After six weeks of designing, building and testing its robot, Nutty 17, the Berlin FIRST Robotics team attended its first district competition March 3 and 4 at the Granite State New England District event in Windham, N.H.
Celebrating its 25th season, Berlin FIRST arrived with great anticipation of its robot performing up to its expectations, but spent a great deal of time repairing and improving the robot to make it more competitive.
It turned out to be a very frustrating competition for Berlin FIRST, which has had much success in recent years.
The round of qualification matches ended with the team awaiting its fate to see if it would be chosen to move onto the elimination rounds.
Berlin FIRST was chosen in the second round by the No. 8 alliance, Schrodinger’s Cat, a team out of Boston.
However, after two matches, the alliance was defeated and Berlin FIRST was eliminated from the competition.
The weekend could have ended there, but for Berlin FIRST, the most exciting part was still to come.
Throughout the competition a team of judges made up of engineers and educators roamed the pit floor interviewing teams for awards they would hand out later.
Students were questioned about team structure, finances, logistics, team sustainability and community involvement, among other categories.
Berlin FIRST was awarded the Engineering Inspiration Award, the second highest category a team can achieve at a district event.
The Engineering Inspiration Award celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s community.
The much-coveted award qualifies Berlin FIRST for the New England District Championship event, scheduled for April 11-14 in Boston.
Here is what the judges said about the Berlin FIRST team:
“If you have a parade or a summer camp, they will come. This team focuses on the here and how, balancing high tech and speed with MacGyver-type solutions using a measuring tape to keep things neat and orderly. They insure their future by sponsoring a summer camp for 76 future robotics members. Everyone on this team is a bit nutty and hands on.”
The Berlin FIRST Robotics team, also known as the Techno-Nuts, is led by Paul Griswold and Pamela Dennis. The team’s next competition will be at Fairfield University March 17-18.