Building a Robot: Steps to Success. Mecha Falcons & FalconTech compete in VEX Competition

Written by Delanie, Grade 12

In February 2023, two teams from ISP (Mecha Falcons and Falcon Tech) attended a High School VEX robotics competition in Albania.  Vex Robotics V5 Competition is a CEESA-hosted tournament that poses a new challenge every year to young engineers and designers. The task this year was to build a robot that could shoot disks into baskets! The ISP teams had a lot of fun while working hard to create their robots!

Check out the challenge our teams competed in! 

In addition to building the robots, the teams also had to create an engineering notebook that documented the entire process, from design to construction and testing. This documentation was a critical component of the competition, and the teams put a lot of time and effort into creating an impressive notebook.

Overall, the tournament was a great success, and the participants had a lot of fun while learning important engineering and teamwork skills. The event was a great opportunity for young people to learn more about robotics and technology and to apply their knowledge in a practical and exciting way.

“I enjoyed the trip because I feel like our team was working in synergy and we understood each other.”

Richard, Grade 11

“Though stressful, it was a fun experience that we hope to repeat next year. We highly recommend anyone interested in robotics to join!”

Karina, Grade 11

The team MechaFalcons managed to walk away with the Gracious Professionalism award, as well as placing second place in the competition, being paired with Bucharest. Overall the team learned a lot of coding, building, and overall competition skills that will be applicable in university as well.

“Being in robotics really set me up for my future endeavors in robotics and computer science. It was fun, and I hope to continue this at university!”

Tjebbe, Grade 12

Building a robot for a robotics competition is a complex process that involves several steps, each requiring careful planning and execution. Here is a brief overview of the process and what makes it interesting:

  • Design: The first step is to decide on the robot’s purpose, whether it’s a competition robot or a general-purpose robot. The design process includes determining the robot’s size, shape, and components. Designing a robot requires a solid understanding of mechanics, electronics, and programming.
  • Prototype: Once the design is complete, the team creates a prototype to test the robot’s functionality. The prototype is essential to identify any design flaws and adjust the design accordingly.
  • Construction: After the prototype is complete, the team starts building the final robot using high-quality materials, motors, sensors, and other components. The construction process is a hands-on process that requires teamwork and attention to detail.
  • Programming: Programming is an essential step that involves writing code to control the robot’s actions. Programming a robot requires expertise in programming languages, algorithms, and sensor inputs.
  • Testing: Once the robot is constructed and programmed, it is time to test it. Testing is a crucial step that involves identifying any mechanical or software issues and resolving them.
  • Competition: The final step is the competition itself, where the robot is tested against other robots. The competition can be nerve-wracking, and the team must remain calm under pressure.

What makes building a robot for a robotics competition interesting is the multidisciplinary approach required to design, build, and program a robot. The process involves mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, as well as computer science, and it’s a great way for high school students to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. Additionally, building a robot allows students to apply theoretical knowledge in both a practical and exciting way, and it is a great way to inspire interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

“This feels like a year where we have been able to put COVID behind us. We were able to travel to two tournaments, and we are excited to use the new Vex competition system. Way to go team!”

Mr. P, Computer Science Teacher and Robotics mentor

“As a senior, this was my second Upper School CEESA Robotics Competition. It felt different from my first experience, I was the only 9th grader and one of the only girls on the team. Now competing with my friends it was a weekend full of memories and felt like our hard work over the season really paid off.”

Delanie, Grade 12

If you would like to see more of our journey during the season, check out our social media accounts!