In its first tournament of the season, the Westfield Robotics Team, That Hertz, competed against 16 other New Jersey robotics teams at the FIRST Tech Challenge Robo-Ruckus on Sunday, Nov. 4 at Westfield High School. This year’s competition required student-built robots to complete such tasks as lifting themselves six inches in the air on a lander, collecting blocks and balls and placing them in specific spots, and other skilled challenges.
The Westfield Robotics Club, with 25 members and club advisor Westfield High School science teacher Mark Harper, has been the recipient in past years of multiple awards including the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for ingenuity and inventiveness, along with other honors recognizing teamwork and connections made to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) community. The robotics team has competed in regional and state competitions.
During each 2.5 minute round of the Robo-Ruckus Challenge, two teams compete against two other teams, earning points for each task completed. In the first 30 seconds, the robots operate in autonomous mode while in the last two minutes, the students “drive” the robot with a controller, directing it to move around the field completing tasks.
Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle visited the practice pits in the auxiliary gym where the teams set up tools and supplies for the daylong competition to learn about the robot-building process and the competition.
Student Outreach Coordinator Dori Kaplan says the Westfield Robotics Club welcomes individual and corporate donations as well as engineering mentors who can lead a master class or provide advice. The team receives no funding from Westfield High School; all funds must be raised by the team, according to Kaplan. The school district does provide funding for the school advisor and the high school allows the team to use the school for competitions and classrooms for meetings and robot storage.
The team welcomes outreach opportunities, and will be participating in local STEM nights at elementary and middle schools. For more information or interest in donating or mentoring the Westfield Robotics Club, please reach out to club advisor Mark Harper at email@example.com or student outreach coordinator Dori Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org.