The Sachem Aftershock Robotics team is poised for another successful competition season following two consecutive first-place finishes, captured during the FIRST Robotics Regional Long Island Competition sponsored by the School Business Partnerships of Long Island.
The team, composed of 117 male and female students from both Sachem High School East and North, worked countless hours honing its design, engineering and production skills in preparation for a grueling competition season, which began after the annual kickoff announcement Jan. 6.
Each offseason the student-engineers submit proposals for side projects to continue their work exploring multiple aspects of the engineering field. With help from the club advisers, students design and build worm drive transmissions and write software for vision systems, among other challenging projects. New additions to the team compete in two offseason competitions utilizing last year’s robot to become familiar with all aspects of the competition environment.
The robotics team provides an opportunity for students to explore the multifaceted engineering profession through the hands-on application of designs and ideas. Students engage in mechanical, electrical and software engineering with help from club advisers James Byrne, Andrew Cifuini and Robert Wentzel. Along the way students also receive key insights from Gary Dibicari, software advisor Jim Tripi, and new Sachem teacher and robotics team alumni Michael Lundstrom.
“Aftershock Robotics helps students gain confidence communicating their ideas,” Wentzel said. “Students create worldwide connections while working on a common goal.”
The FIRST Robotics Competition announces a different game each year with varying objectives the students’ creation must complete efficiently. This year’s game is called “Power Up.” Once the game for the year is named, the students spring into action, brainstorming and identifying the problem before developing subsystems to effectively accomplish the tasks.
This season the robotics team will be competing in two regional competitions. On Feb. 20 the students reach the end of the allotted build time for their robot. The robot is then crated and shipped off for the first competition of the season, the Palmetto Regional FIRST Robotics Competition on March 1 in South Carolina. Continuing the competition season, the team is aspiring to win its third consecutive Long Island Regional title on Apr. 12 at Hofstra University.
Upon winning either of the two regional competitions, the team gains admission to the worldwide FIRST Championship held April 25-28, at the Cobo Center in Detroit.