The Kinetic Knights robotics team (Team 781) of Kincardine is ready to take on "Recycle Rush," the 2015 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics challenge.
The kick-off for the challenge was broadcast Saturday at the Bruce Power Training Centre in Kincardine. Joining the Kinetic Knights for the event, were the Cybergnomes of Clearview Township, south of Collingwood.
This year's challenge is a lot different than previous years which centred more on competitive sports games, such as basketball and frisbee, and involved a lot of robot-to-robot jousting.
The 2015 challenge is all about stacking totes and recycling bins, and then throwing litter (pool noodles) on the opponent's field. For a description of the challenge, view the video below:
Kinetic Knights build captain Gregory Reid says the team was not expecting a challenge like this because in previous games the two alliances (consisting of three robots each) would compete on the field, often mixing it up with each other.
"In this challenge, we're split from the other alliance, so the defence is going to be a lot easier," he says. "You're basically working with your alliance team stacking totes and recycling bins. We will have to spend more time on strategies."
Working with him on that will be strategy lead Mathew Strader, along with electrical lead Kinsey Collins and programming lead Jed Gonzales.
Heading up the paperwork department, is administrative captain Darby Watterworth, along with award lead Alex Pagnan and scouting lead Logan Wolfe.
Darby says this year's challenge is very practical and will help find solutions that can be used in the real world of recycling.
"We are a very 'green' team," she says, "so we can relate to this challenge. We do garbage pick-up, we plant trees for the Living Snow Fence, and we help with planting at the stormwater pond."
The team will be going for the Chairman's Award again this year, she says, an award the Kinetic Knights have won twice in a row at the Greater Toronto East Regional in Oshawa, which qualified them to go to the world championships in St. Louis, Missouri.
Patrick Belford, build captain for the Cybergnomes, agrees this year's challenge is a lot different because the alliances are not taking each other on in direct competition.
"The real difficulty is designing a robot that can pick up different shapes of things - the square totes, the round garbage bins, and the thin pool noodles," he says. "We have to work on strategy, and figure out how to maximize points."
The teams have six weeks to build their robots which will then be put into storage until the regional competitions begin in March.