CougarTech First Robotics Team #2228 began a new season with the reveal of the 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition, Destination: Deep Space. The team travelled to Spencerport to join over 30 teams from the Rochester area to watch the kickoff broadcast shown simultaneously to over 3000 teams around the world on January 5th. The teams are now scrambling to build their robots.
In this season’s game, teams must build a robot to load cargo balls, place hatches on a spaceship and get safely under cover before they are blasted by a sandstorm. In a new challenge added this year, the teams won’t be able to see their robots for the first few seconds of the game and will either have their robots run in a preprogramed mode or use machine vision to operate for the first 15 seconds.
CougarTech is composed of 40 HFL and RH students and 30 adult mentors working together in a business organization structure year round. Kick-off starts off 6 weeks of ‘build season’ where the team uses design concepts to come up with a proof of concept, prototype and ultimately build the competition robot. At the end of the 6 weeks all team must place the robot in a bag and zip-tie it closed until the competition. CougarTech usually attends two Regional Competitions. This year they compete at Finger Lakes Regional at RIT on March 14-16 and the Buckeye Regional in Cleveland. Winners of regional competitions and special awards are invited to the world competition in Detroit this April.
FIRST’s Vision as described by founder Dean Kamen is “To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.” CougarTech strives to empower participants with skills to organize, lead, think critically, and put the concepts of science and technology into action.
Most evenings during build season the robotics closet is unpacked and the halls and rooms of the high school near the shop and B Gym come alive with kids, mentors and their robots as they take over for the evening.