KINGSPORT — The Dobyns-Bennett High School robotics team, Cyber Tribe 4020, recently finished second in its 29-team division in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) Skills Challenge.
The challenge was called Infinite Recharge at Home.
However, it did not move on to the international round for the Game Design or Innovation competitions.
The Skills Challenge division was composed of teams from 17 states, as well as Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam. Including all competition groups, Cyber Tribe was ranked 10th in the world out of the 1,412 teams that participated in the coronavirus-modified robotics skills competition this year.
Rather than traveling to a regional, in-person, competition or attending the world championships in Houston with hundreds of teams, FIRST developed a remote model for 2021, according to Cyber Tribe coach and D-B engineering teacher Angela Conrad.
Team members are
Conrad said the Skills Challenge required teams to develop and operate their robot “at home,” completing challenges involving student- controlled precision driving, autonomous precision driving, autonomous collection of game pieces and student-controlled game piece shooting. Scores were based on speed and accuracy in all these challenges.
Videos were submitted by teams and reviewed by FIRST officials to document challenge scores.
While creating an at-home experience with similarities to an in-person robotics competition, FIRST also developed a Game Design Challenge and an Innovation Challenge.
For teams that were prohibited from meeting or working in-person to complete robot Skills Challenges or did not choose to work in-person, these two additional activities gave teams options to compete which could be completed entirely online.
The Cyber Tribe was one of 502 teams from the approximately 3,700 FRC teams active in 2020 that completed both of these challenges, plus the robot Skills Challenge for 2021. Only three teams from Tennessee competed in all three challenges.
Conrad said this “all-in” mentality shows the determination of Cyber Tribe to make the best of a coronavirus-modified season and to try to keep the team as cohesive and experienced as possible for hopefully normal competitions in 2022 and beyond.
For the Game Design Challenge, Cyber Tribe created a pirate-themed robotic competition game called Blockade Busters, featuring game pieces representing cannonballs and doubloons (gold) as well as a playing field including a ship mast with deployable sails, a brig, treasure chests and lighthouses.
Robots were required to collect and shoot cannonballs, acquire and place doubloons, climb a ladder, and pull a chain to unroll a sail.
INNOVATION ON DISPLAY
For the Innovation Challenge, Cyber Tribe created a concept called Kingsport Recharge, composed of a subscription-based box of items. Boxes would be assembled and delivered monthly to help people heal the mind, body, and community from the impact of the coronavirus, as well as the other stressors remaining from the pandemic. Boxes would include things like healthy recipes, hiking/biking routes, arts and crafts, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects and stress relief ideas.
The Innovation Challenge group worked with the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and Healthy Kingsport and reached out to local businesses to develop the healing ideas.
NOT MOVING ON TO INTERNATIONAL
The Cyber Tribe members participating in Game Design and Innovation faced competition from other FIRST teams from around the world. A very small portion of teams were selected to advance from their competition groups into a playoff system to determine global champions.
Although Cyber Tribe did not make it to the playoffs in either of these challenges, the team members gained skills in creating their concepts, developing and capturing details in presentations, documents, images and videos, as well as clearly and concisely conveying team ideas in live interviews with judging panels.
Conrad said gifts of money, materials and mentor time from the team’s sponsors, mentors and teachers are essential to meet the needs of the financially and technically demanding robotics competitions. Sponsors included Kingsport City Schools, Eastman Chemical Co., Kiwanis Club of Kingsport, Bank of Tennessee, Citizens Bank, BAE Systems, Milligan College, Tri-City Extrusion, Fastenal, Ballad Health, Lowe’s, Edward Jones Inc., AEP, Rockwell Automation and various individuals.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or mentor for Cyber Tribe, contact Conrad at firstname.lastname@example.org.