Build season ends, robotics prepares for upcoming tournaments

Jevan Yu, Editor-in-Chief

Sophomore Peter Martin (left) and junior Devin Ardeshna (right) examine the robot in the final hours that they can make modifications. The team hopes to go as far as possible in the upcoming contest. "In the past couple of competitions we've gone to we've gone to eliminations, so we're hoping to get there again," Ardeshna said. Photo: Jevan Yu
Sophomore Peter Martin (left) and junior Devin Ardeshna (right) examine the robot in the final hours leading up to the end of build season. The team members are hopeful that they can go far in the upcoming contests. “In the past couple of competitions we’ve gone to eliminations, so we’re hoping to get there again,” Ardeshna said. Photo: Jevan Yu.

With build season complete as of Tuesday night, the Palo Alto High School robotics team, Team 8, is preparing for a pair of regional tournaments that can determine its acceptance to World Championships.

According to Build Captain junior Devin Ardeshna, Team 8 is aiming to meet the high benchmark set by last year’s group, which included a top-30 finish at World Championships.

“We’re hoping to do as well as possible, maybe go to World Championships again,” Ardeshna said.

For this year’s competition, called Steamworks, teams are tasked with building a robot that picks up and shoots wiffle balls into what Ardeshna described as “a giant trash can nine feet in the air.” Additionally, the robot scores points by picking up plastic gears scattered on the ground and placing them on pegs.

Despite the fact that the team now cannot touch its robot until competition day, it has a host of action items to complete.

“What we’ve done this year is we’ve actually built two robots,” Ardeshna said. “We’ve built a practice robot and a competition robot. The competition robot is [now] inaccessible, but we have a practice robot that we can tweak and test with.”

Ardeshna added that the team will spend time beefing up its 30-pound withholding allowance, a set of supplemental items that can be added to the robot immediately before competition.

Sophomore Robbie Selwyn, a programmer for Team 8, said that the team’s first competition will ease the process of making it to the next stage.

“Ventura is a regional [competition] that is definitely not as strong as Silicon Valley,” Selwyn said. “The world-class teams at the Silicon Valley Regional make it very difficult to go deep into playoffs.”

Selwyn also believes the robot has the potential to achieve success at the upcoming tournament.

“This year we spent a lot more time working on designing our robot instead of building it extremely quickly,” Selwyn said. “We hope to have a very strong robot for Ventura Regional.”

Team 8’s first competition of 2017 is the Ventura Regional, which will take place from March 16 to March 18. Its second tournament is the Silicon Valley Regional, which is from March 29 to April 1.