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Nashoba FIRST competing in Boston.

Byline: Kathryn Angevine

BOLTON - The Nashoba Robotics robot for the 2012 season of FIRST Robotics is designed, built, programmed and sealed in its special bag, waiting patiently for its debut at the FIRST Robotics Boston Regional Competition this weekend.

Team 1768, like all FIRST teams across the country, finished its robot on Tuesday, Feb. 21, ending the six-week build season. Starting at the kick-off on Jan. 7, when the game Rebound Rumble was revealed, Nashoba team members have lived and breathed robotics, brainstorming, designing, redesigning, building, testing, repairing, and programming. The result is an innovative and complex basketball-playing robot ready for the game of Rebound Rumble.

Team 1768 set out to build a nimble robot with an accurate shooter, and members think they have done just that. The drive and shooter performance during testing has the team hopeful and anxious for the competition.

"Our mecanum drive should make us highly maneuverable in the offensive zone, and our shooter looks really accurate," said sophomore Josh Bricknell, the head of Nashoba's Computer Aided Design group. "Hopefully, we can get the ball and score some baskets."

Gyroscopes, IR sensors and a vision system give the robot numerous ways to sense its position on the field, locate the basket and find the shooting range. From there, the control system can automatically align the robot to the basket and shoot the ball with the right trajectory. Programmers of Team 1768 worked to develop code that will allow the robot to score points, even during the hybrid period at the beginning of each match, where the robot cannot be controlled by a driver.

"Being able to write a program and then watch the robot execute the commands is incredible," said junior Sam Kirschbaum, the team's head of programming. "We've worked through lots of bugs. I can't wait to see if we can perform on the field."

On March 23 and 24, Team 1768 will unbag and untag its robot at the Boston Regional Competition at the Agganis Arena. Those at Nashoba Robotics are eager for all to see their 2012 robot, and are hopeful that those in the community will come support the team at the competition.

How many points will Team 1768 score? Will the autonomous code work? Will the team receive any awards like they did last year?

Join Nashoba Robotics at its competition to see if if will move on from the regional competition, and travel to St. Louis, Mo., to participate in the National competition, like the team did in 2010.

To many students and mentors, robotics is more than just an extracurricular activity. From kick-off to the end of competition, it is a lifestyle. Nashoba Robotics has been lucky enough to have such generous sponsors to allow the team to thrive. Special thanks to Raytheon, Bose, Caliper Life Sciences, Delta Equity, Dentistry by David, Fay, Spofford and Thorndike, E.T. & L. Corp, Clear Summit, MA Coalition of Police Local 203, Clinton Savings Bank, Pam and Matt Carpenter, Alice Joshi, Collings Foundation, Juniper, F5, Bestway New England, DF Murphy Ins. Agency, Joanne Marian DMD, Bolton Family Medicine, William R Southworth DMD, Alan Levin III, Advanced Mechanical Systems, Stowaway Golf Course, Whitney Bros Oil, ViablePC, Brian Burke Law Offices, Wright Touch Massage for Health and BJ's.

For more information about the competition, visit www.bostonfirst.org. For more information about the Nashoba Robotics Team, visit www.nashobarobotics.org.

Kathryn Angevine is a student member of the Nashoba FIRST team.

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Nashoba's FIRST robot for the 2012 competition season.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Mar 23, 2012
Words:587
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