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‘Coopertition’ helps robots, teams evolve

Ryan Couchon, Henry Loomis, Henri Laliberte, Craig Liang and Tucker Johnson control Aries at the ICC FIRST Robotics Scrimmage. (Photo by Colin Kealey-Swenson)1 / 2
Members of the Duluth East Daredevils, Team 2512, interview KAOTIC Robotics, Team 4539, Frazee, Minn., in the robot pits where they work on their robots. From left: Claira Allgood, Leah Abrahams, Luke Harma and Jacob Lormis (Photo by Colin Kealey-Swenson)2 / 2

Colin Kealey-Swenson

For the Budgeteer News

Even Robocop needed a test run.

Sixteen FIRST robotics teams from around the Northland went to Itasca Community College to adjust, complete and test their robots on Feb. 16, before the end of the six-week build period.

The teams made the robots for the game, “Aerial Assist,” a new “coopertition” game created by FIRST Robotics and announced earlier this year.

“Coopertition” is a term FIRST Robotics uses to describe the expectation that teams will compete against each other while also helping one another become better teams.

”The most helpful part of being at the scrimmage was the interaction of the students with other teams,” said Mark Schlangen, Two Harbors’ Rock Solid Robotics coach.

The event began with teams taking the field to test their robots’ mechanics and programs. Teams practiced picking up balls, shooting them over a truss and into goals, running their robots on preprogrammed instructions and passing the ball back and forth to each other. After lunch, the teams that had working robots were put into alliances to practice as a group.

Here’s how the game works: Six robotics teams are split into either the red or blue alliance, with three teams on each side. The robots compete on a field to put their team’s ball into one of four goals on their opponent’s end of the field. There are two low goals that earn the team one point if pushed through, and two high goals that earn the teams 10 points. Teams can score extra points by passing the ball to other robots or passing over a truss that spans the center of the field.

The scrimmage started out a little rough due to all of the rules not being fully enforced. There were no official referees and scorekeepers. Teams volunteered members to referee and keep score.

Soon, the coopertition was hard at work as teams coordinated plays with and against one another in a frantic effort to learn more about the game, the field and how to take advantage of the full court.

“It (the competition) helped us understand some of the major flaws in our robot and how we should fix them,” said Brad Knight of Rock Solid Robotics.

An award ceremony brought the event to an end. The Deepest Robot Award, which honors a robot that can do everything in the game, a feat won by KAOTIC Team 4539 from Frazee, Minn. The Gracious Professionalism Award was won by the Duluth East Daredevils Robotics Team 2512. Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA), Team 4009, received the award for the Most Unique robot, for being the only team to use a vacuum to pick up and move the ball.

Rock Solid Robotics, Team 4656, from Two Harbors, received the award for Electronics, which honors an efficient, effective and neat electronics design.

“I think that ICC was a very good idea. Most teams, when they go to regionals, they don’t know what to expect, and they’re generally not quite prepared for what’s coming. This has helped many teams prepare for these regionals,” Knight said.

All of the participating ICC teams will participate at one of the Duluth Regionals at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center March 6-8.