The Atlanta FIRST Championship was an awesome event, and our teams had a great experience in the competition!  Seeing the Georgia Dome filled with students from all over the world meeting a technological challenge with incredible focus, energy and gracious professionalism is inspirational!

The Championship was a whirl of activity - we certainly didn't experience it in it's entirety.  We barely sampled the FLL activities (just checked out the NXT area), and mostly passed through the FRC pits on our way from our pits to the da Vinci field where we competed.  Everywhere was a buzz of intense activity, and it is inspiration just being a part of it all!

Congratulations to the winning alliance - 1148 (Robowranglers - Greenville High School, TX), 268 (Simbotics - Governor Simcoe Secondary School, Ontario) and 46 (Singapore Smart - Wissahickon High School/Singapore Exchange, PA).

Also, congratulations to the finalist alliance - 78 (our own Sharon Myotonics - SYRA, MA), 160 (Impulse - Kennedy High School, CT), and 36 (Eaglebots - South Forsyth High School, GA).

And, congratulations to ALL the great teams that participated - we hope they all had as much fun as we did!

Atlanta FVC Championship in photos, from the viewpoint of the Sharon Unlimited team

Wednesday    Thursday AM    Thursday PM    Friday AM    Friday PM    Saturday-Sunday

Team video that we used in our Judging presentation

      (~7MB, if you don't have a DivX codec, link at

We arrived in Atlanta around noon on Wednesday, and used the MARTA transit system to move our team and equipment to our staging area - the Sheraton Atlanta Downtown.  Once the build team had checked the condition of our robot (and made some adjustments), we struck out in search of sustenance.  Lunch at Johnny Rockets in Underground Atlanta was followed by the obligatory visit to "The World of Coca-Cola", where the high point is the opportunity to drink your fill of various Coke beverages from all over the world.

We had hoped to visit the new Georgia Aquarium, but due to the huge popularity of this new facility, admission is by timed ticket only, and they were all sold out for the day (and Saturday as well).  Perhaps next year . . .

Back to our headquarters (the Sheraton Downtown) through the cool spring rain, and into their excellent indoor/outdoor pool!  Later for dinner, we hiked up to Georgia Tech, to the world's largest drive-in - The Varsity.  We ordered to the mantra of "Wadya have, wadya have?". and dined on excellent fast food (mostly prepared on-site).  The frozen orange frosties are great!

We were all up early on Thursday to be at the World Congress Center next to the Georgia Dome (pit areas) for setup and registration by 8:00 am.  There was a flood of teams as the doors finally opened (on-time, but patience was at a premium), and we rushed to get set up before our 8:30 judging appointment.  At judging, we opened with the video presentation crafted by our coding lead, Benjamin, with contributions from the whole team.  Benjamin, Omer and Patrick presented our season, our activities and our robot.

Back to the pits for practice runs, especially autonomous.  We found substantial variation between different fields, and decided to use our backup mission, which is solidly reliable, although lower scoring (7 points each run).

10:30 am saw us in the Georgia Dome for the drivers meeting and FVC opening ceremony, followed by our formal practice round.  After lunch came an afternoon full of qualification rounds and meeting teams from all over, along with scouting for future alliances and opponents.

We finished our day at 2-2-0, with 29.75 Rank Points and 28 autonomous points (7x4), putting us 6th overall, 5th autonomous and 21st under operator control.

In the evening, all the Sharon teams (FVC 13 Unlimited, FVC 44 AngelBots and FVC 78 Myotonics) joined together at the Durango Steakhouse (230 Peachtree), which was very cooperative in meeting our changing schedule for a large reservation.  We had a great meal, and were happy to hear that the owner was an Massachusetts expatriate and a big Red Sox fan!

Friday morning saw two more qualifying rounds, which we split 1-1-0 to end up 3-3-0 for the operator controlled qualifying rounds.  Our overall rank slipped to 11th, slipping to 21st place for operator control but rising to 2nd in autonomous (second only to the Sharon Myotonics).  Going directly into the alliance selection process, we rose in position to the 8th rank as teams in the top eight choose to ally with other teams in the top eight.  Our choices were FVC teams 265 (WarrenTech Robotics) and 111 (Cross Trojans).  Unfortunately (for us), we fell to the 1st-ranked alliance in the quarter-finals (FVC teams 124, 29 & 4).

The Sharon Myotonics finished the qualifying rounds 4-2-0, ranking 6th overall, 15th for operator control and an incredible 1st in autonomous.  They rose to 6th rank during alliance selection, and formed an alliance with FVC teams 160 (Impulse, one of their alliance partners from the NERVE regional) and 36 (Eaglebots).  They defeated the 4th-ranked alliance in the quarter-finals (FVC 73, 158 & 102), the first-ranked alliance in the semi-finals (in a very dramatic tie-breaking match), and finished second to the 2nd-ranked alliance in the finals (FVC 1148, 268 & 46).  A great performance by a great team!

The Sharon AngelBots finished the qualifying rounds 2-4-0, ranking 19th overall, 36th for operator control and an impressive 8th in autonomous.  They were selected for the 3rd-ranked alliance by FVC teams 935 (RaileRobotics) & 1 (Syntax Error).  They defeated the 6th-ranked alliance in the quarter-finals (FVC 5, 117 & 233), and fell to the 2nd-ranked alliance in the semi-finals (who went on to win the finals).  A great performance for the AngelBots!

The awards and closing ceremonies followed the finals, and the Myotonics received their FVC Connect award for the highest Autonomous score, as well as their medals for their 2nd place finish as finalists (along with their partners, Impulse and the Eaglebots)!  The winning alliance was awarded their trophies and medals - FVC team 1148 (Robowranglers), 268 (Simbotics) and 46 (Singapore Smart).  FVC team 160 (Impulse) received the FVC Challenge award, FVC team 108 (the Mafia Bots) received the Think award, FVC team 158 (the Driven Nuts) received the Create award, and FVC team 96 (the Robo Warriors) received the Amaze award.  Congratulations to all!

Then it was back to the pit area for cleanup and packing.  On the way back, we met a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, George Chidi.  He was interested in looking us up, as he had gone to Sharon High School himself.  He had greetings to pass on to one of his old teachers, which our team members delivered for him.

Farewells to our friends (new and old), some team pictures, and then off for some R&R!

Friday after we left the pit area, we headed back to our hotel (the Sheraton Downtown) to make use of the excellent swimming pool.  The team swam and soaked for hours, and then one of the mentors had some news.

One of our families had been having some issues with their reservations and their room (the hotel was very full), and in a real-world display of gracious professionalism, the hotel manager upgraded their room to the Presidential Suite!

Needless to say, we all trooped up to enjoy the beautiful suite, with it's comfortable living area with wide screen TV, fireplace (it was a bit cool this year), and pool table.  It was practically impossible to separate the team from the pool table, so we went out only briefly to a nearby Mexican restaurant, and then back for more pool as the mentors relaxed in front of the fireplace with their brandy.

Saturday started slow, as we slept in to make up for all the rest we had missed over the past few days.  We decided to go up to Stone Mountain, but we had some difficulty arranging for a quick van rental.  We could see a van in the Budget rental lot across from the hotel, and in a flash of exuberance, one of our mentors yelled down - "We need a van!"  Well, they could hear us even from the 12th floor, and were expecting our group as we all came across the street.  An hour later, we were touring Georgia's Stone Mountain.

Stone Mountain is a theme park area around a huge granite monolith (1683' above sea level, 825' above the park level), with a bas-relief sculpture of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis carved into the side.  We toured the village of shops and restaurants (and had Engineer Burgers for lunch) and took the Skylift to the top of the mountain.  Although it was cloudy and damp, we could easily see the towers of Atlanta.  We took a train around the mountain, and a paddle-wheel boat around the lake.  Generally, we had a relaxing afternoon.

Wikipedia article on Stone Mountain, with links.

Headed back to Atlanta, we made our annual pilgrimage to Mary Mac's Tea Room for an authentic Southern-cooked meal.  Visiting Mary Mac's in Atlanta is like going to Durgin Park in Boston - authentic regional cuisine served by a waitstaff with real character!  Although we were late and a wedding reception was in full swing, we received attentive service from the manager and our waiter (who showed our team how to "do the robot").  The fried chicken and blackened catfish was excellent, and we always enjoy the sweet tea, "the table wine of the south".

Mary Mac's Tea Room website

Then, back to the Presidential Suite for more pool, and packing for our flight back on Sunday morning.

Sunday morning, we headed out on MARTA to the airport, and meet Dr. Woodie Flowers getting off the train.  He was gracious to pose with the two of our team members present, and then we were all off to the terminals.  No major delays in our flight to Rhode Island, and driving home again to Sharon MA!

Pre-tournament - As of Monday, February 6th 2006, we have been selected to go to the Atlanta competition via the FVC lottery track.  The Sharon Eagle Robotics Unlimited (FVC 13), AngelBots (FVC 44) and Myotonic (FVC 78) have all been accepted.  See you there!

Check out the list of teams who are part of the FVC Championship in Atlanta.

Check out our recommendations for Atlanta eating and recreation, as well as a couple of places that we are looking forward to trying out this year.

FRC Championship page

Atlanta site info

Public agenda

At-a-Glance Public agenda

Downtown Atlanta map

Pit area map

We will track our experiences at the Championship from this page.

Last modified: 12/05/14     All Rights Reserved, 2013 by Team Unlimited [FTC 0001]