Sharon Eagle Robotics
teams at Atlanta FIRST competition
Sharon Advocate - Friday,
June 16, 2006
teams from the Sharon Youth Robotics Association (SYRA) competed at the
pilot FIRST Vex Challenge (FVC), held in Atlanta on April 27 & 28.
After scrimmaging at WPI and competing regionally at the Hartford
"NERVE" FVC event in March, they advanced to the 2006 FIRST international
robotics tournament. The huge event includes hundreds of teams with
thousands of students in three divisions, all competing in the enormous
The Sharon AngelBots, Myotonics and Unlimited teams
achieved great success, all reaching the playoff rounds. They all brought
credit to themselves and the popular Sharon robotics program, exemplifying
the FIRST credo - "gracious professionalism".
This season's "Half-Pipe Hustle" competition included both operator
controlled (R/C) and autonomous (programmed) rounds, with robots (built from
Vex robotics kits) that are no larger than 18"x18"x12". The field is
14'x10', with ramps at each end. Balls can be gathered from wall feeders or
the floor, and scored into corner goals or a raised center goal.
The autonomous rounds leave the robot to run and score alone under
program control. The operator control rounds pit randomly assigned pairs of
robots (red and blue alliances) to compete against other pairs in successive
qualification rounds, each using their unique capabilities and tactics. The
top teams then select alliances to compete in best of three rounds, until
the final winner is determined.
The Sharon AngelBots team includes Kimberly Cho, Joshua Czik, Julia
Gawle, Nawal Hourani, Rebecca Levenson, Michelle Parziale and Avi Turkowitz.
In the qualifying rounds they finished 19th overall, with a 8th place finish
in the autonomous rounds. They were chosen as part of the third alliance,
and progressed to finish in the semi-finals!
The Sharon Myotonics team includes Madeleine Adelson, Michael Adelson,
Chloe Cheung, Jeff Frishman, Steven Lu and Justin Watanasiri. In the
qualifying rounds they finished sixth overall, with a first place finish in
the autonomous rounds, receiving the FVC Connect award for their
achievement. They formed the fifth alliance, and had a fantastic run to
finish second in the finals.
The Sharon Unlimited team includes Benjamin Mende, Patrick Pilvines and
Omer Zaidi. In the qualifying rounds they finished 11th overall, with a
second place finish in the autonomous rounds. They formed the eighth
alliance, and progressed to finish in the quarter finals!
The FIRST ("For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology")
program aspires "to create a world where science and technology are
celebrated . . . where young people dream of becoming science and technology
heroes", according to founder Dean Kamen, a prominent inventor and
technologist. The http://www.usfirst.org/
Web site has details on all FIRST competitions and programs.
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) began in 1992 in a high school gym
in New Hampshire. This season the "Aim High" challenge includes over 1000
teams building and competing with large (over 100 lb.) robots, at 33
regional competitions and the international Championship. Sharon has not to
date sponsored an FRC team.
The new FIRST Vex Robotics
Challenge (FVC) started in 2005, with the successful demonstration
tournament in which Sharon participated. Spring 2005 is the pilot season,
with hundreds of teams building and competing with mid-size robots at six
regional competitions and the international Championship. The new FVC
program has allowed the SYRA to extend participation to Sharon high school
students. The next challenge is to be revealed in fall 2006, and will be
different every season.
The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) was created in partnership between FIRST and
the LEGO Company in 1998 (the pilot season) with 200 teams participating,
and Sharon has been represented since 1999. This past fall more than 7000
FLL teams all over the world accepted the "Ocean Odyssey" challenge (themed
to the Earth's water resources), engaging them in small robot design, as
well as technological and social research. This coming fall it is expected
that many more teams will focus on one the "Nano Quest" challenge (themed to
the cutting-edge topic of nanotechnology).
Continuing activities of the Sharon Youth Robotics Association teams can
be followed at http://www.syraweb.org/
From there, links to FIRST robotics content as well as information on Sharon
and regional robotics activities and competitions can be found, with lots of
photos. A new season will be underway in the fall of 2006, with an
organizational meeting in late August, and all Sharon students (grades 4-12)
are welcome to participate!