The CyberCavs have just returned from St. Louis, Missouri with one of the best robots in the world.
At the FIRST Robotics World Championships, the Woodland Christian High School robotics team, made up of 30 students, competed against 600 of the best robots in the world and winners of various regional competitions.
The teams and their robots were divided into divisions, and each charged with completing a series of tasks and overcoming obstacles. Each action earns the team points.
The team won their division – Newton – and finished with a score that ranked them as the 32nd best robot in the world.
Nat Stroobosscher, senior build team member and operator, says he is proud of the team for placing so high and the culmination of almost five months of work.
“We ended up winning our division, which got us on to the Einstein field, which was the world finals field,” he said. “We got these special pins, and since we were on the Einstein field we were theoretically one of the top 32 robots in the world.
It is pretty cool. Starting this project in January, and being in May, it is so cool to see it come together.”
To make their success taste even sweeter, they were up against the best robots in the world. The competition was stiff.
“It is the same tasks as the regionals we were at, but now we are competing against higher tier robots and higher caliber teams,” said Stroobosscher.
Matthias Mostert is one of the team’s scouts and safety captain. He observes other teams’ robots and compiles data, which is used to come up with ideas for strategy and mechanics.
“It was a lot higher caliber of play. At the regional level there would be a few really solid robots. Here, there were tens of really good robots,” he said. “It was more difficult and more exciting watching matches. There is a bit more of a competition going on. There were no matches where it was just dead.”
The 30-member team has a few changes to the robot since the regional competition last month. Along with programmers adding some extra code to improve functions, Stroobosscher says they also made structural changes.
“We reinforced it. We found that we were taking hits, and bending out of shape, so we basically threw some gussets in there and stopped that from happening,” he described.
The CyberCavs’ robot was also unique in a stadium of 600 robots, and in a very important way.
“There was a defense in this game where there were two doors, one that opened to the side and one that opened downwards. We went into the championships expecting that other teams could do those fairly well, but we ended up being the only robot in the world that could do both of those defenses automatically. We would run up to it, get through it no problem,” said Stroobosscher. “We would then see other robots go up to it and struggling to get it open, lumbering through them. We have an arm that automatically comes out, opens the door and comes back.”
Stroobosscher and Mostert will be graduating this year, but operator Josh Van Pelt and scout and strategist Nathanael Willms will be back next year. They have very high hopes.
“We want to win the entire World Championships,” laughed Van Pelt.
Willms shared that winning it all might not be completely out of the realm of possibility for the Breslau team.
“The world championships is going to be divided in half next year, so we will only be competing against half as many teams. So we actually have a better chance,” he said.