Maharishi School is not new to robotics as this is their sixth year participating in the First Tech Challenge. This year’s team has eight members, five of whom are participating for the first time, and two of which have been participating for three previous years. In terms of skills and interest, this may be the most diverse robotics team in Maharishi School’s history, with over five countries represented. With the guidance of our experienced mentors and returning members, as well as the novel ideas of our new members, we strive for innovative and effective solutions to the problems presented to us.
Fundraising and Outreach with COVID
During the lockdown, the team has come up with various ways to fundraise and spread information about our robotics team. Through a new Instagram account, and the help of our local businesses, our team was able to financially support our innovations.
The programming team has been leveraging the use of Vuforia** technology to detect rings, a new addition to our team̗’s skill set and robot̗’s capabilities˼ We are also increasingly mindful of optimizing the driving experience and have devoted a lot of time towards significantly reducing the precision and number of controller movements required to complete tasks such as launching rings and placing wobble goals.
The most demanding and new task for the design team this year has, by far, been the in-taking and launching of the rings. Our answers to these criteria were an intake ramp and a hopper with a fly-wheel powered launch ramp. Difficulties mainly arose around efforts to maximize effectiveness and efficiency as well as minimizing complexity, given the complications of building with new materials and mechanisms. Successful construction was owed to a balance of practical and systematic engineering methods, along with communication within the team, particularly with programming.
Who’s on the team?
Budhil Thijm- Engineering Notebook Supervisor
As a senior at Maharishi school participating in my first year of robotics and possibly my last, I hope to do the best I can with my team. As the future progresses I believe robotics and automation will benefit all of us depending on how it is used and learning about it, I hope to be capable of being involved in that future.
Dominic Magnus Dupoux- Fundraiser and Calculator
Being a junior in my second year of robotics, I hope to take on responsibilities and go out of my comfort zone so that I might help lead the team next year. I worked as the head of fundraising initially as well as in design and construction, particularly in calculations, hoping to approach design in a more systematic way. My strengths are my attention to detail, creativity, and focus.
Ishitia Paras Mukadam- Junior Programmer
As my first year in robotics, I truly wanted to learn the basics in this field, especially the programming side of it and how it worked alongside the mechanics, so I can use that knowledge in the future. I loved being there and learning the process of connecting the dots between the code and the robot. The main thing I learned is to be patient and persevere through the challenges. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will continue to be a part of this robotics journey throughout my years of high school.
Miles Christopher Siemsen- CAD Master
I joined robotics in search of developing new skills and finding other ways I could work with a team. It has been a great experience this year in learning the basics of coding in java as well as learning how to almost replicate the robot my team has built-in CAD. My strengths are that I’m a fast learner, persistent, and cooperative in a group.
Saraswati Paz Quevedo-Valls- Business Chef
I joined the robotics team to get out of my comfort zone and learn a variety of new skills. As the season is coming to an end, I can say that I have learned a lot since joining the team. Before joining, I was unable to even screw and tighten screws. As well as better communication skills, as I worked a lot on fundraising˼
Shristi Sharma- Senior Programmer
I love learning new technologies such as programming mecanum wheels, experimenting with Vuforia, and creating driver enhancements. In my last robotics season, I’m optimistic about the team’s future and have been working with our fantastic members to help them take on the programming portion of the challenge for future years. My strengths are my ability to be organized and collaborative.
Skylar Anthony Halley- Head of Design
As a senior in my third year in FTC, this year my goals have been to help design mechanisms for the robot that will allow us to succeed at each element of the task as well as share some of my knowledge to help prepare future teams after I graduate.
Yeabtsega Woubishet Taffesse- Public Relations
I joined the robotics team because I was always interested in engineering and coding. Once I joined the team I realized that I like being involved in the community so I specifically focused on reaching out to people to talk about the robotics team. Before joining the robotics club, I was not aware of the process of making a robot. I have worked on the base of the robot-like the wheels and the motor part of it. I also worked with fundraising and that helped me build up my communication skills.
Fundraising Goals and Efforts
Our fundraising goal this year was to fundraise ̥2000 to put towards our robot. In an effort to do so, we made a list of 38 target companies that we would like to contact for donations. We contacted each of these companies by either calling or emailing in an effort to fundraise money. After contacting all of our target companies, we spent a couple of hours driving to local businesses to get more donations.
When contacting companies or speaking to the managers of our town’s local businesses, we made sure to include what a robotics team is, what we were working towards, and what we would use the money for. If the companies we emailed did not respond, we respectfully sent a follow-up email. So far this season we have been able to raise 1803, which is 197 away from our season fundraising goal.
This year was the last season for three of our robotics team members as they will be graduating. Two of the soon-to-be graduates have been doing robotics their whole high school careers and are the head of our robotics team. The three seniors have been taking this season to not only work on our robot but to teach all of the members who will be here next year.
Our head coder, Shristi, has been working closely with a freshman who is very interested in coding, Ishita. For the whole season, they have been working side by side on the coding elements of our competition. Another soon-to-be graduate, Skylar has been making sure to educate and teach us his thought process and skills he uses when building the robot. I have been working with him alongside Dominic, Miles, and Yeabstega. They take every opportunity they get to let us in on their past experiences and knowledge they have gained from their years in the robotics team.
Recruiting New Members
At the beginning of each quarter at our school, teachers have the chance to advertise their clubs to students. During the first quarter, the robotics club takes the opportunity and advertises the club to high school students. When we present, we explain all the aspects of robotics such as fundraising, to show how much thought is in the club. As well as pictures of past robots and competitions. We make it clear that you don’t need any experience to join the club, to not limit the students. As someone who has only been doing robotics for less than a year and is fairly new, I think that the team does a good job of teaching and making new teammates feel welcome.
To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.
**Vuforia is an augmented reality software development kit for mobile devices that enables the creation of augmented reality applications. It uses computer vision technology to recognize and track planar images and 3D objects in real-time.