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MTA Robotics Team Competes

by Moshe Rosensweig ('14)

This past Sunday, January 26 was a long awaited date for the MTA Robotics team, the Lionotics, as it was the date of the qualifying rounds for the First Tech Challenge (FTC) competition.  Each year FTC releases a new challenge for robotics teams across the country to complete. The challenge is in the form of a game, and at all events, each robot is paired with an alliance partner at random, and plays against another alliance, also composed of two randomly selected robots. The game this year was called "Block Party" which, as the name suggests, involved picking up blocks, and scoring them into goals, among other tasks to complete. The Lionotics team worked tirelessly from September, when this year's game was released, until this past Sunday to make the best Robot we could. The team met every Sunday, often for over 5 hours, building the robot, and as Sunday the 26th drew nearer, the team met even more frequently than just on Sundays. Finally the day came, and the team members woke early to get to the Benjamin Banneker School in Brooklyn by 8:00 AM where the Robotics competition was scheduled to take

The first event of the competition was the various inspections and judging of both the robot and the team's qualification to compete. Among other things, FTC looks for teams' expression of "gracious professionalism" which is their way of saying "middos". It made us feel comfortable knowing that the League has such values. After the inspections, we started to compete. We won our first round, tied our second round, and won our third round, but the third round was a scrimmage round so it didn't count. At one point we were placed third in the standings. As time went on, the event fell further and further behind schedule. Eventually they called the event, and made this event a scrimmage instead of a qualifying round, meaning that it wouldn't count towards moving forward into championship rounds. This was a major disappointment to the team for several reasons. Primarily the team was disappointed, because this was the only event that would not take place on shabbat, and we hope that the rescheduled date will not be on shabbat nor on yom tov.Additionally by the time the event was called, we were in 7th place, and the only team in the top ten which had not yet played a third round. We had a very hopeful chance of winning this event and we are sad that the Competition was called. However, we did make many alterations to the robot on game day, which helped us do better in each round we competed in. Our best features were the autonomous period, in which we we able to score 20 points, and our flag lifter that got us an additional 35 points.

We would would like to thank our coach Reuven Levy, who tirelessly devoted himself to our team putting in the same hours we put in, even on days off and after work. Without Reuven, our team would not have been able to accomplish all that it has in the past two years. We also would like to thank Dr. Taylor for his support of the team, and for showing up to our lengthy events. With the help of Hashem we look forward to improving our robot and competing in future rounds.