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It’s not about the robot

Halsey Smith

Halsey Smith

The Robotics team wants to clear up one common misconception: they do not fight robots.

“Robots don’t fight,” Jack Lang ‘20 said. “It’s a lot more difficult than that [and] it takes a lot of work, more than you would think. You have to pick up gears and place gears and get balls and shoot balls, but yeah, robots don’t fight.”

Although the idea of fighting robots was what drew some members to the team at first, many were motivated by other aspects as well.

“I thought it was like BattleBots in the beginning, then I realized it’s not like BattleBots at all,” Nathan Strodtbeck ‘19. “I’m one of the only people in the school who can make websites so that’s part of the reason I came here.”

Members like Julius Herring ‘19 joined Robotics because of their fascination with robots, or Anton Ludwig’s ‘19 case, for the engineering aspect.

“I like engineering and I like building things so it’s all really interesting to me,” Ludwig said. “I built a drone at my house [last summer], they think I’m a total nerd for it but I think it’s cool.”

Another misconception the Robotics team would like to clear up: you don’t have to love engineering to join.

“One assumption is that everyone who builds robots is a nerd and one who knows all about electrical stuff but you don’t need to know much about robotics in order to do Robotics,” Herring said. “During a typical practice we’ll have some teams split up into different groups. One team will work on the robot and developing it [while] another group will work on some business aspect like creating t shirts or getting sponsors.”

“People think you have to be super smart to be on robotics and I would say everyone will have a place here if they tried it out,” Ludwig said. “Even if you don’t necessarily want to go into engineering it’s still a great experience to have.”

The Robotics is coached by Dr. Neubig and with the help of Dr. James Ludwig, and James Strodtbeck. Their theme steampunk so they have been incorporating gears and other features into their design.

Currently, the Robotics team is what Lang describes as “crunch time” where they have six weeks to build the robot, named Brock, to completion after kickoff, where they reveal the game.

During practices the team is split up into smaller teams, such as the Media, Scouting, while during competition they break up into Drive Team, Pick Crew, Coding and Electrical, Gear group, Ball group and the Climb group which are all the different tasks they must perform during competition.

“Drive team drives the robot, the Pick Crew fixes the robot if there’s anything broken. Media takes photos and posts on social media and Scouting collects data about other teams,” Strodtbeck said.

The Robotics members don’t only learn about the engineering and business aspects associated with the sport, but also important life lessons.

“[I learned] that you have to sometimes step back and let other people take control of things and not get upset about it,” Carlie Couzens ‘18 said.

“[I learned that] you can’t do it [robotics] without a team and everything’s easier as a team and everyone’s opinions always help.” Strodtbeck said.

As Herring described it “It’s not about the robot. It’s about the team who built it and as the team builds together they grow together with their friendship and teamwork.”

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