By Joseph Harrison ‘26, Spectrum Staff Writer
The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) season kicked off in January, and the CC Shambots are moving into high gear.
Every year, teams must design a robot to complete the challenge developed by the FIRST organization. This year, teams will ally with two other partner teams and have their robots compete against three opposing teams. The two “alliances” will be playing to see who can score the most points in the 3-minute game.
The game begins with a 15-second “autonomous period” during which the robots must navigate without the driver's guidance and score points using pre-programmed instructions.
The drivers of each team must then assume control of their respective robots and attempt to score points in the next two minutes and fifteen seconds.
Finally, the match enters its 30-second “endgame phase” during which robots attempt to dock with their “charging station,” a sort of “seesaw” that robots must balance on.
Robots may earn points for their alliance by scoring either a cone or a cube on nodes located on their side of the field during the main part of the game. They can also earn points by balancing on the charging station at the end of the autonomous period as well as during the endgame phase.
This year, under the direction of new head coach Mr. Joe Lemieux, the Shambots are taking the challenge of this year's game in stride. They have isolated priorities for their strategy and ultimately settled on a double-jointed arm with a swiveling wrist on a rotating turret, theoretically capable of picking up a cone in any orientation. Due to the need to traverse the entire field to pick up cones or cubes, the team has designed the bot to be small and speedy.
The Shambots must complete their bot by February 22 (called “bag day”), when the robot will be “bagged,” meaning no more work can be made to change its design. Then, on February 25, they will have their first “week zero tournament,” an unofficial practice tournament that will allow the team to get a handle on the competition. On March 11, they will attend the Lansing qualifier and then in April, the Livonia qualifier.
Should they qualify at either competition, they will be invited to the state championship in Saginaw (April 6-8) and the winners there advance to nationals in Houston, Texas.
This article first appeared in the Vol. 89, No. 3 issue of the Detroit Catholic Central Spectrum.