M-SET performs at national robotics competition

April 30, 2010 — by Anoop Galivanche

The school’s Mechanical Science and Engineering Club (M-SET) placed 50th out of 86 teams in their event at the international robotics championships in Atlanta on April 15-16. The success, which came as a pleasant surprise for the team, was particularly impressive as it was the first time the club had ever qualified for the championship.

“We did really well considering that this is the first year for the club,” said junior Cordell Hollingsworth, “not to mention we were competing against the best teams in the country.”

The 86 teams that competed represented the upper echelon of the robotics teams in the country and the world, coming from all over the United States as well as from Israel, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico.

The team’s robot, which used a manuevering system called OmniDrive, was designed to perform both offensively and defensively. It is this, Hollingsworth said, that gave the team an edge over competitors. It’s aesthetic appeal may not have been there, Hollingsworth notes, but it really didn’t matter.

“We were in nationals with what was essentially a robot drive train, but it worked,” Hollingsworth said.

Progress, the name of the team’s robot, and its opponents competed in a modified version of robot soccer, with three robots per team. Using OmniDrive, the robot was able to swiftly navigate the course, ultimately doing well. The robots were ranked based on how many goals were scored. The rank of each robot was determined by how many goals they scored, and which teams they beat.

Sophomore Rod Jafari, a team leader and one of the 13 members who opted to go, thought that going to the competition itself was a good experience.

“We got to know one another really well,” Jafari said. “I think that will help us next year because this is all about teamwork.”

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