M-SET team finishes build season, begins competitions

March 30, 2017 — by Frederick Kim and Roland Shen

Although the robotic team did not perform in their top condition at the first regional tournament of the year, they set their eyes on the next regional tournament in Las Vegas.

The M-SET robotics team traveled to Sacramento for its first regional competition on March 22 after the end of the First Robotics Competition (FRC) build season.

For the preliminary round, the team won five out of the eight matches, allowing them to qualify for the elimination rounds.

Going into those rounds on March 24, the M-SET Fish were chosen by the seventh seeded team, Nuns and Bolts, for their alliance. They faced the second seeded team’s, the Deep Blue, alliance and lost, resulting in their elimination from the competition.

Though the team did not qualify for the World Championships in Houston or Sacramento, M-SET will participate in another regional competition on April 5 in Las Vegas and have the chance to qualify there. They would have to be part of the winning alliance in order to quality for the world championship.

Despite falling short of their ultimate goal in Sacramento, M-SET still viewed the event positively. The club’s adviser, Bob France, was recognized with the Woodie Flowers finalist award, an honor granted to well-respected advisers in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) organization.

France will be attending the World Championships on April 18-21 for a chance to win the Woodie Flowers award.

“We really want to qualify for the World Championship this year, especially because we went to Worlds in 2015,” said  sophomore Bassil Shama, a member of the software team. “I know that our team has the potential to get there. We just have to execute properly at the tournaments.”

This year, FIRST commissioned robotics teams around the country to build robots that could pick up balls that in turn act as “fuel” to power the bots.

After being picked up, the balls are to be thrown into containers near the sides of the court. In addition, the robots have to pick up gears and drop them off in the middle of the court. For a substantial challenge, the robots must be able to hang onto a rope in the middle of the court at the end of the match.

In order to do better in Vegas than they did in Sacramento, the team has been working on implementing a few changes. For example, the team has been improving the accuracy of the ball shooter and trying to write more efficient code.

“These changes are going to make our robot a lot more effective in the competitions,” Shama said. “We are all looking forward to a strong end to the competition season.”

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