Robotics Club’s New Robot


Seika Oelschig

Robotics team member working on the robot

Ian Hsiao, Science and Tech Writer

Each year, the robotics team partakes in a competition where different schools build a robot to complete specific tasks. The Pinewood robotics team will compete on March 17-19 at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco.

Schools who enter this competition are split into two alliances — red and blue — and their robots must complete an objective. This year’s objective is to pick up inflated cubes and solid cones. This is especially challenging because the cube is soft and light while the cone is hard and heavy. After picking up the cone or cube, the robot must bring it to a designated area. These tasks must be done within two minutes and thirty seconds.

“[For teams] to score more points at the end of the match is to have [their] robot and the other [team’s] robots . . . balance on a moving scale,” Steeg said.

Since the other team’s robot in your alliance could be way heavier or lighter than your own robot, it is very hard to balance on the scale. The first fifteen seconds of the competition are autonomous, meaning the robot must complete the task by itself using pre-programmed code; this proves to be an obstacle as the robot will not know where the cubes and cones will be. 

After hearing about this year’s competition, the robotics team has moved to the ideation phrase for the robot. However, since it is early in the competition and stealing ideas is common, they did not disclose any specific plans. The robot’s software is made by the coding team using C and C++, and they also use CAD — a computer-aided design used to create, modify or analyze a design, to design the robot itself. The robot will be built from aluminum and polycarbonate. 

Co-presidents Carolyn Steeg and Seika Oelschig are especially excited because a lot more members have joined robotics this year. Since they finally have more than 25 members, they can create sweatshirts, a blog, and an outreach program, and Oelschig is most excited about the outreach program.

“I’m looking forward to the outreach because it’s fun being able to have unity. . . it really builds [the sense that] this is a sports team and it is a sport. We’re putting so much time and work into this, and it’s nice having that kind of reputation in Pinewood,” Oelschig said.