Kennett Coders Robotics Team Going to World

Kennett Coders Robotics Team Going to World Championships
Posted on 02/28/2018
Team 5106C earns Excellence Award
For the fifth time in six years, the Kennett High Coders are on their way to the World Championships.

The Kennett Coders team 5106C — sophomores Chani Mores and Kate Keefe — won the Excellence Award for the best all-around robot at the VEX Robotics NH/VT State Championships on a recent Saturday at Manchester Community College to earn an invitation to the 2018 robotics world championship.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics Competition. This award is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in creating a high quality VEX Robotics program. In the New Hampshire and Vermont region there are 88 competitive robotics teams; only five of those teams can qualify for the world championships. To qualify, a team must either win the state championships tournament or win either the Design or Excellence awards.

VEX Robotics World Championship is officially recognized by the Guinness World Records as the largest robotics competition on earth, this week-long competitive robotics event brings together the best 576 of the 20,000 VEX Competition teams from 45 countries, leading technology companies, and volunteers, to celebrate these young students’ achievement in STEM. The championships are scheduled for April 25-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Kennett robotics team qualified three robots for the state championships: they were Teams 5106A— junior Lucas Glasshart and senior Tyler James; More and Keefe; and 5106Z — sophomore Calista Ireland and junior Jassmyn Baker.

Only the top 36 teams from the region are invited to the state championships, making it the most competitive event of the year for this region. All of the teams that were competing were either finalists in a previous competition or a highly ranked skills team.

Each year the REC Foundation creates a robotic challenge which is used as the basis for the competitions. This year’s challenge is called “In the Zone,” where robots had to accumulate scoring cones, place them on mobile goals and then move those mobile goals to scoring zones. To make this challenge more difficult, robots could only pick up a single cone at a time, although if they placed a cone onto a mobile goal they could accumulate a stack of cones and score them together. If a robot picked up more than one cone at a time, that robot was disqualified. As a result of this rule, careful programming was needed to track the cones.

This year both offensive and defensive robots could compete. The role of the offensive robots was to score efficiently and faster than the other teams; the defensive robots focused on preventing the offensive robots from scoring.

Team 5106C Receives Excellence Award
Team 5106C (Mores and Keefe) focused on complete automation of the robot, looking to reduce the amount of time it takes to build a scoring stack and efficiently score. This automation resulted in more than 3,000 lines of code needed to control the robot’s operation. The robot would hunt for cones, pick them up and place them on the mobile goal using automation. Sensors were used to find the cones, move the robot arms and lift to place the cone on to a scoring stack of varying heights. Automation was also used to detect the presence of a mobile goal and position the mobile goal lift for immediate capture.

Coach and mentor Ron Sandstrom said, “this combination of automated movements combined with the use of sensors, encoders and motors was one of the most complex systems ever created by Kennett Robotics. Chani and Kate worked on these operations, tuning the software and hardware over the past two months, making the process nearly flawless.”

Team 5106A (Glasshart and James) focused on the autonomous operation of their robot while testing alternate designs throughout the season for the drive system. Initially utilizing a holographic X drive design, their robot could move in any direction with ease. As part of the learning process, new designs that could work great don’t always result in the most efficient scoring with the current game rules. The redesign resulted in a robot that competed well. It was a finalist in the Pembroke competition but was purely an offensive robot which, when confronted with newly designed defensive robots, showed its vulnerability to those defenses.

In the weeks before the State Championships, a new type of defensive robot design was beginning to appear. These robots were designed to work much like a projectile, moving at high speeds and programmed to ram robots that were attempting to score. These defensive robots proved to be very effective against 5106A (Glasshart and James) at the state championships and resulted in their not qualifying for the championship rounds. Lucas and Tyler spent countless hours working on and refining their robots and were a key part of this world championship qualifying Kennett Coders team.

Team 5106Z, (Baker and Ireland), mentored by Richard Chavez, got off to a solid start earlier in the year along with the powerhouse team of 5106E (seniors Matt Ballou and Justin Barrett), were unable to participate at the State Championships due to other commitments.

They need your help to get Kennett High School robotics team to the World Championships. In total, the cost to participate in the event will be more than $5,000. If you can contribute and want to help the team get to the world championships, please send a donation to: c/o MWV Economic Council — Diane Ryan — 53 Technology Lane, Suite 100, Conway, NH 03818.

2018 Kennett Coders coaches are Dan Richardi, Ron Sandstrom, and Joe Riddensdale, along with mentor Laura Glassover.

The Kennett Coders are supported by SAU 9, The Mount Washington Valley Economic Council, Kiwanis, Rotary Club, Top Notch Rentals, RLSAND Inc. and through donations from individuals. Without support from these local organizations, businesses and individuals, Kennett Coders would not exist.
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