Build Season Arrives for RoboRebels

James Cullinane

Walpole technology teacher Dustin Scott’s Walpole Robotics Team includes some of the school’s brightest minds doing what they love: building robots.  Each year, “FIRST”, the international robotics program with which Walpole is associated, announces over a widespread live broadcast what will be featured at this years annual competitions.  This announcement is of paramount importance, as Scott’s Robotics Team will immediately begin work on their robot according to the parameters of the game.  Considering their impressive track record in the robotics field, Walpole has shown an innate ability over the years to configure the perfect robot for any game.

This year’s “FIRST” challenge, commemorates its 25 year anniversary by assigning the difficult task of assembling the “FIRST” logo through use of a robot.  Entitled “Logo Motion”, this game will involve two customary rounds, one in which the robot is controlled by a driver, and another in which the robot will be placed in autonomous mode.  While in autonomous mode, the robot will run on programming alone, with no assistance from a driver.  As a bonus incentive, teams will allotted up to 30 points if their full size robot can produce a mini robot, which must then climb a ten foot pole.

Building such a small robot, which will need to be less than approximately 15 pounds, could be problematic for Scott’s RoboRebels, who are accustomed to building larger robots. While this task is daunting, no challenge appears beyond the realm of the “RoboRebels”.  Over the recent years, Walpole’s RoboRebels have mentored middle school students interested in robotics.  As they specialize in “Lego Robotics”, these budding engineers from both Bird and Johnson Middle School will be consulted by Mr. Scott and the RoboRebels in constructing this diminutive robot.

While the task of building a miniature robot is unusual, it is not something Scott has not dealt with before.  Only three years ago, a similar game was assigned by “FIRST” and the RoboRebels built an efficient robot in response.  With two major competitions on the schedule this year, the RoboRebels will look to modify and modernize their robot from three years ago.  The RoboRebels will look to complete their latest engineering masterpiece by March 3 for the Finger Lakes Regional Competition at Rochester Institute of Technology.  This will be followed by the Boston Regional at Boston University’s Agganis Arena from April 7-9.

With hard work and skill, the Rebels hope to leave both of these events victorious.  The RoboRebels have made a second home for themselves at the Plimpton School, where they race against time to complete the construction of their robots.  The Robotics Club has proven to improve the knowledge of Walpole’s young engineering minds and give these students a chance to experience the nature of their possible future occupations.  The dedicated RoboRebels will work endlessly in preparation for this year’s challenging game.