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Kinetic Knights ready to take on FRC "Aerial Assist" challenge

By Liz Dadson

Technology/Video

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The Kinetic Knights robotics team of Kincardine gathers for a team photo at Saturday's kick-off to the FIRST Robotics Competition, held at the Bruce Power Visitors' Centre



Brainstorming during a pizza lunch at the kick-off, Saturday, are Kinetic Knights Gregory Dadson (L), Derek Eberl, Alex Pierce, Mathew Strader, Luke Splettstoesser and Greg Reid



Alumni members of the Kinetic Knights join the robotics team for the kick-off; from left are Ervin Ibadula, James Jackson, Dani Watterworth, Munaza Saleem, Elizabeth Wood, Mickey Collins, Aayushi Joshi, Tawny Robinson, Janelle Taylor, Matt Pagnan and Lia Cavasotto
photo by David Dadson



This video shows how the "Aerial Assist" challenge is to be played
Courtesy of the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition kick-off broadcast

The Kinetic Knights robotics team is ready to take on the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) "Aerial Assist" challenge.

The kick-off to this year's FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) was held at the Bruce Power Visitors' Centre, Saturday, with a link through NASA to the worldwide announcement by FIRST founder Dean Kamen.

This year's challenge, "Aerial Assist," is played by two Alliances of three robotics teams each. Alliances compete by trying to score as many large balls in goals as possible during a two-and-a-half-minute match. 

Additional points are earned by robots working together to score goals, and by throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor as they move the ball down the field.

“The students who participate in FRC are not only building robots; they are building character, self-respect, and relationships with their peers,” said Kamen. “Winning the game is fun, but the importance of FIRST is that you’ll get much more out of it than you put in, and it’s going to change the rest of your life.”

At Saturday's kick-off, FRC teams were shown the "Aerial Assist" playing field and received a Kit of Parts made up of motors, batteries, a control system, a PC, and a mix of automation components – and only limited instructions.

Working with adult mentors, the teams have six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. Once these young inventors build a robot, their teams will participate in one or more of the 98 regional and district competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

Following the broadcast of the new challenge, the Kinetic Knights began brainstorming on how they would design and build their robot for the competition. The team has until Feb. 18 to complete its robot.

The regional competitions begin in the spring. The Kinetic Knights will be competing in Oshawa, Waterloo and Windsor.

Last year, the team went to the world finals in St. Louis, Missouri, after winning the Chairman's Award at the Greater Toronto East regional in Oshawa.

Also, Saturday, members of the FIRST Lego League and Junior Lego League presented an outstanding volunteer award to Nikhil Deshpande who organized the inaugural Lego League qualifying regional in Kincardine.

Greg Reid of the Kinetic Knights leads the team in an exercise prior to the broadcast Saturday at the kick-off
photo by David Dadson



Administrative captain Kush Joshi (L) and build captain Luke Splettstoesser of the Kinetic Knights robotics team, hold the large ball to be used in this year's challenge, "Aerial Assist"



Nikhil Deshpande (L) and build captain Luke Splettstoesser of the Kinetic Knights, brainstorm at Saturday's kick-off
photo by David Dadson



Gwen Cavasotto (L) is joined by FIRST Lego League and Junior Lego League members, Camden Ellis, Declan Ellis and Gregory Hartwick, in presenting a volunteer award to Nikhil Deshpande


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