Rebound Rumble is robotics game this year

Published 12:14 am Sunday, January 8, 2012

New and old members of Pearl River County’s robotics team, Team CHAOS, are preparing for another season of competition.

This year’s game, called Rebound Rumble, will be played in an arena resembling a basketball court. At each end of the playing field are four basketball hoops set at varying heights. The middle of the playing field will have a short barrier that robots can traverse, or they can cross the barrier using one of three seesaw-type bridges. Three teams will be put together as an alliance for each match.

Points are scored in the same way as in basketball, by putting balls through the hoops. The higher hoops are worth more points than the lower ones. At the end of a match, alliances can earn additional points by balancing one or more robots on the bridges.

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Seasoned Team CHAOS members, Timothy Balch, Dylan Schram and Hayden Lefler said this year’s playing field looks to be more exciting that last year’s, and the three veterans have put some thought in to how the team will approach the competition.

However, the focus for Team CHAOS this year is not just on performance. Several of the seasoned team members are preparing to graduate. They plan to share what they have learned during their time on the team with the newcomers. The graduating team members also hope to identify replacements for the various positions being vacated when the seniors graduate.

Fifteen new members have joined the team this year, bringing the total to 35.

Lefler and Schram say they have plans for approaching the construction of this year’s robot, but those plans could change as the building process progresses. Initially, the plan may involve building a robot with an arm. An arm would provide Team CHAOS with both offense and defense capabilities, they said. No matter what route they take in the construction of their robot, the members intend to work as a team, and not just with participants on Team CHAOS but also within the alliances they form. Lefler and Schram both said every year Team CHAOS has been willing to help other teams when they needed it, earning Team CHAOS a reputation within the league for being helpful.

Each year the team builds more than just robots, the veterans say. All three team members said they have built lasting friendships with members of their own team, and among members of the teams they meet during competition.

“The best part is everyone wants to succeed,” Schram said.

Each team has just six weeks to build its robot using parts in the kit with which it is provided, before the robot is shipped off for pre-competition inspection. Team CHAOS will have its first competition March 15-17 in Kenner, La., at the Bayou Regional.