Artificial Intelligence, Real Results

An overview of Sage's successful Robotics Team

Joey Cha

Alexis Kelly

Students on campus know the Robotics Team for their creative Town Meeting announcements and their accomplishments at local competitions but they may not know just how much effort goes into designing, building and maneuvering a functional robot.

It all starts with a kick-off day, in which the team finds out the objective for the year’s competition.

“Every year the game changes. This year it’s called Power Up, and there are a bunch of different tasks that we have to perform to score points,” Eric Frankel, club president, said.

From there, the team undertakes the complicated task of designing the robot so that it can successfully perform in all aspects of the competition. For example, for a field element called the Scale, the robot has to be able to lift a three-and-a-half-pound cube four to six feet into the air.

“Once we have our design, we start making a [computer-aided design] model of it, which is a 3D model on the computer, and figuring out what parts we are going to need and how they are going to work together,” Frankel said. “Then we have to order all the parts, which is the stage we’re at now.”

The FIRST Robotics Competition, which draws high school teams from all over the world, involves a six-week building period to prepare the robots for competition. This year, Sage’s team is excited for regionals, held at UC Irvine on Mar. 21-24.

“I think that if we can execute on all the plans that we have a good chance of moving on in the competition,” Frankel said.

Because of the competitive nature of the event, Robotics team members spend hours meticulously preparing.

“I’m here at least ten hours a week, if not more, working on the robot, because there is so much that goes into it,” Frankel said. “Besides building the robot, we have to submit a business plan to the Chairman’s Board, reach out to other teams to see what they’re doing, prepare our website and more.”

The team is always looking for new members, and anyone with interest is welcome to join.

“My favorite thing about robotics is that you don’t need experience and it’s a very welcoming environment,” Peyton Carroll, co-director of outreach, said. “There’s a lot of teamwork involved.”

The Sage Hill Robotics team is certainly one to watch this year in their upcoming competitions.