Robotics Competes at Brunswick Eruption

StuyPulse 694 recently celebrated a successful competition at Brunswick Eruption on November 9, the last contest of 2019.

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“Three… two… one… Go!”

Six robots, representing six different teams, are released from their holding stations. Through a remote control, senior, Director of Pneumatics, and driver Bryant Goh hurriedly rushes StuyPulse’s robot across the rectangular gray mat to one of the four rockets. The robot then proceeds to attach its circular disc to the hatch panel of the rocket before scrambling to the orange ball pits for its next task.

StuyPulse 694 recently celebrated a successful competition at Brunswick Eruption on November 9, the last contest of 2019. The team was a finalist, finishing in 11th place out of 40 teams. As an off-season exhibition competition, the Brunswick Eruption did not influence future contests, but gave the new leadership team an opportunity to assume their new responsibilities. “The junior and sophomore [students] last year, who are now juniors and seniors, lead the team [and] run the show. Even though they’re using last year’s robot, it’s a new group taking charge,” robotics coach Joseph Blay said.

The team used the robot they had developed earlier in the year named Alfred. This robot performed well in past competitions; it achieved third place at the New York Tech Valley Regionals, second place at the Central New York Regionals, and sixth place at the New York City Regionals.

Alfred’s defining design feature was its two lifts. One was used to raise and throw balls, while the other contained a suction cup that allowed the robot to lift itself up onto a platform. Though their robot had already been built and used for prior competitions, the team still spent the four weeks leading up to the competition preparing for the Brunswick Eruption.

During each round, team members controlled the robot remotely to perform various tasks. These tasks included raising balls, putting balls in slots, and trying to lift the robot onto a platform using a suction cup.

The team had a difficult start to the competition. Team 694 lost two of its six qualification matches, including its first match, and started out with a low ranking. However, they were able to work their way up to the final round by winning their two quarterfinal matches and their two semifinal matches. “They persevered; they kept working just as hard, kept a good attitude, even though we weren’t winning matches, and just kept on getting better and better throughout the day,” Blay said. “Sometimes you lose a match or two and you’re like, ‘Oh, what’s the point? Might as well try less hard’ or ‘I guess we’ll do okay.’ But no matter what was happening, they just kept cool, calm, and collected.”

Junior and Vice President of the Engineering Department Brianna Leung is proud of how the team performed and enjoys working with her fellow members. “The best part, besides the adrenaline that always accompanies such competitions, is always my team members. Being surrounded by such intelligent, funny humans all the time is a real blessing,” she said.

StuyPulse 694 is currently preparing for the 2020 season. All of the departments of the team are training new members so that they’ll be ready to build in January. “We’re currently planning on building a whole new robot for our future competitions at Palmatto in South Carolina, New York Regionals, and Hudson Valley Regionals,” Goh said.

Robotics Team 694 has three regional competitions to prepare for: the Palmetto Regional in South Carolina on February 28-29, the Hudson Valley Regionals on March 20-22, and the New York City Regionals on April 3-5. Winning their regional competitions will qualify them for world championships, which Blay remains optimistic about. “If we qualify at any of these three competitions, we qualify for the world championship in Detroit, which we’ve gone to for the last four years. It’ll be our fifth year if we qualify. Those are our big events, [so] those will really count,” he said.

Team 694 is also hoping to break new records. “Last year, we won the New York City Regionals, and that was our second year in a row, so we’re going for a three-peat this year, which no one’s ever done,” Blay said.

Goh is optimistic for next year’s robotics team as well. “[The] seniors have a lot of experience, and hopefully we’ll bring new things to the competition this year. We’ve been achieving more and more and building more complicated bots,” he said.

Overall, the robotics members and coaches are looking forward to the 2020 season and its competitions. “We are certainly excited to see what the new game brings,” Leung said.