Robotics: Day Four Hundred Billion

Friday, March 23

Holy, holy smokes. People had warned me that actual robotics competitions are brutal, but no one told me to take whatever my idea was and septuple it. We left at 8pm on Wednesday. Got in at about midnight, and then were at load-in by 7:45am and didn’t leave until they kicked us out at 8pm. We needed a certain connecter, so I walked clear across the UC Davis campus and back to buy it while Jenna stayed behind. She is our volunteer mentor person from a company we’re not allowed to name as a sponsor because they support like all the teams? So they don’t want anyone to know they support any team? I have no idea, but anyway she’s another adult who is able to supervise the kids while I’m off resolving all the crises they foment.

After 12 hours of work yesterday, the bot still didn’t work AND was 5lbs 6oz too heavy. So we started chopping bits off and officially got it down to 119lbs 7oz by 8:30 this morning. So, once it was able to pass inspection we got to try to make it work. Our first qualifying round we sent a human representative to stand in our spot and make sure we didn’t get penalized for skipping. The second qualifying round we were able to get the bot down to the arena, but it didn’t go anywhere. The third qualifying round we had the bot at the arena AND it moved forward! For about 30 seconds! Then a connection broke and it sat in a corner for the entire rest of the round. But! Robot moved! Forward! And we have already fixed the connection and started fixing the next piece to maybe get a robot that can do something besides move forward.

However! I am so incredibly happy that our robot was able to go! The students are being pretty hard on themselves in terms of it not going well enough, but the fact that we went from a very heavy paperweight to a robot we can drive around is pretty wonderful. You gotta celebrate the small successes. For instance, I am still awake and not yelling at anyone. I call that a major success, actually.


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