CyberKnights “Power Up” for the 2018 Robotics Season

Written by KHS Students Madeleine Schwitters and Andrew LaPrade

Finally, robotics competition season has arrived! Under strict rules, limited resources and an intense, six-week time limit, we are challenged to build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors.

This year’s game is called FIRST POWER UP. It has a retro arcade vibe, where teams are “trapped” in a video game and must defeat the boss in order to escape. Actually, it’s better to watch the game video rather than explain it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZbdwYiCY74

After the kickoff event, all of the CyberKnights headed back to school and began our brainstorming session to begin preparations for the robot that our team will build this season. The time and effort that we all put forth over the next few months are rewarded with friendship, awesome teamwork and an amazing robot. As always, our main theme is “gracious professionalism”: to learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process.

On Sunday, we got together with our robotics friends from Seattle Christian School to share our initial ideas and to do some additional brainstorming. Together, we played a mock game with people playing the robots. We tried role-playing many different scenarios to see if we could uncover some strategies we hadn’t yet considered. Here is a quick snippet of our first “game:”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw4RHI8mz4w

During our first week of build season, our engineering team went hard at work to complete building the robot earlier than ever. We decided to have the robot base completed by the end of the first week, and we did! Thanks to our new ambitious schedule, we were extremely productive and optimistic that we can get the robot running weeks before we have to bag and tag it.

In the meantime, the business team was also hard at work to prepare award submissions. We have to create a business plan and marketing campaign for the season, and submit applications for the Chairman’s Award and Entrepreneurship Award. As FRC is “more than robots,” business fundamentals are ingrained into the team, bringing together teammates who are not only interested in engineering but also in art, creative writing and marketing. For instance, a teammate interested in graphic design created an 8-bit version of a Knight for our team’s t-shirt: a perfect fit for this year’s game!

The CyberKnights provides a place of immense learning, skill development, student leading and fun. Seriously, the robotics team is an experience high school students rarely get.

We invite you to learn more about robotics and to come experience a competition. Our first competition will be March 3-4 at Mount Vernon High School. We continuously update our progress on our website, cyberknights4911.com. Also, be sure to explore our efforts to help others, like our Special Olympics Unified Robotics program and our outreach to build and support a robotics team at the Beacon of Hope School in Uganda.