Whitewater High School’s FIRST Robotics Team Ferradermis traveled to Duluth from March 4-7 to compete in the Northern Lights Regional with and against 59 teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Sweden. Ferradermis ended the qualification matches with a 6-3 record and ranked 13th out of 59.
Upon arriving in Duluth, the team traveled to the University of Minnesota Duluth for a tour of two of their engineering labs. Dr. Craig Hill from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department talked with the team about the robotic systems he is developing for harnessing marine energy. Two graduate students then talked the students through their projects in the Dementia and Elderly Care Robotics and Sensing Lab. We met Pepper the robot who is being programmed to interact with residents in nursing homes and to read sign language.
Some teams make it a practice to give out awards of their own in the form of plaques to recognize teams for outstanding qualities. While in Duluth, Ferradermis received the “Help to Educate” award from Robo Remedy, Team 7103 from Manitowoc.
The team competed hard throughout the weekend, making improvements to the Power Cell intake and shooter between each match, and getting to the point where they could shoot Power Cells in autonomous mode in the period before the drivers could touch the robot. They worked and worked to make their climber operational throughout the week as well, but came home with a goal of an operational climber before the Wisconsin Regional.
The Chairman’s Award presentation crew put on a magic show for the judges to share the magic of Ferradermis and everything they do that isn’t about building a robot.
The team had planned to use the Duluth competition as a launchpad to defend their back-to-back titles at the Wisconsin Regional in Milwaukee from March 18 – 21, but on March 13, FIRST officially suspended the 2020 season and cancelled the World Championships for 2020. Ferradermis was lucky to be able to compete in at least one event this year, as there are seven weeks of competitions (with Duluth being held in week 2), and any teams that did not have week 1 or week 2 events never got to put their robot to the test. Teams are now looking forward to several off-season events this summer in which they can use their 2020 robot.