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MORE Robotics Prepares for 2014 World Championship

April 1, 2014

MORE Robotics, Team 1714, kicked off the 2014 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition build season, in early January, upon the release of this year’s game, Aerial Assist. This year’s competition is played between two alliances of three teams. Each alliance competes by trying to score as many balls into their goals as possible during the two-minute and 30-second match. During the first ten seconds of the match, the robot runs autonomously based on programs written by the students and during the final two-minutes and 20-seconds the robot is driven by a teammate. The balls are approximately two feet in diameter like an exercise ball. Additional points are scored if the alliance partners can successfully pass the ball between teammates prior to scoring. The robots weigh up to 150 pounds and can be as large as 28 inches wide by 28 inches long by five feet tall. Teams are given just six weeks to design, build, prototype and program their robot to participate in the annual competition.

During the six week build season, the team built a robot able to shoot and score two balls during the autonomous period, one of the few robots able to accomplish this task during the competitions. During the student driven period, the team built a highly mobile robot with the ability to both pick loose balls off the ground and shoot the ball from as far as 18 feet from the goal.

The team’s efforts were well rewarded as the team competed in the Lake Superior Regional in Duluth, Minnesota from March 6th through 8th. The team won the Engineering Inspiration Award, the second highest honor bestowed upon teams at regional competitions, the Entrepreneurship Award and the Industrial Safety Award sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories. The Engineering Inspiration Award celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as their community. This award qualified the team for the World Championship. The Entrepreneurship Award celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit by recognizing a team that has developed the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage, and achieve team objectives. The Industrial Safety Award celebrates the team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.

The team then competed at the Wisconsin Regional at the U.S. Cellular Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from March 20th through March 22rd. The team won the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor bestowed upon teams at regional competitions, the Entrepreneurship Award and was an Industrial Safety Award runner-up. The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. This award also qualified the team for the World Championship.

The team’s robot performed having the second highest offensive power ranking (OPR) at the Lake Superior Regional and the tenth highest OPR at the Wisconsin Regional. Approximately 60 robots competed at each regional. Due to the high offensive output, the team was the third team picked as alliances were formed for the elimination rounds when teams vie for the regional winner, at both the regional events.

MORE Robotics was founded to give grade school and high school students who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM”) an opportunity to learn about careers in these areas and to encourage them to pursue careers in the science and engineering fields. The team targets students who attend schools in Southeastern Milwaukee County that do not have a robotics club and who do not have an opportunity to experience FIRST. The team encourages personal growth and promotes self-confidence and leadership skills in a team setting similar to school athletic programs. Students are challenged to do their best and are celebrated for their skills in robot designing, building, and competition while learning gracious professionalism.

The FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual competition that helps students discover the rewards and excitement of science, engineering, and technology. More than 67,000 students on 2,700 teams from throughout the world will take part in the annual competition, competing in nearly 100 events throughout the United States and Canada, all with the hope of qualifying for the World Championship in St. Louis in late April.

MORE Robotics is supported by local companies and universities. Sponsors include Hollow Steel, Ladish Foundation, Caterpillar, Siemens, Dedicated Computing, QuadTech, Rockwell Automation, Joy Global, Nucor, Symbiont, Renesas, Boyle Fredrickson, MSOE, PPG, MGIC, Vilter, American Acrylics USA LLC, and Thomas More High School. Additional information about MORE Robotics can be found by visiting the team website: www.morerobotics.org.

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