The rise of the ma­chine at EDSS

High school team claims top spot at Water­loo First Robotics Com­pe­ti­tion, held last week­end at UW

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - FAISAL ALI

THE EDSS ROBOTICS TEAM led the pack at this year’s First Robotics Com­pe­ti­tion in Water­loo last week­end, tak­ing out the for­mer long­time champs and prim­ing them­selves for a spot in the provin­cials in April.

With the win, the rel­a­tively young Elmira team has the dis­tinc­tion of un- seat­ing Team 2056 from Stoney Creek, which has won eight of the pre­vi­ous 10 games in Water­loo.

“A lot of stu­dents – well stu­dents and coaches – are sort of still in shock,” said Bar­bara Gaudet, a team coach and sci­ence teacher at EDSS. “Be­cause we did not ex­pect to be able to beat Team 2056.”

The team’s cre­ation, Green Bull, had to per­form a se­ries of com­pli­cated tasks at the Univer­sity of Water­loo com­pe­ti­tion, that saw it mov­ing and ar­rang­ing boxes, ac­ti­vat­ing switches and a fi­nal climb that had it lift its 120-pound body 12-inches off the ground. The com­pe­ti­tion also in­cluded an “au­ton­o­mous pe­riod,” where the robot had to rely com­pletely on its own in­ter­nal pro­gram­ming, bring­ing the pro­gram­mers’ tal­ents at EDSS to the fore­front.

The Elmira team has one more com­pe­ti­tion in North Bay com­ing up, but head­ing into that, the team’s score was al­ready well above the cut-off used last year to qual­ify in the provin­cials, plac­ing them in an ex­cel­lent spot.

All of this couldn’t have been pos­si­ble without the help of a large num­ber of coaches, men­tors and vol­un­teers, as well as the spon­sors who fund the team, says Gaudet. And then, of course, the stu­dents them­selves.

“With the stu­dents [it’s] their ded­i­ca­tion. The hours and hours they spend building, pro­gram­ming, de­sign­ing, prac­tic­ing, fundrais­ing, do­ing the busi­ness plan – there are all sorts of facets to it.”

The On­tario First Robotics tour­na­ment is tak­ing place at the Her­shey Cen­tre in Mis­sis­sauga from April 12-14. If EDSS does well there, the next step will be to move on to the worldlevel First Cham­pi­onship in Detroit.

“We’re very ex­cited. We are thrilled that things came to­gether,” said

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

The EDSS team emerged vic­to­ri­ous over the week­end at this year’s Water­loo First Robotics Com­pe­ti­tion, head­ing off to North Bay next.

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