The Kentucky Wildbots’ season in the First Robotics regional competition in Knoxville, Tenn. came to a frustrating end Saturday as what turned out to be a loose connection in the robot’s breaker left the team near the bottom of the standings Saturday.
Lynn Camp High School Teacher Roger Riquelme, who coaches the team, said the problem caused the robot to repeatedly shut down in the midst of the matches.
“It would work for half of the match,” Riquelme said adding the source of the problem was difficult to diagnose.
“We think it got jarred loose,” Riquelme added.
Riquelme said despite the problem with the robot, it said a lot about his team.
“I was impressed with how they stuck with it,” Riquelme said adding a lot of other high school students would have been quick to call it quits.
Riquelme said when the robot did work, it was clear the team had developed one of the best designs on display.
The game, called “Steamworks,” called for teams of three robots to load fuel in the form of whiffle balls into a mock boiler to build up pressure high enough to power the team’s airship.
In addition, the robots were tasked with retrieving gears to complete chains to permit all four of the rotors on the airship to spin.
Finally, toward the end of the match, ropes were lowered from the team’s airship to permit each of the team’s robots to climb aboard.
Riquelme, who took over the program when teacher Arthur Canada retired, said the team’s goal was be able to do everything.
Judging by video of the robot in action that has been posted on youtube.com, the team was successful.
Riquelme said the robot is not headed to the scrap heap.
The Wildbots will be participating in some of the offseason events and are planning to host one of their own at the end of October.
Riquelme said it will use the same First Steamworks playing field so the Wildbots’ robot can be seen in action, locally.
Riquelme said while the 2017 competition was disappointing to he and his team, he feels good going into the 2018 competition.
“We have no seniors this year so the whole team will be veterans,” Riquelme said. “I’m hoping we learned a lot from this.”
Video of the Wildbots’ matches may be seen online at https://www.thebluealliance.com/event/2017tnkn
The Wildbots’ robot is 3844.
Click on the matches in which 3844 is competing to bring up the videos.