Royal Ro­bots se­nior team wins first and sec­ond­place tro­phies at world cham­pi­onships

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - BY LAWRENCE POW­ELL

They’re still in high school but all three are al­ready world cham­pi­ons.

They’re mem­bers of the se­nior Royal Ro­bots team from An­napo­lis West Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre and have spent years writ­ing code, build­ing ro­bots, and win­ning just about ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion they’ve en­tered.

Meet Abi­gail Bon­ning­ton, Finn Haft­ing, and Grif­fin Batt.

An­napo­lis Royal Mayor Bill Mac­don­ald de­clared a day in their hon­our af­ter the trio came back from Detroit where they won a first-place tro­phy in one event and sec­ond place in an­other event.

The AWEC team took part in the May 17 to 19 com­pe­ti­tion at Lawrence Tech in Detroit af­ter qual­i­fy­ing at a pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion at Aca­dia Univer­sity.

“These guys com­peted in three dif­fer­ent events – I think there’s eight events that they have there – and these guys did Clas­sic Sumo, Un­known Mis­sion Chal­lenge, and Game,” said coach Jeff Haft­ing.

While they didn’t make it to the fi­nals of Clas­sic Sumo, where you have to knock your op­po­nent off the ta­ble, they ex­celled at the other two.

“The first one they did was the Un­known Mis­sion Chal­lenge,” said Haft­ing. “They’re given two hours to com­plete an un­known mis­sion from a com­pletely unassem­bled ro­bot kit. This year they had a ta­ble set up where they had ping pong balls and they could dive from one side of the ta­ble, over to the other side and put a ping pong ball in a box and then come back – and they couldn’t touch it un­til it came back – and then they’d load an­other one. How many can you do in two min­utes?”

They had their ro­bot built in 40 min­utes and were able to spend time pro­gram­ming and work­ing out all the bugs. And they used sen­sor strips on the ta­ble to direct the ro­bot, some­thing not many other teams did.

In Game, they had to col­lect tennis balls on a ta­ble and us­ing an in­ter­nal con­veyor belt move the balls to the top of the ma­chine. The catch was that there were plas­tic water bot­tles on the ta­ble as well. Most ro­bots couldn’t tell the dif­fer­ence and tried to scoop up the bot­tles as well as the tennis balls – which wasn’t pos­si­ble and cost teams a lot of time. The Royal Ro­bots pro­grammed their ro­bot to sim­ply knock the bot­tles over and push them off the ta­ble.

Grif­fin and Finn are both in Grade 11 and have been Royal Ro­bots mem­bers since Grade 6. Abi­gail, in Grade 12, is in her fourth and fi­nal year with the team. All three have been mem­bers of the An­napo­lis Royal Space Agency as well, and all three plan to be­come en­gi­neers.

While they all write code for the ro­bots they cre­ate, Abi­gail was given the task dur­ing the Un­known Mis­sion Chal­lenge and ac­cord­ing to her team­mates she was busy cod­ing as the chal­lenge was be­ing explained.

Finn and Grif­fin ma­nip­u­lated the ro­bot, mak­ing sure it was in ex­actly the right spot ev­ery time it re­turned from de­posit­ing a ping pong ball.

The Royal Ro­bots were also asked to help an­other team that couldn’t get their ro­bot to work, some­thing they didn’t hes­i­tate to do.

When the trio got back from world com­pe­ti­tion, An­napo­lis Royal Town Coun­cil not only is­sued them with cer­tifi­cates of recog­ni­tion, it pro­claimed May 22, 2018 as Royal Ro­bots Day in the Town of An­napo­lis Royal.


Abi­gail Bon­ning­ton, Grif­fin Batt, and Finn Haft­ing show off the first and sec­ond-place tro­phies they brought back from world com­pe­ti­tion in Detroit. The event took place May 17 to 19 at Lawrence Tech. When the An­napo­lis West Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre stu­dents ar­rived home, May 22 was pro­claimed Royal Ro­bots Day in An­napo­lis Royal by town coun­cil.

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