Jan 262014

Groton-Dunstable Robotomies field testing a creationKaren Burnett

Groton-Dunstable Robotomies field testing a creation

The Groton-Dunstable Robotics Team (The Robotomies) are working anxiously to prepare for the annual FIRST Robotics New England Regional Competition in February. Founded in 1989, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has given students across the nation accessible programs that promote curiosity and provide career opportunities outside of the classroom.

The Groton-Dunstable Robotics Team has been part of FIRST for 12 years. Last year, the Robotomies made it all the way to the semifinals, where they were barely eliminated in a tense match. They also received the Innovation in Control Award presented by Rockwell, which recognized the team’s robot for its ingenious design and successful mechanics. Riding the momentum into this year’s challenge, The Robotomies hope to top last year’s performance with an even better showing and move on to the national competition.

This year’s competition theme, Aerial Assist, pits robots against each other as they attempt to pass a large, 2-foot wide exercise ball around the field and score by guiding it through opposing team’s goal. The Robotomies are fine tuning the catching, shooting, and passing components of their robot. With many different ideas in play, team members are working hard to prototype and experiment so that the most effective ideas will bring the team to victory.

The Robotomies will compete at the FIRST Granite State District Event in Nashua, New Hampshire from February 28 to March 1 and at the FIRST WPI District Event in Worcester, Massachusetts on March 13-14. The matches are open to the public, and they will present a fierce clash of engineering brilliance that you won’t want to miss.

FIRST President and founder Dean Kaman described his vision as: “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.” The FIRST Robotics Competition boasts a unique challenge every year in which they push competitors to get creative in their problem-solving techniques.

Check out www.team1277.org for the latest information on our progress. We would like to thank our sponsors: Mercury Systems; the Justin J. Maynard Memorial STEM Innovation Scholarship; National Defense Education Program; the Society for Military Engineers; Raytheon; and the Ted and Connie Lapres Fund at the Community for North Central Massachusetts Foundation.