Club Spotlight: Robotics

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A few weeks back I had the chance to interview the robotics team 2 weeks before the kickoff, braving through the struggles of finding out my phone wasn’t recording, forgetting my questions, and general unprofessionalism, I now have the chance to talk about the robotics team. For my first question, I wanted to know what it was that the robotics team does. Obviously the answer went along the lines of figuring out what the goal for the competition is, and planning around that.

To follow up on my previous question, I asked about the workflow of the build team. To my surprise, the answer was more complex than I first thought, consisting of watching the video (the kickoff), splitting up by themselves, writing up several design concepts, grouping back up to make a final design, and finally creating the robot, all the while dealing with any problems that occur, keep in mind, the final part of this process still takes a week or two within itself, the whole process taking a bit more than a month.

Eventually, I realized I didn’t even know what they were building a robot for, so I promptly proceeded to ask what competition they were competing in, learning about the First Tech Challenge (otherwise known as FTC), a small scale competition localized within the U.S.

The robotics group is usually lively, with people cracking jokes on the regular, rarely airing a serious tone, the robotics club members also enjoy seeing how people react to being in new situations.

For my own personal enjoyment, I inquired about the build team leader’s opinion on robotic arms, upon hearing my question he simply uttered the phrase “…I hate them…”,further elaborating on his statement by adding that they were a unwritten tradition that he wanted to move away from

When asked about the experience of actually competing in the field e described it as “Every emotion a man can feel all at once” emphasizing the stress when something doesn’t work, or the joy when another team gives a chain they didn’t need, also commenting on meeting new people and learning the 8 stages of grief, which concerned me to say the least.

After shrugging off my concern, I asked how people could join. He said that it was easy before competition started, but gets harder mid season, usually sidelining new members, adding that there was always next year.

To end the interview, I decided to ask if he had anything to say, “To those in the future who want to join… be prepared” after hearing this I got extremely worried due to the fact that I just joined two prior. But I can’t say too much about the robotics club, because at the end of the day, I’ve yet to experience how it truly FEELS to be in robotics.