Robotics’ Build Season


Ivan Lacroix

The Sciborgs Team work on building their robot for their upcoming competition.

Throughout the Spring of 2018, the Bronx Science Robotics teams, the Sciborgs and the Fe (Iron)Maidens, are preparing themselves for the highly competitive First Robotics Competition(FRC). “At the moment, the best that we can do is to speculate on what type of devices we may want to use on our robot at the time of competition (Driving Rig, Sensors, Control Scheme, etc.). Once the challenge is announced, an entire group for strategy and design will work to decide how to approach the task ahead,” Kenneth Humphries ’18, a veteran in the programming department for Sciborgs, said.

With new members, directors, and theme of this year’s FRC, First Power Up, the robotics teams are determined to climb up the league rankings and snag the championship title this year.

The FeMaidens and Sciborgs team, ending up as quarterfinalists and semifinalists respectively last year, are dedicating the winter 2017-2018 build season to improve the teams for this year’s competition.

The Sciborgs and FeMaidens Team of Bronx Science have had some amazing achievements throughout the years. However, each team has their own tips and tricks to prepare for the new build season. 

Ivan Lacroix
Members of The FeMaiden Team work on their robot for the upcoming competition.

The FeMaidens is a branch of Robotics that celebrates girls pursuing the STEM curriculum. It gives opportunities to girls who want to either explore or pursue STEM fields outside of Sciborgs, which is historically a male-dominated field in academic and the corporate world. Just like the Sciborgs team, these girls are also determined to assemble a strong team for the competition. “The coordinators are teaching the new members everything that they’ll need to know for their role in building the robot, while veterans are constantly researching new things that can be implemented on next year’s robot,” Marisa Wong ’19 said.

Their achievements are outstanding, including a recent feature story by the PBS Indie Lens Storycast. It highlights the journey and experience of the directors from last year, and it’s truly fascinating.

The majority of the FeMaidens team wanted to improve on last year by investing in more materials. “This year, I want to have more complicated mechanism, better transmission and better drive trains,” Megan Ngo ’19, head of the programming department for FeMaidens, said.

Last year, the Sciborgs team finished as strong semifinalists, and received the Innovation in Control Award. Of course, that only motivates them to aim higher and work harder this year.

As the preseason continues, they continue to polish their current team so they can construct a stronger robot for the competition. Unlike the FeMaidens team, the Sciborgs team are currently focusing on training the rookies so they can familiarize themselves with the environment.

A key factor that motivates the teams to reach to the top is the friendly atmosphere and the support of their peers.

To most people, robotics appears to be a complicated extracurricular requiring much background knowledge in coding and engineering. All of the intricate mechanisms seem rather alien to outsiders. However, to most of the members, this does not seem to be the case. Many of the students who decided to join the team shared no prior experience in coding or building a robot; they simply joined for fun. “I hoped to gain knowledge on programming, because I find it interesting how you can code a machine and essentially give it life,” Tiffany Chen ’19, a new member of  the FeMaidens, said.

Furthermore, the directors are excited to train the incoming rookies and to build on their skills. Both teams provide a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all. According to the members, this warm atmosphere encourages the team members to build their robot.

I hoped to gain knowledge on programming, because I find it interesting how you can code a machine and essentially give it life.”

In April 2018, both teams will have to face off their final challenge of the year, to win in the FRC. For some, it will be their last competition, and for others, it will be their first. Regardless of experience , it will be a life changing and cherished event for every member.