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Mid-Atlantic robotics teams get together for ‘Duel on the Delaware’

The FIRST Robotics event gave students a chance to flex their engineering skills.

Student prepare their equipment at FIRST Robotics' Duel on the Delaware. (Photo by Holly Quinn)

It was a good day for Middletown’s Palindrome 4-H Robotics — they, along with Tech Fire from York, Pa., and the Central High Robolancers from Philadelphia, formed an alliance that beat out 30 other high school robotics teams at the FIRST Robotics Duel on the Delaware on Saturday, Oct. 17.
While high school robotics competition season doesn’t officially start until FIRST Kickoff in January, October’s preseason competitions bring teams back together to dust off last season’s robots and engage in some friendly competition.
For many new FIRST competitors, the Duel on the Delaware, hosted annually at Salem Community College in Carney’s Point, N.J., by Wilmington’s Miracle Workerz and the LuNaTeCs of Carney’s Point, is their first real-life robotics competition.
“It’s more exciting than I expected,” said Arynn Hernandez, a rookie member of the Miracle Workerz who volunteered at the event. “Everyone gets really into it.”

Student at the Duel on the Delaware guide their robots.

Student at the Duel on the Delaware guide their robots. (Photo by Holly Quinn)


And it’s true — even in the offseason, there are club mascots, painted faces, and team cheers, things many people would sooner associate with football than engineering.
The sporting-event nature of FIRST competitions is not an accident. Cofounder and inventor Dean Kamen set out to combine STEM with sports to attract kids who might not otherwise find science and technology interesting and rewarding.
For the uninitiated, the 2015 game, Recycle Rush, looks like robots were let loose in a warehouse. The game involves tote stacking, can grabbing, and flying pool noodles.
The most simple way to explain the game is: watch for stacks of six totes capped with a can holding a noodle. At 42 points, these are pretty much the touchdowns, though there are several ways to score points, including smaller stacks and completing autonomous tasks during the first 15 seconds of every match, when the robots run driverless, by programming only.
A robot stacks containers during the competition.

(Photo by Holly Quinn)


Here’s the breakdown of participating teams, as supplied by FIRST.
Quarterfinals:

  • Sa-BOT-age (Downingtown, PA), Robobees (Leonardtown, MD), Red Devils (Bethlehem, PA)
  • Tech Fire (York, PA), The Palindromes (Middletown, DE), Robolancers (Philadelphia)
  • Mechanical Marauders (Bay Shore, NY), Miss Daisy (Ambler, PA), Storm (Marlton, NJ)
  • Fighting RoboVikings (Warminster, PA), High Voltage (Brooklyn, NY), Gearaffes (Landsdale, PA)
  • MechDonough Eagles (Owen Mills, MD), PSIchotics (Lindenhurst, NY), Royal Assault (Drexel Hill, PA)
  • LuNaTeCs (Carney’s Point, NJ), Mercury (Hightstown, NJ), Velocity (Bridgeton, NJ)
  • 203 (Sicklerville, NJ), Robotiators (Glenelg, MD), Falcons (Burlington, NJ)
  • Vulcan (Philadelphia, PA) Miracle Workerz (Wilmington, DE), Killroy (Stafford, Spotsylvania & King George, VA)

Semifinals:

  • 2. Tech Fire (York, PA), The Palindromes (Middletown, DE), Robolancers (Philadelphia)
  • 4. Fighting RoboVikings (Warminster, PA), High Voltage (Brooklyn, NY), Gearaffes (Landsdale, PA)
  • 3. Mechanical Marauders (Bay Shore, NY), Miss Daisy (Ambler, PA), Storm (Marlton, NJ)
  • 1. Sa-BOT-age (Downingtown, PA), Robobees (Leonardtown, MD), Red Devils (Bethlehem, PA)

Finals:

  • 2. Tech Fire (York, PA), The Palindromes (Middletown, DE), Robolancers (Philadelphia) — [Competition high score: 204]
  • 4. Fighting RoboVikings (Warminster, PA), High Voltage (Brooklyn, NY), Gearaffes (Landsdale, PA)

Winner:

  • Tech Fire (York, PA), The Palindromes (Middletown, DE), Robolancers (Philadelphia)
Companies: FIRST Robotics

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