Walpole Robotics Prepares for Worlds

The team’s 2022 robot, Hachiko, succeeds in early competitions


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Every year since 2003, the Walpole Robotics team has constructed a new robot to compete among New England’s best at competitions run by For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics. This year, the Timberwolves and their robot, Hachiko, have enjoyed great success, earning them spots in both the New England and World Championships later this month.

In January, the team received the game plan for this year’s competitions outlining the tasks their robot would have to perform in competitions beginning in Early March. In just two months, the team got together all of the subunits needed and programmed their robot to perform this year’s tasks including throwing cargo into both a high level and low level hub as well as climbing uneven bars. In order to bring a complex robot together in such a short time frame took passion, dedication and loyalty from the whole team, inspiring the robot’s name: Hachiko.

“Hachiko is named after the renowned Akita dog who waited everyday at the train station for his owner because his remarkable loyalty represents our team,” senior Angel Shah said.

In competitions, Hachiko has not yet let the Timberwolves down. In their first two qualifying competitions, Walpole was paired with the teams from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School and Tewksbury High School to form an alliance that competed in a series of 3v3 games. Much like any other sport, the goal is for the robots to score points throughout the 2:30 minute game. Robots must autonomously leave their starting tarmac and shoot the large cargo balls into a structure 10 feet tall before drivers can control the robots remotely. Within the teams of three, the objective is to continue to score as many points by shooting the cargo into the two scoring hubs while playing defense by pushing the other robots and blocking their shots, and climbing up the hanger bars in the final seconds of the game.

“The competitions are my favorite part of robotics because it is always fun meeting people from other teams and cheering on our robot,” Shah said.

So far, Hachiko has earned the team a strong tenth place ranking heading into the New England championships by placing second at both the North Shore Competition and Central Mass Competition in March. Additionally, the team received the Quality award at the Central Mass Competition, which according to FIRST, “celebrates machine robustness in both concept and fabrication.”

Now the team looks forward to competing at the Big E in Springfield in the New England District Championship April 14-16 and then traveling to Houston for the FIRST World Championships over April break. Although this is not the team’s first trip to compete on the world stage, this opportunity serves as an exciting culmination to Hachiko’s successful run this year.