Kamdi Oguchi ’24
Paper airplanes whiz across the room; laptops, robots, and various metal pieces inordinately dot the floor — or so one would imagine, upon walking into L-20 on a Tuesday activity period. Conversely, while frenetic energy and sometimes disorganization is a given in Robotics, the Robotics club at St. Andrew’s is remarkably decisive. That’s not to say they are infallible. According to Junior Ian Sabin, confronting competition challenges is often “trial and error,” and takes “months of drafting and tinkering” before tangible progress.
Helmed by leader, Junior Danny Lobsenz, the team — alongside faculty sponsor, Ms. O’Shaugnessy — is gearing up for its first competition sponsored by company FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) in January. Every fall, FTC uploads a video explaining the criteria and tasks under which the robots are evaluated. This year, the machines should be able to fly paper airplanes, place or stack hexagonal objects in specific slots (sometimes while holding another object of choice) and park properly. During competition, there are rigid roles assigned to club members, such as two operators driving the robots. Within club meetings, positions are as fluid as ever. There are coders, operators, 3D designers, information loggers, and many simultaneously occupy two or more roles. Another defining factor: there are no seniors on the roster as dedicated juniors, sophomores, and freshmen comprise the ensemble. The group also plans to mentor younger children at St Andrew’s. A week after competition, club members will host a competition of their own for robotics hopefuls in middle school. Wish them good luck for their first tournament in mid-December.
Photograph by SAES