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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Robotics gears up for another season

Robotics continues to become more challenging every year. Last year the robot was asked to shoot frisbees into high goals and climb a metal structure. 
This year’s challenge, called aerial assist, is a combination of volleyball, football and soccer. The game is played on a 25×54 -foot field with 2-foot diameter exercise balls with the goals located on either end of the field with two on the ground, worth one point, and two more seven feet above the ground, worth 10 points. There is also a truss that spans the center of the field and by throwing it over the truss teams gain 10 points and if a team member can catch the thrown ball, it earns an additional 10 points. 
“This year’s challenge is much more intense than previous years,” M-SET vice president Kabir Manghnani said. “The game requires teams to be able to do multiple things instead of being excellent in one aspect of their robot.”
The game is played with two alliances composed of three teams each. Throughout the game, passing to teammates adds a score bonus, making cooperation between teams and their robots crucial to the game.
“This year's challenge makes it significantly harder for one team to win just from their robot and driving skill,” senior club president Mihir Iyer said. “In order to win, even the best teams will have to rely on their alliance partners to score a good chunk of the points.”
M-SET’s members have six weeks to design, build and test a robot that they feel will accomplish the task in the most effective manner. After those six weeks, there is another six weeks of competition. 
The team is planning on competing in two events this season. The first competition they will be attending the central valley regional in Madera and it will be held on the second week of competition, March 7-9. Although the team usually competes at the Silicon valley regional, this year they have chose to compete at the Colorado Regional in Denver on the sixth week of competition, April 3-5. 
In the past few weeks the team has prototyped and nailed down a rough idea of what their robot will look like as they proceed into designing the robot. 
Iyer has said that the team is in the process of transitioning away from prototyping and have started constructing their robot in a 3D computer aided design software called Solidworks. Members’ goal is to finish a week early in their six-week build schedule to allow for drivers’ practice and fine tuning.
“We feel confident that our schedule will help maximize our effectiveness this season,” Manghnani said. “This year we hope to do better than ever before.”
 
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