Team Chaos ready to compete

Published 1:04 am Sunday, February 17, 2008

With only finishing touches left to add to their robot, Pearl River County’s Team CHAOS is ready to ship their entry off to the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Bayou Competition in New Orleans.

While the team has not officially named their robot, they have added a controversial piece of hardware into it, the scissor lift. Discussions with other teams indicate use of the scissor lift is not popular, but Team CHAOS is confident their use of the technology will pay off.

“We’re pleased how the scissor lift turned out,” said team leader Marueen Pollitz.

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Team member Ben Daniels said construction of the scissor lift was done almost entirely by students. Other new innovations used in building the robot include a larger circuit board and a better drive system.

“We’re trying a lot of new things this year,” Pollitz said.

The name of this year’s game is “Overdrive”, where the object is to race a large ball around the track to score points. At the end of the match teams can attempt to place one of the four balls on top of an overpass for extra points. Team CHAOS will focus more on racing a ball around the track, which is worth more points, as opposed to trying to place it onto the overpass.

Daniels said while the scissor lift is working out well, the process of placing the ball on top of the overpass is slow for Team CHOAS’ robot, so the focus will be on making laps. Daniels said in the time it would take to place the ball on the overpass their robot could possibly make two laps, scoring more points.

Addition of the scissor lift and other new hardware will make Team CHAOS’ robot self sufficient during competition. Even though there will be two other teams in each alliance during matches and gracious professionalism is important to Team CHAOS, the ability to handle any situation will come in handy, Daniels said.

Another first for the team was the production of a 3D computer animated safety video. Many members of the team pitched in to produce the video that they hope will win the contest. Each year at the FIRST kickoff celebration, the winning team’s video is shown to teams nationwide.

Community work was also important to Team CHAOS. They mentored six elementary LEGO robotics teams, participated in the recent Krewe of Roses parade handing out flyers and even won the best decorated truck in the parade.

“They’re trying to get out there and make people aware of FIRST,” Pollitz said.

Not only does the team want to win matches, but members aim to earn a plethora of awards, including the safety award, quality award and the chairman’s award.

Before the team sends their robot off on Monday, members have a couple of tweaks they want to complete, such as lightening the robot, adding signs to it and performing some minor bumper work. Another tweak they plan to work on involves the intricacies of the infrared receiver. Once completed, remote signals will allow the robot to recognize such commands as stop and turn left or right. Those commands should come in handy in case the robot becomes entangled with another robot.