Team 997: Robotics at CHS

ETHAN BOGGS

What comes to mind when you think of robots? Maybe some distant utopian future crosses your mind, with robots living alongside us, indistinguishable from mankind. Perhaps you jump to something a little more sinister, however — robots finally realizing our inferiority and trying to take over the world. Both are fair ideas to have, while perhaps a bit dramatic. However, robots are a lot closer to home than you may think. Right here at home, CHS gets its very own taste of robots with Team 997 Spartan Robotics.

Team 997 is part of something much bigger. FIRST, standing for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”, is an organization that tasks nearly 4,000 robotics teams around the globe with a new challenge to build a robot every year.  FIRST reveals the season’s game a few days after New Year’s, and teams have two months to build a robot to complete the assignment. Most FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition — yes, an acronym within an acronym) students can attest to both the woes and euphoria of the season. With weeks of hard work, commitment, and stress to complete and perfect your robot, and the pure joy and satisfaction that comes in the end and pulls you back in year after year.

This season, 997 has had many highs and many lows. Through countless revisions, broken robot components, and hours poured into the season, the team proudly brought its robot Aether to the Pacific Northwest championships in Washington. 997 won the Gracious Professionalism award at one of its qualifying competitions, honoring them for their commitment to high-quality work and respect. At a qualifier, they were also awarded the Engineering Inspiration award, which recognizes leaps in respect for engineering at a team’s school, community, and beyond.

Just a few weeks ago, FIRST revealed the name for next year’s game: Infinite Recharge. The short teaser they released is completely up for speculation, but the game seems to be themed around city building. 2020 will bring some major changes in the way the season is structured as well — whereas in the past teams only had 6 weeks to build and bag their robot, teams will be able to build all the way up until their first competition. Many feel this is both a blessing and a curse. The last few weeks of build season have always been a crunch, but having a few extra weeks might push students to overwork themselves or slack off with the time.

The upcoming season will also see some huge changes within 997 itself. A majority of the team’s students are currently seniors, with almost all student leadership graduating this year. The shift in students and leadership has left many wondering where the team will be next year. However, this also provides many underclassmen or first-year students with a wide variety of previously unavailable leadership opportunities. While summer is usually a time for most school activities to die down, the end of the year is a perfect time to join Team 997. Meetings run throughout the summer for the team, with most new students arriving in the summer or fall. These meetings are usually a good time to see if the team is right for you, while the team really kicks into high gear in the winter and spring.

For more information on the team and upcoming meetings, contact spartanrobotics997@gmail.com.

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