DP is running at the robotics championship

DP is running at the robotics championship

Reprinted with the permission of the Santa Barbara News-Press - April 27, 2013 12:28 AM.

By Jordan Ecarma, News-Press Staff Writer

The D'Penguineers are holding their own at the FIRST Robotics World Championship this weekend in St. Louis.

The Dos Pueblos High School robotics team, known as Team 1717, ranked sixth out of around 100 teams in the Curie division after Friday's qualification matches.

Team 1717 won all of its matches and hopes to make it into the coveted Einstein division, comprising the top four alliances, in the whole competition.

"We've gone undefeated," Caroline Wellan, 18, told the News-Press by phone from the practice field. "The competition has really bumped up since regionals ... it's tough. But we've been doing well."

About 400 teams from around the world are competing in the World Championship. They are divided equally into four divisions: Archimedes, Curie, Galileo and Newton.

The D'Penguineers must complete one more qualifying match this morning before moving on to today's elimination rounds. They hope to make it into the top eight teams in their division to be able to choose two teams as allies.

"There's pressure to win because this is our one shot and that's all you get," said Ms. Wellan, who is on one of the mechanical teams. "We're working as hard as we can to get our robot into the Einstein field and win."

The team took a risk that paid off, changing the robot's method for picking up flying discs just last week after the collector jammed.

"It was a pretty haphazard decision," Ms. Wellan said. "But it's been operating fine."

Designed, built and programmed by the 32-member team of seniors, this year's robot is called PenguinBotVIII. The season's challenge is called Ultimate Ascent, in which robots shoot flying discs and climb a pyramid to earn points.

If the D'Penguineers and their two allies can win in the final divisional elimination round, they will be among the 12 robotics teams to break into Einstein, the highest division, to compete for the world championship.

"It's going to be an especially tough competition tomorrow," said Erenziz Tarakci, 17, a member of the electrical pneumatics (pressurized air) team.

"I know it will be tough because there are some great teams. But we have a solid robot and a solid plan, and I think we have a great strategy."