Ojai Valley School’s high school robotics teams launched their fall competitive season this past weekend with the more experienced of the two squads placing first out of 15 teams from across the Southern California region.
“Both teams learned a lot and took a lot of notes, and hopefully we will be more competitive as we progress through the season,” said coach Chris Westcott during Monday’s morning announcements at Upper Campus. “We had really good programming, and we were one of the only teams that already had an autonomous program laid out for the season.”
Seventeen students have been preparing since mid-September to compete in the Greater Los Angeles FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a series of competitions aimed at teaching students the value of hard work, innovation, collaboration, and problem solving in robotics. The OVS students, who are divided into two teams, Spudnik and Spudbot, traveled to Los Angeles on Saturday for the first of four robotics contests.
The first competition, called Meet Zero, is not scored or factored into the overall rankings for the season. But it gives teams an opportunity to trouble-shoot their systems —
and scout the competition. The second competition will be held in two weeks on December 2 at Marlborough School in Los Angeles.
Competitive robotics is gaining popularity with 24 countries now participating globally. Those teams are presented with a common challenge and rules in September, and then given several weeks to organize, strategize, order equipment, and build their robots. This year, the challenge involves, among other things, programming a robot to capture, manipulate, and move various objects in a confined space with points awarded for different processes. Students also will be required to present their engineer notebooks, and, in between matches, participate in interviews and potentially gain points by promoting robotics and mentoring other competitors.
See more photos here: Robotics competition photos