Brunswick Eruption 11 Thanks & Congrats!

The 11th installment of our annual off-season event, Brunswick Eruption, was held on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

Originally scheduled for two weekends prior on November 3rd, the event had to be postponed due to the after effects of Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately, this change in schedule meant that only 29 teams of the original roster of 42 could attend. Nevertheless, the event was still a success:

  • Our food drive collected over 300 cans of food to benefit the North Brunswick Food Pantry.
  • Our shoe drive collected over 200 pounds of shoes to be recycled worldwide via ShoeBox Recycling.
  • Two pre-rookie teams were able to participate in their first FIRST competition!
  • Hundreds of students were able to talk to representatives from Penn State University and Rowan University in our miniature college fair.
  • Many local FTC and VEX teams were able to spend the day learning from each other and scrimmaging on official practice fields.

Congratulations to the following teams for taking home coveted Brunswick Eruption Tiki Trophies at this year’s event:

Brunswick Eruption 11 Winning Alliance: Teams 341, 25 and 3637

Winners: 341, 25, 3637
Finalists: 103, 2590, 2606
Hoku Award Winner: 613
Aloha Award Winner: 1626
Mahalo Award Winner: 2607
Food Drive Champion: 806
Shoe Drive Champion: 806
Evil Sundae Survivor: 806
Best Autonomous Mode: 341
Best Balancer Award: 4067
Smart Play Award: 103
Mike Wade Memorial Award: Mr. Jerry Ely from 1089
Future Glory Award: 2606 (Pre-rookie from St. Hubert High School)

Additionally, congratulations to team coach Roger Weiss and team parents Jennifer Hammill and Anthony Schamper for being the recipients of this year’s Big Kahuna awards!

Finally, we would like to thank Mid-Atlantic Robotics (MAR), the North Brunswick Board of Education, Raider Robotix Parent & Mentor Association, Inc. (RRPMA) and the following key volunteers for helping make this event possible!

BE 11 Master of Ceremonies, Katie Stevens

Master of Ceremonies: Katie Stevens
Co-MC: Craig Howard
Announcers: Chris Gregory and Jeff Bunca
FTA: Bharat Nain
FTAAs: Joshua Morris and Corey Kirschner
Referees: Kristian Calhoun, Howard Cohen, Karin Kloberg, Siri Maley, Mohanish Shinde, and Phil Szymanowski
Queuers: Sara Reffler and Amanda Fowler
Judges: Ruth Kamen, Michael Stevens, Alexa Stott, Nisha and Neil Parikh
Hoku Award Sponsor and Evil Sundae Creator: Chef Timothy McGuire
Webcaster: Brian Mollica
Photographer: Brandan Calhoun

Pictures from the event can be found here.

We have compiled a playlist of videos from the event on our YouTube Channel here.

We look forward to seeing everyone back at next year’s Brunswick Eruption!

Ramp Riot Review

On November 10, 2012, Raider Robotix competed at Ramp Riot, an off-season event hosted by Team 341, Miss Daisy. Our 2010-2012 robot driver, Mohanish, graduated in June, so this was the team’s first event with a completely new driver.

The drive team at Ramp Riot 2012. From left to right: Harrison (human player), Michelle (operator), Kristian (drive coach), Kevin (driver). Photo by Kim O’Toole Eckhardt.

We started the day off by winning our first qualification match by a narrow margin, 14-12. During this match we noticed our robot was shooting balls with a much lower/flatter trajectory than it usually does. Additionally, our operator noticed the hood on our shooter was behaving somewhat erratically. The hood kept moving up and down on its own very rapidly, which made it difficult for us to take any shots.  With limited time before we were scheduled to be back on the field, we took the robot over to the corner of the gym to realign its headlight, which we thought might have contributed to some of our missed shots. We also tethered up the robot and realized we no longer had any response from the shooter hood at all. We checked that our stinger, the only other pneumatic subsystem on our robot, worked, which lead us to believe that there was something wrong with the solenoid connected to the hood. After tracing through the robot, we found that the PWM cable running to the hood’s solenoid had broken near its connection to the cRio’s solenoid breakout board.

We removed the solenoid from the robot and gave it to our pit crew to rewire while the drive team made its way to the field for the team’s second match. Without a working solenoid, our hood was stuck in the down position, which meant we could only shoot baskets from up close and therefore had to modify our strategy. We ended up running an autonomous routine that we had not touched since the Orlando Regional in February to try to score from the fender. To our surprise, we made both of our autonomous shots and our alliance started the match with a 25-point lead. A last second single balance secured us our second win of the day.

When we returned to the pits, the solenoid wiring was ready to be reinstalled and our hood started working again. The pit crew then noticed that one of the motors on our shooter needed adjusting, which explained why so many of our shots fell short in our first two matches. Good as new, our driver then went on to make a much higher percentage of shots taken in the remainder of our matches. We finished up our qualification matches with a 4-1-0 record. Our only loss was due to a technical foul on one of our alliance partners in one match, which that was enough to swing which alliance won.  We ultimately ended up seeding in 15th place out of 36, mostly due to only earning 2 Coopertition points.

Our head scout, Jason, accepting Team 2016’s invitation to join their alliance. Photo by Kim O’Toole Eckhardt.

During alliance selections, we were the third overall pick of the draft by Team 2016, the Might Monkey Wrenches. (You may recall we gave 2016’s drive team a ride to championships this past year after their plans fell through at the last second.) We were then lucky enough to snatch up Team 1640, Sa-BOT-age, to round out our alliance. Our autonomous strategy involved having 1640 feed us their two balls, which pretty much guaranteed us 24 points after autonomous mode. 2016 also had a pretty accurate autonomous mode, and so it was not uncommon for us to start our matches with 30-36 points. In our first quarterfinal match, our alliance set the high score for the event of 85 points, which included a 40-point triple balance.

We won the second quarterfinal match by a large margin and moved on to the semifinals to play the 2nd seeded alliance of 2607, 1218, and 75. We lost the first semifinal match due to a great defensive play by 1218, which prevented our alliance from balancing on the bridge. In the second semifinal, the score was neck-and-neck until the end game, but our robot tipped over as it was trying to balance and we lost match.

After watching the rest of the elimination rounds play out (congratulations to 1676, 341, and 2607.0 for winning!), our team stayed after the event to help disassemble and pack up the playing field.

Overall, we had a great time competing at Ramp Riot, and our new driver gained a lot of experience. We’re looking forward to see how he improves at Brunswick Eruption this weekend!

Rasheed Receives Recognition

The following article and video were published by Tom Haydon of The Star Ledger on Here is the original article.

North Brunswick High School wins national contest for creating robot that’s got game

North Brunswick High School students show off their robot during a pep rally in front of the entire student body Friday afternoon. This machine – it can play basketball – won an international robotics competition last weekend in St. Louis.
-Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger

NORTH BRUNSWICK — “Rasheed” rolled down the court, stopped at the foul line and launched a shot that banked off the backboard and dropped through the basket, drawing a roar from the crowd.It wasn’t a member of the varsity team making the shot, but a 4-foot-high robot, built by North Brunswick High School’s student robotics team, which last month won an international competition.

The second shot out of Rasheed’s (more about the name later) metal chute missed the basket. Undeterred, senior Mohanish Shinde swiftly worked the remote controls, steering the robot to roll over the high school gymnasium floor, scoop up miniature basketballs and then go back to the foul line and sink four more crowding-pleasing shots.

“It’s broken right now,” Shinde said of the robot. “That’s why we were missing shots.”

He quickly identified a loose gear, a malfunctioning battery and a faulty light that lines up the shot.

“In shipping it from St. Louis, it was messed up,” he said. It was in a competition in St. Louis, Mo., last weekend that the North Brunswick students topped 400 other teams from around the world — some coming from Australia and Israel.

More than 3,400 teams entered the competition, which begins each January. Teams are given a different task each year and then have six weeks to design plans, write a computer program and build a robot to do that task.

“It was really like the real world. You have no time,” said senior Tom Ikus, who led the pit crew and the building crew.

Adding to the difficultly this year, the school lost a major sponsor who had provided a work area for construction of the machine.
robot-north-brunswick-high-school-2.JPGAndrew Mills/The Star-LedgerTommy Ikuss (right) a North Brunswick High School senior, makes some last-second adjustments on their robot before a school-wide pep rally Friday afternoon. This robot won an international robotics competition last weekend in St. Louis.

Tommy Ikuss (right) a North Brunswick High School senior, makes some last-second adjustments on their robot before a school-wide pep rally Friday afternoon. This robot won an international robotics competition last weekend in St. Louis.
-Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger

Students worked late nights in North Brunswick and spent weekends sharing a work area with a school in Pennsylvania.”It’s full-time work. It’s like a varsity sport of the mind,” said Ikus, whose brother, Joseph, a junior, is also on the team.

North Brunswick won national robotics championships in 2000 and last year, but the school team had a slow start this year, with a poor showing at an early competition.

“We weren’t even expected to be in St. Louis,” said Wayne Cokeley, the North Brunswick high school teacher who has coached the robotics team for 17 years.

However, the team got in gear and won state, regional and national competitions, and then went onto international finals, performing well each time.

“We were making 14 out of 15 baskets in 2½ minutes,” Cokeley said. “That’s pretty good.”

Students named this year’s robot Rasheed Wallace after the retired professional basketball player who holds the record for most “technical” fouls.

Moonbots 2.0 Challenge Accepted!

Raider Robotix has entered Moonbots 2.0, a Google Lunar X-PRIZE LEGO MINDSTORMS Challenge. The final three winning teams will receive free registration for the 2012 FIRST season, among other prizes.

As of this writing, there are 75 teams registered for Phase One. Twenty of these teams, to be announced on July 5th, will move on to Phase Two of the competition.

July 5th Update: We have been selected as one of the twenty finalists in the competition! You can view the full list of teams that made the cut on the announcement page. Wish us good luck and continue to check out our progress at!

Raider Robotix Classroom Closeup [Video]

Below is a copy of the Classroom Closeup special, produced by Adam Bauser, about Raider Robotix that aired on NJN.

Team 25, Raider Robotix ( is an award-winning robotics team from North Brunswick High School that competes in FIRST ( competitions. By organizing into sub groups that include a build crew, drive team, scouting team, public relations, animation group, and spirit team, the organization provides opportunities for students to explore their interests in engineering, science, and more. Strong support from the local community, parents, and alumni contribute to the team’s continued success.

Robotics from Adam Bauser on Vimeo.

Raider Robotix on NJN!

Read the original article on written by Allison Cascone.

In a few weeks, the FIRST Robotics Competition team from North Brunswick High School, Raider Robotix, will appear on NJN to discuss FIRST and their team.  One of the larger teams in New Jersey, Raider Robotix (Team 25) has also been one of the most successful.  This year alone Team 25 won the Industrial Design Award, the Coopertition Award, and was apart of the winning alliance at both the New Jersey and Las Vegas Regional events.  They also competed at the World Championship in Atlanta, GA.  Raider Robotix are not only tough competitors but they give back to their community.  Each member must complete 10 hours of community service before the start of the new season.  They have also started RINOS  (Rookies in Need of Support) which works with rookie teams to help them with fundraisers, team building, and awards.

In Team 25′s video segment, the students, coaches, and mentors discussed the inner workings of their team.  Wayne Cokeley, a biology teach at North Brunswick High School and coach for team 25, describes how he was introduced to FIRST.  He saw a video of students working on a robots and learning about science as they did so.  He saw this as an opportunity to get his students excited about science and technology.  As he does not have a technical background, the team needed mentors from the community.  They found these mentors (as well as funding) at Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Michael Lubniewski is an automation engineer from Bristol-Myers Squibb and a mentor for Raider Robotix.  The mentors are an essential function of the team as they show the students how to use the tools, teach them about the software, and how to build the parts.  They also serve as role models for the kids and help them discover what engineering is.

The students also appear in the video to discuss how the team is organized.  Raider Robotix has not only a FRC team but 3 FIRST Tech Challenge teams.  They are one of the few teams in New Jersey who are able to organized their team like this.  The FTC teams serve as a JV team and they use FTC to train their younger students.  Here; however, the older students serve as the mentors.  They show the younger students how to build and program their robots as well as prepare them to speak to the judges at competitions.  One characteristic of the students you will notice (aside from their signature Hawaiian shirts!) is that they are all very well spoken.  Having judged the Raider Robotix FTC teams, I can verify that these students are very skilled in public speaking.

The segment will air on a few times in the new few weeks.  The dates are Sept. 13th at 7pm, Sept. 19th at 9pm, Oct. 18th at 7pm, and Oct. 23 at 9pm.  You can also view the video now at:  Congratulations to Raider Robotix and make sure you check back for information on their off-season event, Brunswick Eruption, on Nov. 6th!