The program is the VEX Robotics Competition and the name of the game is Toss Up. Played on a 12 by 12 foot field, two alliances, “Red” and “Blue,” comprised of two teams each compete to place the most colored balls within the goal area within the allotted time. The robots must be built to navigate difficult terrain, push, lift and grab objects of varying sizes, and prevent other robots from completing their goals. This particular competition was a qualifying round for the robotics state championships for the state of Maine.
The team arrived in Cape Elizabeth the evening before the competition with an incomplete robot and a looming deadline. “These guys are dedicated,” says Ben Moss, Director of Technology at WMS. “They must have stayed up until four in the morning working on that robot.”
The robot (affectionately named Screw Loose) and driver Harris Rothman led the team through 10 rounds of Toss Up: seven losses and three wins with an eventual placement of 16th out of 22 teams. Not bad for a first venture and, as you’d expect, they have plans for the future.
“We’re going to totally rebuild the robot from the base up,” says Harris. But this first competition was a real learning experience and he and his teammates are full of ideas that they can’t wait to try out at upcoming tournaments in New Hampshire and Vermont.
To see pictures and video of the Robotics Team and their robot in action, click here. Special thanks to Whit and Amy Ford, parents of Ben, who hosted the team during their stay in Maine.