Catching up with Team Ellipse


Team Ellipse

Sophia Knox, Staff Writer

The SA Robotics Team Ellipse’s winter season is currently starting up.They are facing a major competition in the near future and preparing during exploratory and after school practices. They have been brainstorming ideas for what contraption they will make to conquer the difficult challenges this year’s robotics competition has to offer.

Ellipse competes in a competition known as “Kickoff.” This event allows fun to be incorporated while engaging in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities, getting close to real-world engineering scenarios, and preparing students to tackle real-world problems revolving around transportation and sustainability.

According to Ramsey Musallam, one of the faculty/staff leaders for the SA Robotics Team, there are five different sub teams: Business, Communications and Imagery, Controls, and Build. The Business Team mainly purchases materials and oversees the process, as well as communicating with our school’s business office to make sure all needed materials are gathered correctly and the budget is being managed.The Communications and Imaginary Team is responsible for our social platforms, branding for the team, and working with partnering schools. The Controls Team is specifically in charge of coding and giving the robots instruction on what to do in varying situations. Lastly, the Build Team is responsible for designing, assembling, and testing the robot.These teams work together to make a highly complex robot ready to battle against other high school competitors.

Controls Team captain Quinn Potter explained that team captains set up lesson plans for after school practices and exploratory meetings, teach, and overall  act as student leaders to help and guide the younger and less experienced members. The hope is for those younger students to one day be able to take over and lead our school to victory.

The SA Robotics Team is supported by many local sponsors and an anonymous donor, which is where the bulk of our school funding sources from. Though SA is not reliant on these generous sponsors to have a successful and prosperous robotics team, they are highly impactful. Attending each robotics competition costs $5,000. This does not include the cost of building the robot, which ranges from $10,000 to $15,000. There are other factors to budget in, like overnight competitions and whether or not parents pay for transportation. Overnight competitions are roughly another $10,000. In total, each season of robotics on average costs $50,000.

This year’s game is called Rapid React, where teams will compete against each other with the intention of delivering cargo partially autonomously, leaving it up to the robot to deliver cargo into the hub with its pre-programmed instructions for the first 15 seconds each match. The hub’s purpose is used for scoring, essentially like you would a basketball into a hoop. The hub has one lower and one upper compartment, both worth different amounts of points if cargo is successfully delivered. In the closing 2 minutes and 15 seconds of the match, robots will continue to deliver cargo and work on tackling the hanger. The hanger is another part of the competition that appears as a more complex version of monkey bars. Each bar is raised a certain amount from the ground, making climbing increasingly difficult as the robot ascends. Once the competition is complete, the team with the most points wins! The Robotics Team is feeling confident, excited, and prepared for some of the previously described challenges coming its way.