StoweBots to take on the World

13 March 2017

StoweBots2_1

On Thursday 23 of February our robotics team, the StoweBots attended the final Regional event of the year before the National Finals. Both teams did well at the event (although the Junior team had a striped back robot as their initial plan hadn’t fully come together) and made the play-off matches. In typical StoweBots fashion the team’s alliances faced each other in a semi-final match. The Junior team won the first game in the best of three semi-final match, but the Senior team fixed a slight issue that allowed them to then win the next two matches and progress to the Final, knocking out the Junior team. Unfortunately, the Seniors were not able to win the Final being hampered by some robot fatigue and a leaking pneumatic system.

However, this was one of four UK Regional events that had an Excellence Award on offer. This award is given to the team judged to have the best engineering logbook, sportsmanship, gameplay and overall final position from the day. The Excellence Award also carries an automatic qualification to the World Finals in Kentucky, USA. On the day it was a close call for the judges between our Senior team’s logbook and another team, with a fairly split decision between the judges. Fortunately the Senior team was awarded the Excellence Award and have gained direct entry to the World Finals. Only four Excellence Awards are available before the UK National Final. Another three teams will be awarded places from the 40 teams at the National Finals (seven in total from the UK). Currently there are a little over 250 teams competing in the UK, so to be one of four early qualifiers is an outstanding achievement.

Last year we narrowly scraped into the World Finals gaining one of the last available spots. At the 2016 World Finals we ranked about 250th of the 500 teams. We are hopeful that this year we can improve on this performance and place higher in the overall rankings. It is a tough competition and there are many challenges to overcome in order to compete at a National level let alone at the World Finals. The team continues to refine their robot in preparation for the National Finals held in Birmingham from 16-18 March; we will then have a month to prepare for the World Finals.

We are hoping to send a team of four Stoics to compete at the World Finals and are planning the trip and raising funds to travel to America in April. It is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils and any support would be welcome.

Paul Thompson, MiC Robots