Titusville/Astronaut High team finishes 35, Satellite High finishes 28
By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE -- The Melbourne High School Robotics team, known as "Team Voltage," finished in second place at the South Florida Robotics Regional in Fort Lauderdale last month.
The competition, which was held during the last weekend of March, featured 46 robotics teams, comprised of two schools from Mexico, one from the Dominican Republic and other schools from Brevard County, including a combined team from Titusville and Astronaut high schools, as well as a team from Satellite High School.
The Melbourne High School Robotics Team No. 386 lost a hard-fought battle to SPAM Robotics Team No. 180 in the final match of the evening.
"I thought it was a great finish," said Okie Baughman, founder and mentor of the Melbourne High School team. "Team 180 had a robot that would easily out-score other teams. We defended it very well and kept the score close. Our team is very satisfied with the final results."
SPAM Team 180 is the defending world champion for robotics, so Mr. Baughman said the team was thrilled to compete and hold its own against a world-class team.
At this year's regional competition, the game played between competing teams was called "Ultimate Ascent," which is a game where robots use regulation Frisbees to score points, as well as climb a pyramid.
At the competition, the Titusville and Astronaut high school teams finished 35 and the Satellite High School team finished 28.
"This event is very fast-paced and amazing to see what high school students, with mentors and volunteers, can accomplish in just six weeks, with very complicated design requirements," Mr. Baughman said.
Mr. Baughman said the team designs the robot itself for the competitions, with minimal help from mentoring engineers.
"Each year, a new game requires a completely new robot (to be built) from the ground up," he said. "All the electrical, mechanical, software and drive is prototyped and reviewed by the students, who vote on what features they want on the robot. As engineers, we assist them in the design and manufacturer, but the students have to do the work. Most of our students have never held a wrench or worked with power tools before. They become very good at that by the end of the build season."