As we arrived at APIS(Asia Pacific International School) to prepare for the VEX robotics tournament packed our robots, parts and more, we were excited to go the competition, along with being curious on how it would be interesting to try out our robot in the actual competition. Little did we know that this competition would be a lot more competitive than we had ever expected in the first place.
|[Our team robot by the end of the competition]|
The VEX robotics competition is an annual robotics competition sponsored by VEX that takes place every February in South Korea, whereas the main competition in actually held in the United States. It took place on February 3rd at Chadwick International School, and two teams from our school competed with twenty other teams in a tournament that determined our overall rankings.
My team did not have big hopes for the competition because we were only able to work on the robot for two months instead of the given 10 months. Also, most of the teams had three or more members, whereas ours had two. Along with that, we were mainly focused on having fun, and not being competitive this competition. In contrast, other teams bought the VEX arena to practice at home, were fully supported by their parents, and had all of the VEX supplies that they would ever need.
|[A sample “in the zone” VEX match]|
The competition was very abundant when it came to the amount of available knowledge. The extremely competitive teams, most of which were from Chadwick, had their robots displayed along with basic information about the functions and design of their robots. All teams had engineering notebooks, which contained detailed notes of daily progress while making the robot, and even miscellaneous information regarding the robots, such as their plan for the programming of the robot, along with the rules of the VEX competition.
There were several rules for the competition, which was split into two parts. One was called “autonomous,” in which only the program for the robot was allowed for 15 seconds, and the other was called “tele-op,” in which the teams could control the robots. Each match had 4 teams. Two of each team make an “alliance” that worked together to stack cones for various amounts of points. Our robot was not made to lift the smaller cones, so we decided to lift the big cones. Moreover, our robot was unable to move properly during 3 of the 5 games we competed in, making us lose several games. After these qualifying matches, there was a tournament between the teams with the best teams during the qualifying matches. Alliances were made using a “draft pick.”
Although we were quite rustled by this development in the contest, we came out optimistic about the competition. After all, we did not have very high hopes for our contest because it was our first year in the competition. In fact, we planned on using this year as “back up experience” for our junior season in the competition. In comparison to us, who had just participated this year to gain experience, I noticed that other contestants were fully devoted to making the robot, to the point where they would buy parts, and even the entire arena just to do well in the competition. Even their parents seemed to be more competitive than our team.
This gave me a pondering thought, for I realized that it was the type of devotion some students had that would make me succeed in life.
Asia Pacific International School
Matthew Choi firstname.lastname@example.org
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