Return to Headlines

Believe in the 'bot

Posted on March 1, 2017

Riverdale’s Robotics Team is readying for a new battle. This year’s First Robotics competition, dubbed First Steamworks, has a strong steampunk theme, taking place in an era where steam power reigns. 

Teams of students form alliances to compete in a long-distance air-ship race requiring them to collect fuel (in the form of balls) to build steam pressure, transport and install gears to engage rotors and, finally, climb (via rope) aboard their airship for lift off. The airship best prepared for flight when the timer reaches zero, wins. 

high school students build robot for competition Riverdale’s “Team Pandamonium“ (#2915) has only six weeks from the Jan. 7 kickoff to build its robot. While the team must stop work and seal the robot on Feb. 21, the competitions are not until March 10-11 at Wilsonville High School (event details), and March 31-April 1 at Lake Oswego High School (event details). “The build season is the best six weeks of the year!” says senior Matthew Gilbert. 

Junior Roma Pugliese explains the process: “In the preseason, we set up the subgroup teams, fundraise and restock supplies. Once we get to kickoff, we learn the tasks the robot is supposed to perform, what the field looks like, and get the basic supplies to start building the robot.” The first two weeks are completely dedicated to building the chassis, programming the motors so the robot can drive and prototyping the task systems. “In order for the build team to be the most successful, we have a computer-aided design team model the robot and its parts. After completing the models, the build teams get to work, creating the systems to accomplish the tasks on the field. The programmers are then able to properly code the robot to drive on the field,” Roma says. 

“I’m excited to see if our problem-solving skills have worked,” says junior Fisher Ng. 

At the same time, the development and marketing teams work together to raise money, advertise the team and promote the idea of gracious professionalism through teamwork.