Robotics opens up year in San Diego


Kevin Park, staff writer & Pasha Farmanara, web co-editor-in-chief

The Beverly Robotics team, MorTorq, competed in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) in San Diego from March 7-9, in their first competition of the year.

FRC is an extensive competitive showcase where high school robotic teams from all over the world come to participate with robots they developed by themselves. Each year, according to FIRST’s website the competition brings more than 58,000 students to the regional competitions held across the United States.

This year’s challenge was called “Ultimate Ascent” and required robots to pick up frisbees and throw them. Each two minute and 15 second-long game ended with the machines climbing as high as possible onto a runged pyramid.

The team began the weekend making adjustments to the robot in order to pass inspection, but these very adjustments proved fatal later on.

“Once we finally passed inspection, we slowly realized that we made too many changes to our robot, and while we had very quality driving ability, a combination of silly mistakes overcomplexity, and time constraints killed our team,” build team captain Michael Simozar said.

The team performed lower than expected going into the competition, placing 36 out of the 60 teams.

“We were never doing poorly, just poorly by our standards. We were just about average with respect to the whole regional, and San Diego is one of the most difficult regionals,” Simozar said.

The team blames the result on its “mistakes in programming and forgetting to put in circuit breakers,” Simozar said.

Although the team underperformed during the competition, the members were able to use their time in San Diego to help modify their robot.

“Our team was able to complete almost all the changes to our robot and effectively diagnose problems that could arise in our L.A. Regionals,” build team member Camila Monchini said. “We are confident in our progress so far and we expect superior results over the next two weeks.”

The team is planning to prepare the entire team for competition, so that everyone in the team, including, knows what to expect and work.

“A large amount of talent was concentrated in the senior class this year. In turn, the leadership strived to make sure the underclassmen were trained and knowledgeable so that our team can flourish even when we graduate,” Robotics Manas Malik said.

The team’s next competition is the previously mentioned FIRST Los Angeles Regional at Long Beach which will take place March 21-23.