Keeping things simple - a key to success!

Alex '15 competed in his first botball tournament last weekend. Peddie's was the only undefeated team in the double elimination and came in second overall. The team also won the Overall Judges' Choice trophy.


This year was my first year in the robotics program. I have been interested in participating since I was a freshman but was never able to fit it into my schedule until now, my junior year. I took the course the full three terms and learned not only how to code and build robots but also the important lesson of keeping things as simple as possible.

The class in the spring term was devoted solely to Botball and creating a robot from scratch to participate in the tournament. We were given the parts, a scoring sheet, and a table to practice on and were allowed to go about scoring as we liked. Mr. Patt, with his years of experience both teaching robotics and coaching teams at Botball, gave us advice as we built but building the robots was left largely to our imaginations.

On Saturday May 12th we left for the Botball tournament. The tournament was split into two sections; the solo or seeding round, and the head-to-head round. In the solo round each team had the opportunity to run their robots alone and un-interrupted on the board in order to score their maximum amount of points. The goal in head-to-head was the same but this time there were two teams on the board, one on each side. 

We were divided into two groups; part of the class focused mostly on the solo part of the competition while the other part focused on head-to-head, myself included. The objective of my robot was not only to score 30 points, but also to cross over onto the other team’s side in order to interfere with their robots. 

I kept my robot as simple as possible, using only a single motor and a servo to accomplish both tasks. Our simple design and plan of action paid off at the tournament; I ran with two other robots on my team at the same time which together scored a another 22 points as I drove though the center bringing our total up to 52 points against the 5 points given to the other team. Our team won the head-to-head portion and took second overall, as well as winning the judge’s choice trophy. 

Robotics this year has been overall a rewarding experience and has solidified my interest in both the mechanical and coding aspect of building and running robots. I am glad that I decided to take the class this year and cannot wait to partake in Botball 2015 next spring!

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