Katy, TX – The Cinco Ranch High School robotics team CRyptonite (http://www.team624.org/) is adding two new “Winner” banners to the sizeable collection already hanging in their bay at the Robert R. Shaw Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. CRyptonite competed in three regional tournaments during the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season and won two of them, advancing to the World Championship in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center April 18-21 (https://www.firstchampionship.org/houston-home) for the eighth time in the past ten years.
In FRC, high school teams from around the world build a robot weighing up to 120 pounds and then compete during a six-week period. During FRC competitions, two alliances of three teams, each controlling their own robot, compete to complete specific tasks on a field to score maximum points in 2:30. For the first 15 seconds, the robot acts autonomously and then is controlled by a driver for the remainder of the match. The game theme changes every year, and for the 2018 season it is “Power Up” (https://youtu.be/HZbdwYiCY74), a retro 8-bit theme in which teams are required to place “power cubes” on large balancing scales for points, trade power cubes for power ups (giving them a temporary advantage) and climb a tower to gain additional points, with a bonus if they are able to carry another robot (a “buddy lift”).
CRyptonite competed in three regional tournaments: San Diego, El Paso and Lone Star South. In San Diego, CRyptonite and their alliance partners Super NURDs and the Black Knights achieved the overall tournament high score of 609 (https://youtu.be/PYWuX6ERaW4), but were eliminated during the semi-final competitions. CRyptonite won a safety award due to their strong focus on safety and an imagery award due to their unique spiked green hair and their robot’s dazzling LEDs.
After the San Diego tournament, CRyptonite improved their ramp, which enabled their robot to reliably perform a buddy lift for bonus points, and updated their programming so the robot could score more points during autonomous mode. Both changes helped ensure that CRyptonite was a consistently high scoring team in the following tournaments.
In El Paso, CRyptonite and their alliance partners Black Hawk Robotics and Rhinos won all six elimination matches to win the overall tournament (https://youtu.be/v3w_DkYSk8U). CRyptonite also won the Excellence in Engineering award based on their exceptional robot design, which could unfailingly lift another robot in addition to itself. The judges were also particularly impressed by the new anti-tip programming that prevents the robot from falling over, going so far as to mention the lead programmer, Valeria Heredia, by name when giving out the awards.
Finally, at the Lone Star South competition, CRyptonite was ranked first seed and was the alliance team captain. With their chosen alliance partners of Robonauts and Alloy Obsession, they once again won all six elimination matches to win the overall tournament (https://youtu.be/BZauvBmp5B4). CRyptonite also won the Innovation in Control award based on their strong programming, which enabled the bot to score points autonomously and used sensor outputs to detect the environment and react accordingly.
According to Mike Outlaw, mentor for CRyptonite, who had tears in his eyes as he haltingly spoke of the team’s accomplishments, “The team performed exceptionally well, with a strong autonomous performance, excellent driving and great buddy lifts.” Steve Henderson, lead mentor for CRyptonite, added “The Pit Crew’s performance was tremendous during the tournament. I’m very proud the team has not lost a single elimination round during the past two tournaments and has won several different awards!”
About FIRST, FIRST Lego League and FIRST Robotics Competition
Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST LEGO League is over 255,000 students from 88 countries. FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sports with science and technology to create a unique Varsity Sport for the Mind™. Participants are eligible to receive over $50 million in scholarships from some of the finest science and engineering schools in the country. For more information on FIRST, please visit www.firstinspires.org.
Since its founding in 2000, the Cinco Ranch High School FIRST Robotics Competition team CRyptonite (Team 624) has competed and won in local, national and international competitions. CRyptonite gives its members hands on experiences in engineering, problem solving, and teamwork while also inspiring our community to have a greater appreciation for science and technology, including an annual Science Day Camp, the Katy FIRST Lego League Qualifier, demonstrations, mentoring and more. This has been made possible through the generous financial and mentor support of our corporate sponsors, including founding sponsors BP America and Oceaneering Intervention Engineering. Other corporate sponsors include Bechtel Corporation, Texas Workforce Commission, Phillips 66, Schneider Electric, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Chemical, Katy Area Economic Development Council, Wood Group, Texas Hydrographic Society (Houston Chapter), Shell, Chevron, Exterran, PBK, KinderMorgan and AECOM. For more information, please visit http://www.team624.org.