Long Valley Robotics team enjoying a successful season.

The Long Valley Robotics team, known as “Those Guys”, are enjoying their most successful season to date.  “Those Guys’’ includes Raahim Iftikhar, Alec Rybarski, Derek Jenkins (Juniors) and Shane Wojcicki, (sophomore) all at West Morris Central High School. The new addition is Wojcicki’s seventh grade brother, Kyle.

It is the fourth year for the team that designs, builds and programs a small robot to compete in the FIRST Technology Challenge competitions during the winter months. The robots perform in an alliance format against other teams using head-to-head sports model games. Qualifiers are named at a regional level throughout the year culminating in an international championship.

Each year the robots are built differently and created to perform different tasks in the competition. This year’s game is called “Rover Ruckus.”

The whole competition is based on the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon.

There is a lunar module where if you are hanging from it and you land on the ground in autonomous mode (a software program used for the first 30 seconds of the competition) than its 30 points. “Those Guys” have been able to do that very consistently every time.

The other thing is if you can latch onto that lunar module and pick yourself back up (in the final 30 seconds), that is another 50 points. Those Guys excelled all season in both of those aspects. Those were two critical things that helped all season.

The other method the team uses to score points is artificial intelligence to intelligently detect if a mineral (a playing field component) is a gold block or a white wiffle ball. Then the robot needs to react according by pushing only the gold blocks out of the way instead of the wiffle balls. Their robot has been very reliable in the intelligent detection and reaction.

The teams can do other things to add points including using a mechanism to collect objects called minerals and place them in designated areas for certain points.

“Those Guys’’ didn’t have much time to practice their mineral collection for their competition on 6 Jan in Emerson NJ, as they only got this mechanism working after midnight the night before the match, but the new mechanism worked well.

As summary of the season so far “Those Guys”:

Lenape Valley NJ on Nov 18th they won the Finalist Alliance and Highest Alliance Score

Chatham NJ on Dec 2nd they won the connect award 

Ambler PA on Dec 15 they also won the connect award as well as 2nd place for the control award

The connect award is a judged award is given to the team that most connects with their local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) community.

The Control Award celebrates a team that uses sensors and software to increase the robot’s functionality on the field. This award is given to the team that demonstrates innovative thinking in the control system to solve game challenges such as autonomous operation, improving mechanical systems with intelligent control, or using sensors to achieve better results on the field. T  

Emerson NJ on Jan 6th they won the Control Award as well being the winning Alliance.

Right now, “Those Guys” are ranked #2 out of 64 North Jersey teams!

They are now preparing for Feb. 16, 2019 at the Northwest NJ League Tournament.

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