Bow down to Bearbotics

The Blake Robotics team, BearBotics, is coming off of its best ever finish in the regional tournament.

This year the team advanced to the semifinals, earning them a ticket to the state tournament on May 17th. Team captain Tyler Dougan ‘14 says: “It was really impressive because every year we make a different mistake and the next year we don’t make that mistake again. This year was the year that we had made all the mistakes we were going to make, and we got stuff right.”

The contest, Aerial Assist, involved passing an exercise ball down a 25 foot by 54 foot field between three robots and making a shot into a high goal seven feet high or a low goal on the ground.

The ball is two feet in diameter, which according to Dougan, “doesn’t sound that big, but your robots are only about two feet in diameter, so it’s pretty big.”

Each round, there are two periods, the autonomous and the tele-operated periods.

First is the autonomous period, a ten second window that requires robots to function only on coding written before the contest. Scoring for that section included points rewarded for getting the ball into the goal, with extra rewarded for getting it in the “hot goal” and for movement across the starting line.

The tele-operated section, where most of the points were scored, involves alliances of three robots and human drivers each, and this year was especially rewarding to assisting the other robots in the alliance.

Team participant Geordie Roscoe ‘16 says, “The main game mechanic actually was assisting this year, which was interesting. First, the sponsors of the competition have always been interested in doing that and this is really the first year where they have done a great job of that.” If two robots are used on the way down the field and a goal is scored, 10 points are rewarded, and if all three are used, it increases to 30 points. Once they get in range of the goals, teams can choose to try and make a shot in the high goal for 10 points or the low goal for one point. Extra points were awarded for the ball going over a truss that is six feet off of the ground, and 10 more if a robot caught it.

The complicated design of the robot is described by Roscoe: “Imagine a forklift, put that on the front of the robot, and have it able to only tilt up and down and a c-channel… basically strong metal, sort of a square out of the back with a hinge… that can pull back and release with a lot of force, and there were surgical tubes tied out front to a bar anchored to the robot and what we had back here was a system which winched down the catapult and then released it.”

Each of the parts served their individual purposes and helped others with theirs, for instance the forklift, which also elevated the ball to the point where it can enter the catapult and be shot out.

Make sure to come support the team and get a chance to watch some robotic action at the State Tournament on May 17th at the University of Minnesota  Williams Basketball Arena from 8:00am to 4:30pm!

"It's not much, but it's home," says team member Jonathan Solomon '16 on the school's bottom-floor workshop that acts as the Bearbotics HQ.
“It’s not much, but it’s home,” says team member Jonathan Solomon ’16 on the school’s bottom-floor workshop that acts as the Bearbotics HQ.