Young Observer

Somersfield qualifies for robotics championships

  • Somersfield Academy Robotics Team: Stefan DeCouto, left, Emily Orchard, Nash Storey, Cameron Pimentel, Neil Varwandkar, Owen Dinsmore, Sam Lindo and Jacques Stefani (Photograph supplied)

Nine members of the Somersfield Academy middle school robotics team travelled to Framingham, Massachusetts, for a weeklong intensive workshop and competition.

The trip included the hopes of again gaining entry into the Vex Robotics World Championships.

They partnered with the Walsh Middle School robotics team members and coach, Pascal Chesnais, with both schools furthering the design, code and build processes for their competition robots.

The week also included visits to iRobot and the MIT Robotics department.

It culminated with intense competition at the Southern New England Regional Qualifiers, hosted by VEX Robotics.

The regional competition attracted 48 teams from the New England area and was comprised of 120 separate rounds to determine seeding, after which a knockout playoff tournament was held with the top teams.

The teams played each other in a 2-versus-2 game called “Turning Point” in which robots manipulate objects in a ring to score points, both autonomously and driver-controlled.

“You may have mechanically or programmatically the best robot, but you still need the ability to work with others,” said Mr Chesnais, a technology and engineering teacher.

“It’s exactly what engineering is about, except in game form, which gets a lot of kids’ attention.”

The Somersfield Sharks managed to advance into the play-offs, reaching the Round of 16 where they were bested by the second-seeded team in the tournament by only two points.

Throughout the competition, the Bermuda team garnered enough points to successfully qualify for the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championships.

Simon Storey, team coach, said: “We are so pleased and excited to have qualified for Vex Worlds.

“We believe that robotics is the perfect embodiment of STEM education, as it draws on each of the core disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and distils them into a single product.

“It also embodies the scientific process of formulating ideas, documenting and iterating prototypes, in order to learn from both success as well as failure.

“Lastly, competition teaches our students the power of teamwork and how to perform under pressure.”

The 2019 VEX World Championships will be held in Louisville, Kentucky in April 2019. Somersfield are proud to offer the robotics programme and staff and faculty extend their congratulations to the students on their success.

For more information on VEX Robotics visit vexrobotics.com or to connect locally contact Charlie Judd at Somersfield Academy on 441-236-9797. Follow Somersfield Academy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @somersfieldacademy