WHS Robotics Team Building on Debut
The team competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition, for the second straight year, next month.
A robot that throws plastic discs is being built at Westborough High School with aluminum.
Westborough High School FIRST Team 4048 is preparing for a FIRST Robotics Competition for the second straight year. This year’s contest is March 21 to March 23 at Boston University.
This year’s challenge is to build a robot to, for example, independently throw plastic discs – much like a pitching machine -- at a target.
Senior co-captain Ray Tong says last year’s experience “helps a lot.”
“I think it started very well this year. Everyone had all of these ideas for all these different parts. We had almost every part of the robot come with different ideas,” Tong said last week during a work session.
Senior co-captain Arthur Huang said this season began in October. Construction started in January.
Tong said designing and building the robot was the team’s biggest challenge.
“Another challenge was bringing everything together. We had so many ideas going around. So, trying to get a design down, getting all of our ideas together, was kind of hard,” Huang said.
Sponsors’ donations support the team, he said.
Lead mentor Louis Lung said this year's sponsors are NASA, JCPenney, F5 Networks, the Westborough Education Foundation and The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
In this year's challenge, "Frisbees can be picked up from the ground or from inbound stations where humans drop them via a chute. There are also 'pyramids' that the robot can climb at the end of the match to gain extra points," Lung explained.
"The game committee did a great job this year at making it extremely hard (impossible?) for one robot to do everything within the constraints (height, weight, extent/distance, etc). So teams must pick and choose what their robot will do and what it will not do. Our robot will throw the discs from a device that resembles a pitching machine. We've tested it to over 40 ft. We can score at 36 feet. We will receive disks only from a human inbound station (not picking them up from the ground). And we will not climb the pyramid."
Ed Burdick, another of the community volunteers helping the students, said the team includes 20 to 25 students.
“They work together really well,” he said.
“And we have side teams. We have teams that are doing things like publications. The business side. The publicity side. And usually you have a lot of freshmen and sophomores who end up being helpers. The following year, they will step up to leadership, a few of them. “