Buffalo’s Roboherd will be rolling out to the Regional Competition March 4th where they will compete against 62 other teams ranging from Edina to Irondale to hopefully move on to the next competition.
“We have 35 kids signed up, and we have 15 to 25 kids here working on the robot on any given night”, said tech-ed teacher Benjamin Wandmacher as he pulled out a calculator and typed some numbers into it. “We have put roughly 200 hours into this project altogether.”
With the amount of time and dedication put into the group’s robot, the Roboherd hopes to bring competition to its opponents in this year’s competition run by FIRST. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, and the group hosts robotics events in many places in the US and elsewhere.
For the Roboherd though, there is a lot that is going to need to happen in order to move on to the next competition.
A regional robotics competition starts off with practice rounds, where you work out problems with your team’s robot. Then, teams are placed randomly in groups of three called alliances. No one is eliminated at this stage, but the goal is to earn the most amount of points for your alliance.
Teams are then ranked based on points earned, and then the top eight teams are able to choose two more teams who did not make the top eight to form the final alliances. The new alliances compete with each other, and the top team moves onto the next competition level.
So far as who usually wins or is the top team, Wandmacher explains that, “It all depends, any team could win, unlike football and track. It really depends on the situation, robot, and other variables.”
One of these variables is what the competition game is each year, as every year robots need to be built for different purposes and goals in order to win. This year’s game is called Stronghold, and is explained briefly by Junior Jim Ostvig as an “obstacle course mixed with a basketball game played by robots.”
FIRST releases an official video every year detailing the new years game, and no team knows what type of robot they’ll have to build before the video is released.
This year’s regional competition will be held in Duluth on March 4th, as the Roboherd hope to bring it to the table and move on with their robot to the next level of competition.