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Madison High 'Mad Science' Robotics Team Preps for States

Squad places second among 24 teams in recent event.

From left, Simon Bird, Chris Spelker, and Jackson Rambusch (Photo courtesy of Madison High robotics team)
From left, Simon Bird, Chris Spelker, and Jackson Rambusch (Photo courtesy of Madison High robotics team)
The following was submitted by the Madison High robotics team:

Madison High School’s “Mad Science” robotics team was an Alliance Captain and finished second in a field of 24 teams winning four out of five preliminary matches and edging them closer to qualifying for the New Jersey State tournament and winning the FTC Motivate award.

For early rounds, alliance partners are selected randomly and after winning two matches handily match Madison’s partner for match 3 was unable to field a robot due to mechanical problems. This meant Mad Science had to defeat two robots on their own.

Fortunately their autonomous program, which runs with no human intervention, found the randomly placed infrared beacon and dropped a cube in at scoring crate for 40 points, the robot then backed up and, made two 90-degree turns and drove up a ramp to park for an additional 20 points.

In the two minutes driver controlled period, driver Jackson Rambusch with gunner Chris Spelker were led by field coach Simon Bird and outscored the two opposition's robot by themselves. An improved design over the robot that won the Bayonne meet in November enabled the team to pick up cubes from the field and place them in crates on a swinging pendulum, a task that is required to beat out the tops teams.

The last 30 seconds of a match is called the "end game" where teams crank a handle to lift a flag 7 feet high followed by the robot lifting and hanging itself off the ground by an iron pipe some 3 feet off the playing field. In most matches one partner will lift the flag, while the other lifts and hangs, but Madison’s robot is able to do both.

Ranking second after the early rounds, Madison picked team 5996 Hyper Nike and 7675 High Point Regional High School (HPHRS). After winning the first playoff round handily 2 matches to none, the team knew they had a challenge in a best two-out-of-three match against the Landroids of Livingston, a team that won First’s most prestigious title, the Inspire award in 2013 at the World Championships.

Led by physics teacher Matthew Blackman, Madison’s team is bigger than ever before with 17 students Helen A., Suji B., Simon B., Andrew C., Gabe H., Jeffrey H., Yeongeun K., Allie M., Dante M., Logan P., Jackson R., Tim R., Geoff S., Christopher S., Anthony V., Ben W., and Monica Y, who all design, build, program, troubleshoot the robot and create game strategies.

Madison’s next event will be the 48 team New Jersey State Championship on March 2 at NJIT.

Madison High School’s “Mad Science” robotics team website:  www.madisonrobotics.org
Chess D February 25, 2014 at 09:15 PM
As a Madisonian, I am very proud of both the team and its teacher (Blackman). Winning these events is no small feat and I will be rooting for them on March 2 at NJIT. Go Mad Scientists!

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