FIRST Robotics 2013: Astechz Team 2994

Let the games begin! That was the phrase heard by 1000’s of high school robotics teams across the globe January 5 as the 2013 FIRST robotics competition (FRC) was launched. From that point on, high school teams had 6 weeks to design, fabricate, program and test their robot based on competition criteria.

As a sponsor for the past 4 years to the Astechz Team 2994, Design 1st has seen its fair share of robots go from whiteboard sketch into the ring against competition. This year the competition game called “Ultimate Accent” was particularly challenging as the robot had to fire Frisbee's into thin slots and climb a 3 tier steel structure. A Demo of the game can be seen below:
During the Jam packed build season, Design 1st mentored the team on the design and build of the robot, while Mitel kindly donated their facilities to setup a replica field to practice. This past weekend the Astechz headed down to Toronto to compete in the regional competition against dozens of other teams from across Ontario. Making it to the Semi-Finals the Astechz impressed judges and other teams with both their enthusiasm and robot design. In particular the robots climbing design drew applause from both judges and other teams as they made the way up to the highest level on the steel structure, racking up 30 points in the process. A video of this amazing feat is below:

Of the 35 teams at the competition only the AsTechz and Team 114 the Simbotics were able to design mechanisms to climb the tower to the third level. With help from Design 1st mechanical engineering gurus John Kim and Matt Bailey, the Astechz devised a very creative way to make the climb. The climbing technique even impressed large robotic companies in the audience to drop by the Astechz booth and ask questions on how it was done!

Next stop for the Astechz team is another competition coming at the end of March in Toronto. In between now and the competition it will be practice, practice, practice at the Mitel facilities in order to perfect the remote control driving, Frisbee shooting and climbing! And as with all custom made mechanical devices, gadgets and robots there will be a fair bit of "tweaking" going on in the shop too!

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