Milo Robotics Team Attends Tournament

The Milo Adventist Academy robotics team traveled from Days Creek, Ore., to Sacramento, Calif., for a First Tech Challenge tournament April 12 and 13, 2018. The First Tech Challenge (FTC) tournament was hosted by Capitals Engineering, the Sacramento Adventist Academy (SAA) robotics team.

The FTC is a worldwide robotics high school competition to complete assigned tasks with robots. The FTC organization stresses “gracious professionalism,” which was on full display at this year's tournament.

The Milo team arrived early Thursday afternoon without a working robot. It was basically built, but not all the communication and programming worked due to lack of knowledge and experience. From the moment the team arrived, other teams and technical experts assisted them.

Among others, a design engineer from a competing team helped the Milo team design and build a manipulator arm. Another technical expert helped the team with programming. By 9 p.m. they had a functioning, elegant robot capable of completing most of the assigned tasks.

The team also discovered why safety glasses are required when working on the robots. (Safety is valued only slightly higher than “gracious professionalism”.) Sometimes when arms start swinging around with new programming code, hard metal parts can move quickly. Hands and faces had better be out of the way.

In the process of getting the arm to work without attacking the team members, it was discovered the arm could be used to make the robot do a wheelie. This turned out to be very helpful in climbing onto a raised platform, which was one of the tasks that earned the most points for the team.

The competition included eight teams from as far away as Florida. Incredibly, the Milo team finished the first five rounds in third place and was chosen to ally with the first-place team for the elimination rounds and the finals. In each match, four teams competed in two alliances — two teams vs. two teams. The SAA-Milo alliance made it through to the finals, in which they won the next two matches to claim victory.

The Milo team also won an award for engineering showing simplicity and functionality. Ahh … the blessings of not having enough time to make it complicated. While the Milo team performed very well, all agree they could not have accomplished as much without a great deal of help from other teams, technical experts and an enthusiastic, uplifting environment. We praise God and glorify Him for what He accomplished through the people around us and in us. Thank You, God.

Scott Harwood, Milo robotics team coach

Featured in: June 2018