By CHRIS EDENS
Team Warhorse is preparing for battle in their second year competing in the FIRST Robotics competition.
The Oologah robotics team has been working hard since this year’s game was announced Jan. 4. in a live NASA broadcast. The Oologah students started debating design plans the minute the game was revealed.
“We started coming up with ideas at the announcement. The light bulbs were going off right away,” Warhorse co-captain Trevor Perkins said.
Students receive a parts kit with motors, batteries, a control system, a PC, automation components and limited instruction.
Teams from around the world will be challenged this year in a game called “Aerial Assist.” Three team alliances will work together on a playing field passing, catching and scoring goals with two foot diameter balls in two and a half minute matches.
Teams can earn bonus points by passing the ball over an elevated truss in the center of the field. Team Warhorse wants to be good at every aspect of the game this year. They said versatility is the key to winning.
“If you aren’t versatile you won’t do well,” Perkins said. “You can get five times as many points from passing and assisting your alliance.”
Oologah qualified for nationals last year with a Rookie All Star award from the Fayetteville, Arkansas regional. Team Warhorse learned valuable lessons in their rookie season.
Students are required to stop work on their robots Feb.18. The machines must be crated for shipping to a regional contest.
Last year the students were going crazy wanting to practice with their robot after the stop date. This year they have a plan to avoid that problem.
The team is building two identical robots. One will be crated and one will be used for practice and testing the systems.
“We have a two robot strategy this year. It’s actually far less expensive to build a second robot than having to enter a second competition trying to qualify for nationals,” Oologah robotics advisor Danny Pruett said. “Instead of just 40 minutes at the competition, we can spend hours on our practice field preparing.”
The second robot will allow the students to trouble shoot problems with their machine and have fixes in place before they leave for regionals. Oologah plans on competing in Oklahoma City March 27-29.
“It’s our one shot this year,” Pruett said.