Fort Myers based robotics team off to world championships

Author: Zach Oliveri
Published: Updated:

For Java the Hutt’s robot, its primary function is to scoop up the three inch hexagons, or pixels, from one side of the field and put them on an inclined board on the other end.

Its part of the game called centerstage. This is what the Fort Myers based robotics team is tasked with this season.

“It’s like a Plinko board but without nails. And the hexagons kind of stack into each other,” lead build and designer Robbie Stewart said.

He went on to explain, “what you get from placing these different colored pixels is if you place them in a certain pattern and that can score you that many more points.”

Practice makes perfect for the robot. The team is gearing up for the FIRST Robotics World Championships in Houston in April.

“It was exhilarating,” team captain Dhruva Sharma said. “I mean personally I was scared we weren’t going to advance again like we did our second year. But we managed to pull through as a team.”

This is the team’s second appearance in three years. The team won it all in 2022. But in 2023, they just missed out on a return trip, losing the last match by 10 points.

“It was my real shot at redemption because coming out of such a difficult loss last season,” Stewart said. “And I knew this was my last chance to get it right. And luckily we advanced to worlds so this is my real shot to make it happen again.”

The team advanced by winning the Inspire Award at the State Championships.

“The Inspire Award really takes into account your robot and everything else you do,” Dhruva explained. “It really signifies you’re a well put together team that everything you do. You might not be the best at one certain thing but you’re the Jack of all trades.”

Now the team is ready to make it back to the world stage.

“Just soak it in and maximize your time and energy and you know your outcome so that you can get the most out of it,” one of the coaches Nithya Sharma.

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