On April 5, 2019, The Browning School robotics team attended their first FRC competition. FRC is a robotics competition for high school students from all over the world. Our students were able to witness teams from England, China and Turkey compete in this fast-paced robotics challenge. This competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game.
The team received a VIP tour of the playing field from this year’s NYC regional champions and learned about this year’s challenge along with the rules and strategies of the game. They also had an opportunity to talk to teams from all over the world and learned about skills like time-management, planning and skills involved in building industrial-size robots.
(Reported by Team Captains: Alec Candidato & Eric Sigg and Main Programmer Giordan Escalona)
When we arrived, we immediately realized how much more there was to robotics beyond what we are doing at Browning. The robots we saw were so much bigger and featured even more complex features than we have ever dealt with. Robots featured pneumatics, hydraulics, actuators and extremely complicated software. Robots were moving on their own with vision tracking software. The game is so much more complex and really engaged us.
We also met so many different teams from schools all around the world. We met with the Chapin team and even began to consider collaboration. From these extremely experienced and advanced teams, we learned how to even better our own team, specifically in fundraising. Several teams had partners with companies including Bloomberg, Con Edison, NASA, Google and many more. We also got to talk first hand with extremely qualified mentors who gave us insight on the world of engineering and STEM outside of robotics competitions. Because of people like them, teams are able to compete on a national level at world championships held in Detroit.
The competition also featured a mini college fair with several tech-centered institutions. Each college had its own mini booths with representatives we were able to talk to. They explained to us what their college had to offer and allowed us to establish connections with them.