RHS robotics team competes at State


Nathaniel Jackson

Updated May 21, 2021. One of Rolla’s robotics teams at the Tech Challenge, the Maniacal Mechanics, won 3rd place in the Inspire award. Direct Current took home the Judges award. 

Yahya Elgawady said,”[The April 24th Tech Challenge] went well. Our Team [Direct Current] won the Judges award which is given to the team most liked by the judges but didn’t fit into the other categories.”

Representatives from both robotics teams were invited to the MO State Capital to demo their robots, and the two teams that competed at State were officially recognized at the Missouri House of Representatives in Jefferson City. 

Elgawady said, “It was exciting, we got recognized, we drove around the rotunda and met some representatives and got to talk to them about robotics.” 

Original story published March 29, 2021. Hours of building and rebuilding have led Rolla robotics teams Direct Current and Maniacal Mechanics to qualify for the state competition.

“I’ve spent a lot of hours programming, so it’s nice for that to pay off,” Maniacal Mechanics program lead Tyler Paul said. 

According to Paul, Maniacal Mechanics won the Think Award for their outstanding note-taking and design process. Direct Current made it to state through their proficient robot design and test results.

We were really hoping to stay in this year,” Yahya Elgawady, a programmer on Direct Current, said. “Our code has completely made a shift to a more functional type of programming. It’s really good to see that all that hard work pays off. From state we’re expecting all of our scores to be above hopefully 40, which was our highest score at this current competition. We’re hoping to place within the top few teams that are [above that score].”

There are three parts to a match. The first is autonomous, or completely pre-programmed, meaning there is no direct driver of the robot. Participants deliver “wobble goals” (poles) to designated locations. The second section consists of participants manually shooting orange rings at the goals of different heights, the ultimate goal being a “power shot.” Then there is an endgame where participants earn points through a hybrid of the first two parts; this is where a majority of the score comes from.

“It’s been really good,” Paul says. “It’s taught me a lot. It’s taught me about being able to speak better in front of people. I didn’t really like talking in front of a lot of people, but in robotics, I learned how to do it. Robotics also taught me a lot of knowledge about mechanical stuff and how to think outside the box.” 

The two teams look forward to taking on Tech Challenges at State.

“Our team is a lot more experienced than we were last year,” Isaac Guffey, member of Maniacal Mechanics said. “Everyone on the team has some part to play.”