Success in Robotics

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On our journey to the Student Robotics Competition finals at Southampton University, nerves were mounting. We would soon be competing against twenty-five other schools. Last minute preparations for the weekend saw some of our most intense work on the robot as we added final touches.

On arriving, we immediately rushed to the team pits to get to work. There was a tense atmosphere of panic, anticipation, and excitement. With other teams scattered around the building, the pressure was on to ensure robots were ready to go and any issues were ironed out. Finally, the time had come for league matches to begin and our robot to be put to the test.

Our sixteen matches were a rollercoaster of emotions as unexpected obstacles arose in the arena. We had the misery of watching our robot perform not quite as expected in the first few rounds, struggling to detect and pick up the cans around it. This forced us to think on our feet to find quick solutions before our next match would begin. It took three rounds before we managed to pick up our first can and manoeuvre our robot back to our scoring zone safely, but seeing our robot triumph for the first time gave us renewed motivation.

As the league progressed, our robot evolved and we changed the way we approached the challenge each match, altering not just the code controlling it, but also the physical body of the robot itself.

With improvements in place, we secured a streak of first place victories for four consecutive rounds. At this stage, the scoreboard was tight, leaving teams within mere points of each other. Thanks to our perseverance, we cemented a place for Hertswood in the top half of the leaderboard, earning our place in the qualifiers on the second day of the competition.

Despite the intensity of the qualifiers, our robot emerged victorious and progressed to the quarter finals. As a new team, we knew taking on the top teams would be a big challenge, and our robot put up a good fight, but sadly it was not enough to advance further.

We were gutted by the outcome, but still proud of ourselves for making it as far as we did, and managing to place second out of the ten other rookie teams that attended, while beating many teams who had competed in the competition in previous years.

We are extremely grateful to have had this opportunity to represent ourselves as well as Hertswood at such a large event. This was only possible thanks to the coming together of every person in the team, and of course the continued support of our subject teachers and the leadership team, who were and still are some of our biggest fans!

by Zak & Nyle (Year 12)