one practice. They were missing a number of other competitors due to sickness and other scheduling conflicts. In spite of that they competed hard in all 5 of their rounds.
They actually had an excellent paper airplane launcher design which drew other teams over to see it. A simple pin on a string is pulled out of 3D printed plane mount by a small servo motor, and a rubber band provides the energy to send the mount down a rail until it stops suddenly at the end and sends the plane aloft.
Unfortunately the endgame period of 30 seconds proved to be quite short, and getting queued up to send the plane flying proved difficult. They had a couple memorable mis-fires including one that sent the plane into the lap of one of the opposing alliance members. (This is one of the reasons we all wear eye protection at these events.)
NKN was accompanied by so many mentors, families, and friends that showed up to cheer on our teams yesterday, so thank you parents, siblings, grandparents, mentors, and families of mentors for showing up!
NKN Robotics is particularly lucky to have great sponsors every year. Many thanks to the Eugene Schmuck Foundation, The Tillamook County Creamery Association, ORTOP, and the Mudd Nick Foundation for providing the funding to make this program possible.
Also, Upper Crust Pizza in Rockaway has continuously and generously provided pizza for team events.