Arcadia High School

Arcadia’s Robotics team gears up

Co-Captain Andrew O (left) and Member Eammon L

While most teams are only beginning to recruit new members, Arcadia’s Robotics Team is already preparing hard for its next competition.

Also known as the school’s Engineering and Design Development course, the Robotics Team is “a team devoted to the pursuing and promotion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said Co-Captain and senior, Aaron Togelang. In addition to competitions, the class also includes large engineering projects that focus on design, building, and teamwork, and is designed for students interested in pursuing a Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math (STEM) major.

Indeed, for junior William Wang, the team was an opportunity to explore “his interest in engineering,” but he also emphasized on it being “essentially a student-run class” that made it appealing for him.

Fundamental changes have been made to the team since the beginning of the school year. “We’ve changed the level of involvement from the seniors; there’s more training, more communication, and more work,” said Togelang, referring to the lack of effort from seniors last year. “Because of all this, we have been able to actually consistently be on schedule,” a marvelous achievement where in the world of engineering and constant technical problems, engineers tend to slack behind.

Currently, Robotics Team is working months ahead in preparation for the JPL Invention Challenge, which will take place Nov. 21. “This competition varies from year to year,” said Co-Captain senior Andrew Ortegaray, and for this upcoming year, the aim is to create “a device that can autonomously launch balls into goals from approximately a 20-feet distance.”

The entire team is split into three groups, each building its own device and forming ideas for the competition. For Wang’s group, it was a flywheel design combined with a revolver-like loading system. “We’re going to have four fairly large wheels arranged in stacks of two which will be attached some motors so that they spin fast enough to launch a roughly seven-inch diameter ball,” said Wang. “The robot is also supposed to launch all three with one trigger action, so we’re planning on having a revolver-like loading system for the balls, but arranged vertically so that the balls will drop down and roll with some initial speed into the flywheel.”

Wang noted, however, that all of it was in the prototype stage—meaning it is not yet the final product. Along the way, many mistakes will be made. “It can be challenging at times,” said Wang, “but in the end, it’s incredibly rewarding to build something with your team.”

Despite all the efforts put into building now, many of the members had aspiring goals. For Ortegaray, it “was to win the JPL Challenge and all the later competitions” and improve significantly from last year’s team. Others wished for a more keen understanding of their own craft.

For the team in general, however, Ortegaray had one phrase to describe it all—“I have nothing but high expectations.”