Oak Bay’s Zachariah Mears, of the Esquimalt High School robotics team the Atom Smashers showcases the team’s robot Spike to Monterey Middle School’s technology class ahead of the FIRST Robotics Competition at the Save on Foods Memorial Centre March 14-16. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Robotics competitors hit Oak Bay ahead of big Victoria competition

The FIRST Robotics Competition runs Thursday and Friday at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

Spike tackles some impressive competition this week when the Esquimalt High Atom Smasher pits the robot against the best in the west.

Spike and his team will take centre stage a few times as more than 1,500 students, teachers, mentors, parents and robotics enthusiasts fill Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for the FRC Pacific Regional competition.

“It’s the first time it’s going to happen in B.C… It’s going to be really exciting,” says Oak Bay resident Zachariah Mears, captain of the Esquimalt Atom Smashers team. “There’s going to be 32 teams each with their own big robot. We’re a rookie team so this is our first time doing it but there’s also going to be some more experienced teams and great people coming.”

The team have had six weeks to design, build, and program their 120 pound robot that competes at the FIRST Robotics Regional Championship this week.

“Our big goal is if we can win, we get to go to Houston (Texas) for the World Championships, but we’re just looking forward to having a lot of fun and seeing what other teams have come up with,” Zachariah says.

The Esquimalt High team came to be after a sponsor came forward, students pulled together to build a team. About half that team showed the robot off for the technology class at Zachariah’s alma mater Monterey Middle School on Friday. The team was allowed only to show off Spike, not work on the robot in advance of the competition. Spike is heavily 3-D printed.

Vaughn Scott of Esquimalt learned Java programming just to be part of the project.

“We had a mentor who actually helped us out wit the coding and what not,” Scott says, during the Monterey demonstration. “Some of it was quite advanced for us.”

It was an interesting learning experience, with a lot of trial and error, he said.

“It’s been a great learning experience for me, I’ve always been interested in programming but never actually got to program something physical,” Vaughn said. “It’s my first time actually seeing my programming do something and I love it. It’s one of those things where I write it all on the screen and t best it and watching it move is such a great experience. I know I did that, I wrote the code for that and the reason it’s moving is me.”

Though he’s quick to point out, there’s nothing to move without those who built Spike. It’s a total team effort with students from Grade 9 through 12 working together to tackle problems.

“You make a lot of friends through it,” he said. “It’s a beautiful learning experience and a lot of fun.”

In a match, two alliances, teams of three robots face off for two minutes and 30 seconds with the first 15 seconds autonomous before a driver takes over to control each robot. The teams tackle a number of different challenges to earn points.

The FIRST Robotics Competition starts Thursday, March 15 at 10 a.m. and qualification matches to 5 p.m. Friday, March 16 opening ceremonies are at 8:30 a.m. with matches from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 8 p.m. at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, 1925 Blanshard St. Teams from Belmont and Spectrum secondary schools will also compete against students from all over B.C. and Alberta, with international teams coming from as far as Mexico.

Learn more about FIRST Robotics Canada at firstroboticscanada.org.

 

The Esquimalt High School robotics team the Atom Smashers showcases the team’s robot Spike to Monterey Middle School’s technology class ahead of the FIRST Robotics Competition at the Save on Foods Memorial Centre March 14-16. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Some of the Esquimalt High School robotics team the Atom Smashers showcase team’s robot Spike to Monterey Middle School’s technology class ahead of the FIRST Robotics Competition at the Save on Foods Memorial Centre March 14-16. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

Royal Roads University to host a Black History Month panel

Four speakers will discuss being of African heritage in B.C.

VIDEO: Friday night fire outside Saanich Staples

Witness says two employees helped put out blaze

Victoria non-profit empowers women escaping abusive homes with a fresh start

Organization’s gift certificate program helped around 400 women last year

VIDEO: Royal Bay Secondary students take flight in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

Play tells the story of the orphan who becomes Peter Pan

Canadian employment services industry reached $1 billion in revenues

Employment services industry up nearly 12 per cent over 2016

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Lehner posts 4th shutout as Isles blank Canucks 4-0

Vancouver drops third game in a row

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Most Read