Cyber Tigers Preparing for ‘Bag Day,’ Sectional Competition
Thursday, February 16, 2017 5:00 AM
The members of the Belle Plaine High School robotics team will get a good look this weekend at how well prepared for the sectional competition they are later this spring. The Cyber Tigers will compete in a dress rehearsal competition Saturday (Feb. 18, 8 a.m.) at Eagan High School.
The Belle Plaine robotics team used last year’s robot to deliver the game ball to center court before Friday evening’s (Feb. 10) varsity basketball game between Belle Plaine and Mayer Lutheran. The Cyber Tigers and their new robot will be at a non-scored robotics event Saturday at Eagan High School. The sectional competition is April 6-8 at the University of Minnesota.
The non-scored competition will give the BPHS team the opportunity to see first-hand what its robot does well, what it and the team don’t do as well and what teams which teams would make potentially good alliance partners for the upcoming sectional competition April 6-8.
The Cyber Tigers, like all the other teams, are pressed for time.
Tuesday (Feb. 21), each robotics team has to place their robot in a sealed plastic bag. The deadline gives all the robotics teams in the state the same amount of preparation time between the early-January announcement of the game (“Steamworks”) and its rules and the upcoming sectional competitions around the state. The Cyber Tigers will compete at a sectional at Mariucci Arena.
Working in alliances of three teams each, robots have a variety of tasks the teams in a “Steamworks” competition will attempt to earn points during matches. The tasks include launching balls into targets (fuel cells into a boiler), collecting gears and delivering them to an airship lift, and climbing aboard the airship.
The Cyber Tigers figure the best way to efficiently earn points is deliver gears to the airship and climb aboard the airship rather than trying to shoot fuel pellets (plastic balls) into a target.
“We did a lot of calculations,” said Thea Iverson, a junior on the Cyber Tigers.
The Cyber Tigers have been working on making sure their robot smoothly picks up and transport gears and climbs. The team has also been working on weight distribution and traction since the game will be played on a carpeted surface.
Jeff Heine, the team’s coordinator, said the competition Saturday would give the Cyber Tigers a chance to scout potential alliance members. Cyber Tigers members will look for teams and robots that skillfully do tasks Belle Plaine’s robot and team may not do as well.
Heine said the team has learned to more accurately decipher information other teams offer in the interest of selecting the best alliance members.
Belle Plaine’s biggest need is monetary. Unlike previous years, where the team received a $5,000 grant to cover expenses for the robot, that grant was not available this year, Heine said. The school has covered the costs and the team is looking for willing donors to offset the unexpected expense. The Cyber Tigers are also using last year’s robot to hone driving skills.