Local robotics team competes at World Championships this week

  • Local Monadnock 4-H FIRST Robotics Team Inconceivable! will be traveling to Detroit, Michigan to compete in the World Championships. Courtesy photos

  • Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/23/2019 6:57:13 PM

The Monadnock 4-H Robotics team, which includes students from around the region, is competing in the World Championship in Detroit this week.

FIRST Robotics is a club in which students learn to program and build robots to perform specific tasks. Teams then come together to compete with their robots in games in which that specific task is key to winning.

“The program really gives a balanced variety of educational skills,” said team member and Mascenic Regional High School junior Emma Charland of New Ipswich. “Of course there’s the engineering, programming and robotics, but you’re also gaining skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, even writing.”

The Monadnock 4-H team, which goes by the name Team Inconceivable!, a reference to the film “The Princess Bride,” is participating this year in the “Deep Space” challenge. Their robot, following club tradition, is named “Valerie” after the wife of Miracle Max, a character in the film.

The playing field contains models of two rockets and a cargo ship. Teams program their robots to plug holes in the ship and rocket with “hatches” and then load them with cargo. A portion of the game, their view is obstructed, and players must either manually program their robot to work independently or rig a video system on the robot to direct it manually.

Cedric Wildes, 17, of Temple, who is the lead mechanic for the team, said this year the students lacked a mechanical mentor, and had to figure out what worked through trial and error – including metal bending and breaking under too much weight, and a powerful motor that sheared the gears off, problems the team had to solve themselves.

“It was a fun challenge, because even when you ask a mentor directly, you don’t have their experience, and you don’t really know what they’re talking about until you try it for yourself,” Cedric said.

Team Inconceivable! has participated in three district events and the New England District Championships. At each event, they advanced at least to the quarterfinals.

The team ended with a 19th place season finish, compared to all 64 teams across New England. The placement alone would have qualified them to attend the World Championships, the team also received the Engineering Award at the New England Championships, which automatically qualifies them for the next stage.

This won’t be the first time the team members have gone on to the highest level of competition. The team has qualified for the third time in four years, Cedric said.

It’s definitely a different scale than regional competitions, his sister, Sydney Wildes, 16, of Temple said.

“It’s ginormous. There a huge stadium, so many people, and multiple fields of play. You walk around and find kids from Israel or Australia. The energy is very exciting,” she said.

Team 1729 is composed of students from the Mascenic Regional, Mason, Conval Regional, Milford, Jaffrey-Rindge and Souhegan school districts.

World Championships is being in Detroit, Michigan April 24-27. For more information, visit www.team1729.org/.


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