The Robotics CompetitionThe Rio Robotics squad was competing on March 25 and March 26, 2016 at the UCD pavilion hall against 60 teams.
When our team first got to the arena where the First Robotics competition was to take place we were immediately impressed. While building and designing our robot, we knew that ours would look less glamorous and intricate than those of other teams, but we were still surprised to see some of the robots and tools that other teams were bringing in. It was still the day before the competition and yet there was so much going on, and so many teams with the contraptions they’d spent months on.
I can’t speak for the rest of my team, but going into the competition on the first day was both nerve-wracking and exhilarating. The line to enter the building trailed all the way back to the parking lot. Students, parents, mentors, and teachers alike all stood in their matching team shirts and sweatshirts, anxious to get inside and begin testing their robots. When we finally made it into the arena that typically hosted college basketball games, I felt as though the breath was knocked out of me.
For someone who enjoys robotics, this was like Disneyland to me. Everywhere I looked there were team signs and banners. The energy in the arena was nearly palpable, although that might have just been the sound vibrations from the music that had been projected through the building.
As soon as I saw A.B.A.G.A.I.L., our robot, the excitement from my surroundings was replaced by focus. Our builders immediately knew what last minute improvements they had to add on, and the drivers began talking strategy when they weren’t assisting the builders. Our programmer, a former participant who attends Sacramento State, whipped out her laptop and was immediately working on the codes.
I, not being particularly excellent at any of those jobs, focused on the forms that our team was supposed to fill out and on networking with other teams there.
We each had our job, and surprisingly, the day went by way quicker than we thought that it would. We were quick to learn that the rules in place at the competition were incredibly specific, and had to modify our robot to meet the specifications at least four times just to pass the initial inspection.
After inspection, we ended up fixing the robot two more times.
The first day ended with only one practice round, and the next two days were for the actual competition. Everyone was on edge, but in a good way. We were practically shaking with energy now that we could finally put A.B.A.G.A.I.L. to the test.
And boy, she did not disappoint.
Coming into the competition I would’ve been happy with 30th out of 60 teams. We went above and beyond that. Thanks to our builders, sponsors, programmer, and driver, we managed to get an official 16th out of 60 ranking for overall performance, 4th in scoring, and 6th individually.
Needless to say, we made quite the impression, and are looking forward to building on it next year.
From Erin Riley( team Captain)