The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

We want to hear your voice!

Which school event do you most look forward to this year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Paly Robotics team successful in Las Vegas, hopes for same success in Atlanta

Las Vegas, the city of lights, best known for its casinos, tourist attractions, famous landmark replicas and…robotics tournaments?

Palo Alto High School’s Robotics team had a successful return after attending the FIRST Robotics Competition in Las Vegas from March 29-30 for the third year in a row.

“We made it into the quarter finals [in the competition]” senior Mike Tramiel said. “This isn’t as good as the past few years but from a qualitative point of view our robot far outperformed any previous year in all aspects.” Tramiel is co-captain of the build team and the robot’s main driver.

According to the FIRST Robitics Competition website, “over 1,125 teams in 33 regional events” compete in this competition. Several FIRST Robotics competitions are held during the year, Las Vegas being the most recent one.

Tramiel explains the rules for a robotics competition.

“In January, the teams are given a challenge or “game” to play and have six weeks to build a robot to do it.” Each year, FIRST Robotics Competition creates a new game and set of rules in which the robots compete.

There are two three-team alliances, a red alliance and a blue alliance. Each alliance is set on opposite sides of the playing court, with two red alliance Trackballs and two blue alliance Trackballs in the middle of the court. According to the FIRST Robotics 2008 “Overdrive” animation video, the main objective of the game is to “have each alliance move their robots and Trackballs around the track as rapidly as possible and gain points each time they cross their finishline.” According to the FIRST website, alliances receive points by knocking a Trackball off the overpass in which they are situated, having their robot cross the finish line, and by having the Trackballs cross the finish line.

In addition to the several regional competitions held, a championship will be held in Atlanta on April 16.

“The championship is huge,” Tramiel said. “In Vegas there were around 50 teams competing, in Atlanta there will be four divisions with about 70 robots each … The quality of robots is also much higher making it all around a much harder competition.”

Tramiel explains that, in order to qualify for the robotics championships in Atlanta, they need to win a regional competition during the season.

“At the regional competition in San Jose, Paly lost in an inappropriate replay of the final round,” Robotics teacher Doug Bertaind said. “They ruled that we really did win and now qualify for the championship event.”

According to Tramiel, there was an issue in San Jose based on a bad call by the referee during the competition, which initially cost the team first place. After review, FIRST Robotics decided to give Paly a place at the championships as well as the first place team. This will be the first time Paly has made it to the championship in five years.

In order to attend this competition, the team had to scrape together $10,000 for travel costs and shipping costs for their robot and materials. According to team member Guy Davidson, most of the money was donated by corporate sponsors, many of which are somehow involved in high-technology business.

The Robotics Team will be traveling to Atlanta on April 16 to compete in the National Championship.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All The Paly Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *