This year’s FIRST robotics competition is RECYCLE RUSH SM, a recycling themed stacking game played by two competing alliances of three robots each. The goal of the game is to stack tote boxes on raised scoring platforms distributed throughout the playing field. Cylindrical bins can also be stacked on top of the totes for a point multiplier, and pool noodles can be placed in the bins for additional points. Points may also be awarded for cooperation between team-mates. Throughout the game each member of an alliance must stay on their side of the field, forcing designs to focus on building stacks, instead of destroying them.

For many on the team such as Adam Goldsmith, the initial reaction was negative. When questioned, he responded “We are stacking boxes. It is literally garbage.” Warren Umbach, on the other hand, spoke for the more enthusiastic members of the team when he told our reporters, “huzzah.” He was not alone. Dylan Alter referred to the game as “excellent,” and Mr. Cox stated that he liked the game because “it is not violence based.” Dr. Boyle, an early skeptic, spoke of his change of heart saying, “The more I think about it, the more happy I am. Now that we're into the technical subtleties it seems actions are going to have huge consequences.” Some members of the team were more focused on other elements, however. Matthew Levine-Nussbaum spoke of internal dissent, saying that he “thinks we’re going in the wrong direction with stacks of 6 … we should use more totes and stuff,” while Maggie Ferguson was more focused on matters at hand, telling journalists only “My thumb hurts.”

Despite differing reactions among the team-members, a number of designs have already been proposed, and significant headway has been made on several more specific schematics. Stay tuned for more red-hot exciting info on our advances here in the bot-cave!

                          -Alexander Maxwell