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RoboEpic 5017 takes home the THINK award from NJ “Frozen Frenzy” Qualifier!

Over winter break, RoboEpic 5017 found out they were accepted off of the waiting list for the “Frozen Frenzy” FTC NJ state qualifying tournament. Scrambling to get their robot functional, the team worked tirelessly all week to ensure their robot, although not totally finished, would be at least in competition shape for Saturday Jan 12, 2013. With the forklift near perfection but the ramp incomplete, the girls piled into a van at 5:30AM on Sat. Jan 12 and drove to Piscataway, NJ. They wanted to be the first team there, pass both hardware and software inspection, and have plenty of time to practice before the matches began at 9AM. Passing inspections was a breeze, but practice was a different story. With no practice Wi-Fi network, and the Bluetooth on their laptop not functioning, the girls found a way to run their robot anyway! With the robot and remotes tethered to the computer, the team practiced placing rings and running defensive plays. GA girls will always find a way! Once the rounds began, the robot ran smoothly on the field Wi-Fi network and the team had a record of 2 Wins – 3 Losses during the rounds. Considering the stiff and fierce competition in New Jersey (they have had FTC programs for over 10 years), the team did well. They learned a lot that day about being an assistant to more experienced teams, and they learned about changing their strategy “on the fly” to better fit the goal of a joint alliance team. Although they did not make it to, nor were picked as an alliance for, semi-finals, they cheered for every team as the elimination rounds began. During award ceremonies, the team was surprised and delighted, to have been a runner up for the MOTIVATE AWARD, which is an award given to a a team with outstanding teamwork, spirit, cooperation, and community involvement. The team won this award last season at the CT State tournament. But the highlight of the day came in a double package! Not only did they win the prestigious THINK AWARD, which is given to a team who has documented their journey as a team the evolution of the robot in their meticulously completed engineering journal. Below is the description from FIRST at

“This judged award is given to the team that best reflects the “journey” the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. The Engineering Notebook is the key reference for judges to help identify the most deserving team. The team’s Engineering Notebook should focus on the design and build stage of the team’s robot. Journal entries of interest to judges for this award will include those describing the steps, brainstorms, designs, re‐designs, successes, and those ‘interesting moments’ when things weren’t going as planned. A team will not be a candidate for this award if they have not completed the section of the Engineering Notebook describing the team’s experience.

Guidelines for the Think Award

  • Team must submit an Engineering Notebook
  • Engineering Notebook must demonstrate that the team has a clear understanding of the engineeringdesign process, with pictures or drawings and details documenting all stages of robot design
  • Engineering Notebook must be organized and follow the formatting guidelines provided by FIRST
  • Collaboration and co‐ownership are dominant themes in the Engineering Notebook or in the judges interview”

We think the glitter and the multicolored pens had something to do with it! The second part of this surprise was that since the winning alliance captain team also won the Inspire Award, there was an extra spot for another team to advance to the NJ State Tournament! And of course, the THINK AWARD winner gets that spot! So RoboEpic has the opportunity to compete at the NJ FTC State Championship Tournament to be held on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at the Newark Institute of Technology. Now the team is dedicated to perfecting the forklift and attached/deploying their ramp. Good luck, RoboEpic!!