By McKenna MIDDLETON, intern
The robotics season has come to a close and the benefits of six weeks of hard work and dedication have been reaped.
The Clark Magnet High School robotics team recently competed at two regional competitions. The team did well at both the Long Beach Regional on March 20-22 and the Central Valley Regional in Madera on March 7-9.
Each FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) team had six weeks to create a fully functional robot to play that year’s game. The game at the recent competitions was Arial Assist, a robotic form of soccer. Team 696 from Clark, the Circuitbreakers, created a robot, which they named Snapdragon, that mastered all aspects of this year’s game.
Snapdragon made it to semi-finals, and eventually won the Industrial Design Award, sponsored by General Motors, at both events. Unfortunately, Team 696 will not move on to the championship event in St. Louis, but feels a strong sense of achievement nonetheless.
“At both events, our team was a model for other teams to follow. We had a clean, elegant design, with outstanding craftsmanship,” team president Saikiran Ramanan said.
The Circuitbreakers have been attending the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) since 2001, consistently improving design and execution each year. Although they usually compete in Long Beach, the Central Valley Regional was new ground for them, something that did not seem to faze them in the slightest.
“Personally, this has been the best year I have experienced in my four years as a member of Team 696. Each year we have improved and molded, and other teams have noticed that. It feels rewarding knowing that the work I put into the program ultimately benefits future team members and manifests in respect from other teams,” Ramanan said.
The robotics program at Clark has offered students the ability to expand their engineering abilities and grow in experience. As the team’s design and models have improved each year, there is little doubt that the Circuitbreakers will do just as well, if not better, at future competitions.