RIDE was the Bionics’ first official competition of the season, having won a pre-season event hosted by Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, NH just a few weeks ago.
The gym at Ponaganset High School was packed Saturday and Sunday with tech-savvy teens, encouraging coaches, and vivacious volunteers, all watching the playing field as robots raced to score points. These robots, designed and built by the high school students, operate in autonomous and remote control modes, picking up and placing game pieces in precise locations in the game field. To score extra points, the robots can balance on a rocking platform called a “charging station”.
The second day also had some lows and highs for Billerica’s favorite robot. Near the end of a match, Equinox tipped over, damaging the robot. “It was a really scary moment,” said team captain Anuva Agrawal. “But it was great that we could count on our pit crew to fix the robot quickly for the next match.” The team discovered that a communications problem with the field delayed control commands, causing the robot to jerk forward unexpectedly and fall. The FIRST head referee allowed a rematch, which the Bionics’ alliance won 105 to 84, putting Billerica in 5th place for the playoff tournament.
The playoff tournament was thrilling at the top teams took to the field. The Bionics allied with two other teams to score a win in their first tournament match. Unfortunately, they lost their next two matches, eliminating them from the competition.
RIDE was an exciting event for humans and robots alike. The Billerica Bionics team is looking forward to the next competition on March 25th and 26th at Revere High School in Revere, MA. Attendance is free, and all are invited to attend and cheer on the team. “This was a tough competition,” said team member Abhinaba Goswami. “We’re going to do even better in the next game.”
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