The upper school library was full of commotion on the morning of Saturday Jan. 9 as members of the robotics club gathered around to listen in on the 2016 competition kickoff podcast. The game, playing field and Kickoff Kit were unveiled during an hour-long livestream video podcast that aired at 10:30 a.m.. This year’s tournament challenge, FIRST STRONGHOLD, is medieval-themed and will require players to design and build a working robotic prototype that is able to navigate over difficult terrain, aim and fire boulders, breach the opponent’s defenses and weaken the opponent’s tower.
With the help of adult mentors, teams will have six weeks to plan, construct and test their robot before competing in regional and district tournaments. After the livestream video podcast, students immediately went to work brainstorming and designing their robot. Leading up to Bag Day on Feb. 23, robotics students can expect to meet in the lab Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..
“It’s going to be really challenging because this is the first time the field is going to change while playing, but it’ll make things a lot more interesting to watch,” said junior and Stand Scouter, Pedro Nascimento. “Robotics is the hardest fun I’ve ever had.”
More than 3,000 teams from around the world are expected to compete in the FIRST STRONGHOLD challenge. Sponsored by companies such as Google, SpaceX and The Coca-Cola Company, this year FIRST plans to distribute over $25 million dollars in scholarships to competition participants.