Congrats to NSA robotics

Published 10:25 pm Monday, February 11, 2019

We’re throwing bouquets — of the robot variety? — for Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s Hexadecimal team, which recently earned a trip to the world championships in just the fifth year of the team.

The team was among the top nine at the FIRST Tech Challenge Virginia State Championship at Atlee High School near Richmond, earning the team a trip to the FIRST World Championship in Detroit in April.

To the uninitiated, the requirements of the contest seem daunting. This year’s contest required students to design and build a remote-controlled robot that could retrieve items on a simulated alien planet. The rules require teams to design, build, program and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge through forming alliances with other teams. Teams are also scored on community service and on keeping an engineering notebook.

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Each match goes for about two minutes and 30 seconds, with the first 30 seconds requiring competitors to have their robots move by hard-coded directions — meaning no controllers can be used. For the next two minutes, competitors can operate the robots with the controllers. The alliance with the most points wins the match.

The team has a 42-pound robot, and it has a list of items to accomplish before the international competition. Over the next two months, the team plans to mostly disassemble the robot so they can improve it for the international competition.

We like competitions like this that can teach students so much more than just robotics. They also learn teamwork, determination, sportsmanship and more that they can carry into any chosen field, even if it has nothing to do with robots.

Congratulations to the NSA Hexadecimal team. We look forward to another story about more success in April.