Ridgebotics reveals two new robots for competitions


Photo Credit: Anna Henning

On Tuesday, February 20, Ridgebotics held their second annual Robot Reveal Night, where they showed off their robot for the upcoming competition season. Students, parents, sponsors, and mentors all gathered in the PAC to view the product of the six – week building season, with over 6,000 hours of work leading to this event.

The evening kicked off by reflecting on the past years of Ridgebotics. They went from having less than ten members, a few mentors, and only one coach to having 32 members, 26 mentors, and multiple coaches in just five years. Last year, the team placed second in the Denver Regional Competition and qualified for the world competition as one of the top 500 teams in the world. They have won awards for creative design and pit crew safety, and the team is very proud of their accomplishments.

However, they are now looking to the future as they spent a lot of time working on their new robots. In the off season before building again, the team focused on updating software, team organization, mentorships, and a new website. Ridgebotics mentored students in the First Lego League program, which is a way for elementary and middle school students to be on robotics teams. They were excited to inspire future generations with what Fossil’s team was doing.

By attending every home football game and as many basketball games as they could, Ridgebotics focused on showcasing what their program is all about to Fossil students. Senior and media lead Ayden Adair said, “For a long time, robotics has been passed down as that ‘nerdy’ thing that nobody cares about. It has been our team’s mission in the past few years to make robotics something that everybody can be interested in.”

For a long time, robotics has been passed down as that ‘nerdy’ thing that nobody cares about. It has been our team’s mission in the past few years to make robotics something that everybody can be interested in.”

— Ayden Adair

When they got their challenge for the year for the FIRST Robotics Competition, the team had six weeks to design, build, and test out their robot before bag and tag night. After packing up their robot, the team is not allowed to touch it until the first competition. Since then, each team member has worked for about 175 hours; the mentors contributed 900 hours of volunteer time collectively.

Ridgebotics is dedicated to creating the best model that they can. Even though there was no school Monday, February 19, team members still went in to put the final touches on their product. When it began snowing really hard and they were told to leave, they moved everything into a mentor’s garage and worked until midnight. Even right before their event began Tuesday, Ridgebotics continued to do everything they could before their event.

The result of all this hard work is not one, but two identical robots to give them a hopeful avantage when the competition season begins. Although their competition robot was bagged at 10pm Tuesday night, their extra robot can help Ridgebotics practice before stakes are high. During the demonstration of their robot’s abilities, Ridgebotics ran into a few minor technical difficulties. However, they will have even more time to learn now to fix these problems thanks to their second robot, which will help them be prepared for regionals.

These robots may be initially pretty small to meet the specific dimension requirements, but the team has designed a two staged elevator which will make the robot go from four to eight feet tall to complete some tasks. Design features such as the carabiner climber also help their robot to score more points by being able to climb with other robots. To improve the quality of cut materials, they sent their designs to be cut by a CBW mill, and their new programming system will help make everything run smoother and with more accuracy.

This teaser video shows other FRC teams a taste of what the competition will be.

Ridgebotics will be flying to Kansas City, Missouri for their first competition over March 8-11 where they hope to win another ticket to worlds. Their Denver Regional Competition will be March 20-24, which the FRC claims will be the hardest regional competition due to several world champions who will be attending. Ridgebotics is ready to fight, and they hope to see all their hard work pay off. Also, look out for one of their robots to make an appearance in the 2018 Lip Dub.