PPHS Places 3rd in the 2022 robotics Boiler Bot Battle in Lafayette



PPHS competes in FIRST Robotics. It stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. It is a global organization that creates an environment where science and technology are celebrated. Where students of all ages explore technology and scientific concepts through competition. 

The 2022 game is called Rapid React. The object is to build a robot that can pick up cargo balls and score them into the lower hub and upper hub which resembles a basketball hoop. Robots start each match on one of their tarmacs pre-loaded with one cargo each. The first fifteen seconds of competition is called autonomous. Without guidance from their drivers, the robots rely on preprogrammed instructions to leave the tarmac, collect additional cargo and shoot it into the upper and lower hubs. During the last 2 minutes and 15 seconds of the match, drivers take control of the robot and drive it around the arena to collect more cargo and shoot it into either the upper or lower hub. In the last 30 seconds of the competition, additional points are scored if the robot can climb the rungs within their hangar with the robot. There are 4 rungs in the hanger, the higher the rung, the more points your robot scores. 

On October 14th and 15th, the PPHS Robotics Team headed to Lafayette Indiana, where the Boiler Bot Battle took place at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds. The first day of the event was a simple load-in day and we gave the robot a once-over. We bring in the robot with all of our tools and workbenches and then run a systems check. A systems check consists of multiple things such as making sure our vision tracking is good, our intake system for the game objects works as planned, our shooting mechanism works as designed and the bot drives in all the directions it is designed to move. The first item we recognized that needed to be addressed was the tread that was lacking on our tires. We replaced the tires to improve the bot’s traction on the field. Then we all headed home for the evening. 

The day of the event is always fun. We arrive at the event space at 8:00 am and start another systems check on the robot. We load a freshly charged battery into the bot and load the robot onto our cart to take it out to the field. When it is time to complete the bot is loaded onto the tarmac and our drivers take the controls and set up at the driver’s station that overlooks the playing field. After each match, we take the bot back to the pits, fix anything that may have broken during the match, run another systems check, change the battery out for a freshly charged battery and discuss the strategy for our next match. 

For the Boiler Bot Battle, we had 5 matches scheduled for our qualification round. We performed well and qualified for the tournament round. The tournament was set up as a stepladder round where if you lost a match, you were out. You had to win to continue. In our first step ladder match in the quarterfinal, we fought in a back-and-forth battle to finish with a win in a 64-62 thriller!  The semifinal started slow but ended up a close one, halfway through the match we were down 24-10 but made a great attempt to come back. We ended up just short, losing the match 38-36 and our bot was done for the day.