NASA administrator Charlie Bolden autographs part of the Lancaster High Eagle Robotics team's 2012 "X-1" robot held by team member John Graham as team member Regan Basham looks on during Bolden's visit to the Antelope Valley in late February. (NASA / Tom Tschida)› View Larger Image The Eagle Robotics team from Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Calif., and its alliance partners made it into the elimination round of the FIRST Robotics regional competition in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 16-18, but lost out by one point in the final match of the first round.
Described as "a very intense last match" on the team's Facebook page, the alliance lost 42 to 41 when the other three-team alliance was able to balance two of their robots on a tilting bridge, similar to a teeter-totter, to score 20 points in the final seconds of the 2-minute, 15-second match, and scored a two-point basketball dunk at the last second. The two alliances had split the first two matches.
Eagle Robotics team 399 had been ranked as the number one seed throughout most of the tournament on the basis of impressive wins in preliminary matches Friday and Saturday morning before entering the elimination round Saturday afternoon. The team had a 10-1 record at the event and was the highest scoring robot throughout the tournament, said team mentor and NASA Dryden engineer David Voracek.
Lancaster High School's robot, the X-1, shoots high and scores another basket at the San Diego FIRST regional. (David Voracek photo) › View Larger Image Despite the loss, the Eagle Robotics team was ranked highest out of 43 teams competing for the performance of its robot, nicknamed "X-1," at the conclusion of the tourney at Salt Lake City's Maverick Center. The team's alliance partners in the competition's elimination round also ranked high in the performance category: Team 1569 from Pocatello, Idaho was ranked fourth for its robot's performance, while team 2122 from Boise, Idaho, saw their robot given the second highest performance ranking, behind only Lancaster's team.
The Lancaster team also won awards for overall quality of construction and operation, and also was honored for the design and information on their team's website.
Lancaster High's Eagle Robotics team is one of three "house teams" co-sponsored by NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and numerous other civic and business entities. NASA Dryden also co-sponsors teams from Tehachapi and Antelope Valley High Schools.
Controllers of the Lancaster High Eagle Robotics team's "X-1" robot and their mentor are a study in concentration as they guide their robot during a match at a prior regional competition in San Diego. (David Voracek photo) › View Larger Image The Eagle Robotics team now moves on to it third regional competition March 22-24 in Denver, Colo. Tehachapi High's Cyber Penguins team will also be competing the same weekend in Seattle.
Sponsored by the FIRST organization – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology - the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) requires high school student teams to build and program robots under strict rules, limited resources, and specific time limits. These robots are required to perform certain tasks while competing against other robots from different teams.
The 2012 FRC game – Rebound Rumble – involves two three-team alliances competing on a 54 by 27-foot field similar to a small basketball court. The teams attempt to have their robots shoot as many basketballs into four hoops at each end of the court as they can during a 2-minute, 15-second match. The higher the hoop in which the basketball is scored, the more points the alliance receives. Additional points are awarded for scoring during a 15-second hybrid period at the beginning of each match when robots operate independently of driver inputs, and at the end when teams seek to balance one or two robots on the tilting bridges on either side of the court.
View video of the Lancaster and Antelope Valley high school robots demonstrating their capability to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition's "Rebound Rumble."