Robotics finishes as quarterfinalists

Team Sprocket achieves success amid technical difficulties in first match.


Victoria Artale

Robotics senior co-captain Kenneth Song assigns jobs during a club meeting to prepare for the First Robotics Competition Orange County Regional on Feb. 27.

Despite a rocky start, Team Sprocket came out of the annual Beach Blitz pre-season competition at Marina High School as quarter finalists with an 8-5 record. The team’s victorious first match set high standards for the rest of the year.  

“We didn’t go into the competition super confident and thinking we were going to win or anything,” robotics senior co-captain Kenneth Song said. “It was more about the experience this time around, since so many of our members were new.”

While most robotics teams spend the week before competition testing the robot, Sprocket was still rushing to build theirs, causing  mechanical problems later at last month’s competition.

“[A] major thing was that, in our third match of quarter finals, one of our tubes detached from the compressed air that affected the movement of the robot,” senior co-captain Jessica Yen said.  

Without the compressed air, the arm of the robot went up but no longer had the ability to bring itself back down. Because of this, the raised arm was unable to move the objects needed to score points in the match.  

“We did have some communication issues with our bot and its remote halfway through the competition, but for the most part we were able to kink those out,” Song said. “Our greatest accomplishment was getting autonomous routine, the portion of the match where the robot moves without any human control during a match, much better than it was at the end of last competition season.”

Team Sprocket plans to prevent these accidents from happening again by creating a checklist of the robot’s different parts to prevent any mechanical difficulties before each future match. The team came up with  the idea from other teams they spoke with during the competition. According to the captains, Sprocket’s newer members displayed impressive ability to adapt to the social part of the robotics community.

“I see a lot of potential in our new members, and I get really excited to see them learning and talking to other teams and exchanging numbers and creating friendships,” Yen said. “It not only shows that we are friendly, but it is an opportunity to learn from others.”

With building season approaching in a month, the team hopes to improve with every competition. Sprocket’s next regional competition will be the Orange County Regionals at the Orange County Fair and Event Center on Feb. 27.

“We are going to be on the grind, getting a lot more design and assembly practice in for our engineering members,” Yen said. “Beach Blitz has allowed us to figure out what we have to do in order to be more prepared for our next competition.”