Barstow’s award-winning robotics team is back at work in a season deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students in our signature program are showing their resilience by using critical thinking and problem-solving skills to develop real-world solutions and compete in new ways.
FIRST® Robotics kicked off its 30th season last month by revealing three engineering, innovation and design challenges created for a remote season with remote judging. The 2021 season, Infinite Recharge, will not include game play due to current health conditions that restrict the robotics community’s ability to travel and attend large gatherings.
For Infinite Recharge at Home, teams drive their robots from last year in a series of obstacle courses, autonomous challenges and scoring challenges. Teams submit videos of their best runs and create a presentation about the technical aspects of their robot to judges for awards. Barstow has a small group of students that meet at the school on weekends to complete the driving and scoring challenges.
Innovation Challenge asks teams to identify a problem or opportunity and design a solution to help people keep, regain or achieve optimum physical and/or mental health and fitness through active play or movement. Students must create a prototype, develop a business model and share a pitch for the product. Barstow’s team is working with Midwest Adaptive Sports and Burning Spider Stoke Company to develop an adaptive skateboard.
“Surprisingly, there are no adaptive skateboards currently on the market,” Robotics Coach Gavin Wood said. “The team is ‘stoked’ about it! We are early in the process since we just have to present a concept at first, but we do plan to work on a prototype throughout the spring.”
For the Game Design Challenge, teams work to create an FRC game from scratch to present to judges for awards. Wood said Barstow students are creating a pirate-themed game called "Pirate's Plunder." Details are "top secret," but the game involves crossing the plank, smuggling doubloons and shooting cannonballs.
Teams will still be eligible for the Dean's List, Woodie Flowers, and Chairman's Awards — all awards that Barstow has won in previous years. Over 3,000 teams have registered to be part of this unique season.