On November 10-11th Penn Robotics attended Boiler Bot Battle at Purdue University. We competed against 32 FIRST teams in 2017’s game as a mock-up of the upcoming robotics season in January. We decided to enter two robots into the off-season event in hopes of involving more of the team members experience the potential jobs in competitions. At this event we learned a lot of useful lessons about ways to be more prepared and ready for the competitions. Many of the students on the team had not yet been to a competition, so BBB was the perfect place for everyone to try what they wanted to do such as driving or media/documentation.
It is arguable that one of the coolest parts of robotics is being one of the people that gets to actually drive the robot. As first-time drivers, Josefine Eskildsen and Amy Portolese experienced something very different from the rest of their teammates that were stationed in the pit and in the stands as scouts. Josefine described it as “being totally immersed in a world that consisted only of 6 robots and a complex field.” The rush of competing in the competition was very exhilarating and empowering knowing that your alliance is counting on you. Standing at the driver station, the experience of fellow drivers yelling and the clock counting down was very pressuring. Regardless of the stressful situation, the adrenaline rush of driving made it all worth it; the whole event was insanely fun and rewarding. The first few rounds of competition were quite uneventful as one of our robots decided it would rather spin in circles and burn a hole in the carpet than drive in a straight line. The programmers quickly figured out what was wrong and fixed the problem.
After a few more technical difficulties the robots were finally working properly, and the team was ready to give it their all. In the end, both robots made it to the elimination rounds, with one of them placing in second in the finals. Overall, the entire experience was very beneficial to Penn Robotics team, and they are ready to make the amends needed to have a great 2018 season.
Written by: Amy Portolese and Josefine Eskildsen