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Outreach Across Competitions - FTC & VRC

Recently, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team BotsBurgh (#11792) invited a local rookie VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) team, Mystical Mechanics (#13282Y), to their meeting to give some startup advice.

Ms. Lixia Kang, a Chinese teacher at Upper St Clair High School, had been interested in getting her sons, Eric and Xavier Ye, involved with the VEX Robotics Competition. Over the summer, she had the opportunity to join a few USC teachers on a visit of RoboMatter in downtown Pittsburgh. It is there that she learned more about the various VEX products as well as the VRC. Lixia had met several times with USC robotics teacher and club sponsor, Ms. Tracy Smith, to discuss VEX. Tracy recalled that FTC teams BotsBurgh (#11792) and TeraBridges (#18603) had worked on a launching challenge two years prior that had some similarities to this years VRC challenge and suggested that Lixia connect with them for advice.

FTC Ultimate Goal Competition: 2020-2021 Season

VRC Spin Up Competition: 2022-2023 Season

The Mystical Mechanics needed help finding a way to get discs from the field floor onto their robot. Since BotsBurgh had experience with this type of game, they were able to give some advice. They told them that to effectively pick up the discs, they needed to make some modifications to their robot.

The VRC team was using rubber wheels to grip onto the discs, and then the wheels would push the discs up an angled metal sheet. The issue was that the metal sheet was very steep, so BotsBurgh advised making the angle more shallow. The rookie VRC team also had trouble launching the discs, so BotsBurgh suggested using a flywheel so it would be easier to program, build, and launch. Since Mystical Mechanics is still in its infancy, BotsBurgh welcomed them to stop by future meetings to discuss any design, build, or programming concerns.

Mystical Mechanics has signed up for two competitions. One is on November 19th in downtown Pittsburgh and the other is on February 18th in Morgantown, West Virginia. We wish them the best of luck in their first year of competition!

It doesn't matter which competition students are involved in. Concepts such as strategizing, designing, building, and programming are universal. It is important that students realize that when they are working on a project it leads to transferable skill sets that can be used in other arenas.

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