State Success

In 2018, the Columbus robotics team GalacTech was unable to advance on to the Indiana State Championships, having been ranked 41st out of 49 teams. This year, the team made it one of their goals to become one of the top 32 teams and therefore earn a spot in the State Championship. Sophomore Shivali Singireddy is one of the students who participated on this year’s team.

“We wanted to learn from our past mistakes and make a better plan so that we were more successful this year,” Singireddy said.

The team’s success was due to one of the unique features on the robot, dubbed the climber.

“We use a four-bar linkage system as our climber,” Singireddy said. “It’s very important because climbing allows our robot to gain additional points that can contribute to our overall ranking points. Also, the points earned from climbing are often what determine who wins or loses the match.”

Another accomplishment the team made this year was winning the Engineering Inspiration award for the first time.

“Engineering Inspiration is an award that rewards teams that give back to the community in some way and are able to inspire the children and community to pursue careers in STEM,” sophomore Aditya Agrawal said.

FIRST, the organization hosting the robotics competition, places a lot of stress on the importance of STEM outreach, which is why the award is so significant.

“The team is a non-profit organization which means that we don’t get funding from any of the schools. This also means that outreach is really important to us,” Agrawal said. “We try to give back to the community by doing outreach events such as participating in Lobsterfest, hosting STEM camps for young children, and organizing a ‘Meet Your Makers’ for the community.”

The team’s success can also partially be attributed to the team’s new scouting program.

“Scouting at an FRC Event is almost identical to scouting a baseball or football player. We are gathering data on each robots’ capabilities, which allows us to have info about our alliance partners’ capabilities, and also our opponents’ capabilities,” senior Jacob Liimatta said, leader of the GalacTech’s scouting team.

By acquiring tablets for scouting, the team has simplified the scouting process considerably.

“This year, we moved from a combination of digital and paper and pencil scouting system to a fully digital scouting system,” Liimatta said. “With the fully digital system, we were able to cut down significantly on the time it took to transfer the data into Excel, as the data was already in an electronic format.”

In the end, the team’s success was dependent on not one but many improvements in multiple areas.

“I’m proud of what our team has accomplished,” Singireddy said. “We have developed so many new skills and learned so much from our past experiences last year.”

The robot’s climber in action at the Indiana District Championships.
The drive team prepares for a match.

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