by Cate Waters
North and South’s LigerBot team traveled to St. Louis last week to compete in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics World Championship, Wednesday to Saturday. The team was not sure if they would be able to go to the competition, but once they were there, the robot placed in the top 50 teams out of 607 teams worldwide.Their ranking was based on the team’s average score, 164, according to senior Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO of the team.
The team qualified for the World Championship after winning the chairman’s award at the regional championship, ranking their robot tenth in New England.
The chairman’s award is “the most prestigious award FIRST has. It is given out to the team that best embodies what FIRST is about,” said Fitzpatrick.
At the World Championship, the team came in eighth out of the 75 teams in the “Newton Division,” named after the famous scientist. The team advanced to the quarterfinals and lost to the team that went on to become the world champions, according to Fitzpatrick.
The team had trouble finding a way to St. Louis, Missouri.Since the trip was such short notice, the busses approved by the school committee were unavailable. The team found another bus company that could take them to St. Louis but the school didn’t have enough time to approve the company.
Another issue that the team ran into was the cost of the trip.
“The School Committee’s rule prohibit us from driving through the night, so we will have to stay over in a hotel, which other teams avoid to save cost and time,” said junior Lily Gomberg, a member of the team.
The team members ended up taking their own cars to St. Louis and driving Tuesday morning to Wednesday afternoon. Each student paid $575 for the hotel and the competition entrance fee.
In the quarterfinals, “we formed the seventh of eight alliances with three other robots,” said senior Alexander Samaha, the CTO of the team. The teams competed three versus three until a group of three teams won.
Each alliance of three robots competed in a game called “recycle rush.” The alliances set up their robots on a court with the objective of stacking totes and containers and filling the containers with “litter” or pool noodles.
There was a scoring system that gave a value to stacking totes on each other and filling containers with litter.
The team was impressed with their performance and are looking forward to the future competitions.
“We have a very good shot at being invited to the Indiana Robotics Invitational. Invites go out to the top 75 teams in the world,” said Fitzpatrick.