Picatinny Arsenal

Picatinny Arsenal is an American military research and manufacturing facility located in northern New Jersey. Providing mechanisms and services to multiple branches of the U.S. Military, Picatinny Arsenal is the Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition. Their mission is to aid and support Army transformation goals; through this, Picatinny Arsenal has formed close partnerships with universities and other facilities.

During the 2016 season, our robot’s performance caught the eye of a Picatinny Arsenal representative at the Bridgewater-Raritan district event. Picatinny Arsenal became an official team sponsor for the 2017 season and we enjoy working with them to spread the message of #PICASTEM! We hope to continue our partnership with them in the oncoming robotics seasons.

Click here to learn more about them!

Brunswick Eruption Sweet 16!

By: Nicole Eng & Arushi Bhatia

Our annual off-season event, Brunswick Eruption, was held on November 11, 2017 for the 16th year. A total of 40 teams from across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania compacted into the NBTHS gymnasium to compete in the 2017 FRC game, Steamworks.

Event setup began the previous day when team members and volunteers arrived at 9 AM to begin emptying the field elements from the POD storage containers. Team 747, who we would like to especially thank, came to assist us, as building the field was a long and rigorous task. Although this year included the addition of the airships to set up, our volunteers split into groups to construct each part of the field. By doing this, we were able to have the entire field up in no time. Once this assignment was completed, only minor jobs–like wiring field electronics and setting up the robot pits and concession stands–were left before everything was prepared for the big day.

All field elements were tested first thing on Saturday morning before matches began. Practice matches kicked off the long, yet exciting day of competition. Teams also participated in our food drive and shoe drive prior to opening ceremonies. Immediately after opening ceremonies ended, the match schedule was posted, teams began queueing up, and qualification matches began. Teams were eager to see their robots’ performance for the very last time this season. Qualification matches went by quickly as teams watched and recalled the intensity of the competition one last time.

Alliance selections were conducted right before the lunch break; the top eight seeded teams took the field and carefully selected two teams, plus a backup, to form the strongest alliances possible. Our annual Evil Sundae competition was held right before playoff rounds. The Evil Sundae is a “sundae” that consists of a combination of unusual ingredients, Whoever eats the entire sundae the fastest wins! This year’s sundae included: a pancake, three brussel sprouts, half a sardine, mustard sauce, honey barbecue sauce, hot cheetos with mac and cheese, honey, whipped cream, gummy worms, red hot candy and bacon. Sounds delicious, right?

The alliances were as follows:

1) 694, 5895, 1257, 41

2) 747, 222, 3637, 102

3) 1279, 2590, 219, 56

4) 533, 303, 1089, 1626

5) 75, 25, 4653, 6327

6) 2601, 333, 527, 3340

7) 806, 4575, 369, 5421

8) 1923, 4361, 271, 3142

These eight alliances battled their way through the playoffs until it came down to the last bracket: the finals matches. This home stretch reached out to the audience and left them on the edge of their seats. The first seeded alliance and second seeded alliance were left to fight until the champion came out victorious. After just two matches, alliance one conquered the field and were crowned the triumphant winners.

Congratulations to the following teams and individuals for taking home Brunswick Eruption Tiki Trophies:

Winners: 694, 5895, 1257, 41

Finalists: 747, 222, 3637, 102

Mahlo Award: 747

Food Drive Award: 806 (a total of 1,480 items collected)

Shoe Drive Award: 1626 (a total of 473 pairs collected)

Evil Sundae Survivor: Ironmen Robotics (Team 4653)

Kumu Mentor Award: Joe McCullough (Team 4575)

Big Kahuna Award: Harshal Dalal

Lastly, we would like to give a huge thank you to all the volunteers who contributed their time to make this year’s event such a success! To Team 747 and Team 4575, who lent their helping hands to speed up the cleanup process, we graciously thank you! This year’s event was such a success and we would love to see everyone back next year! Visit the Raider Robotix Flickr page to check out more photos from the event!

Heritage Day 2017!

October 7th, 2017

Raider Robotix once again made an appearance at the annual Heritage Day festival in North Brunswick! Thew team’s booth was open from 12 pm to 5 pm. The team presented what Raider Robotix is all about to the adults and kids who stopped by. Bringing along the pre-made gear dropper and rope, many people were intrigued as they talked about the robot and the 2017 FIRST Steamworks game. In addition, we explained our elementary school robotics program to parents, which will help build future members of Raider Robotix. The team also collected shoes as part of our shoe drive, which will continue going on at Brunswick Eruption!

The next event that Raider Robotix will attend is Brunswick Eruption 16, an off-season event that Team 25 hosts every year. The event will be held at the North Brunswick Township High School, and doors will open at 8 am! 40 teams from around the tri-state area will be there and Team 25 hopes to see support from our community too!

St. Louis World Championship — Completing Our 21st season

Raider Robotix has ended the season on a great note! The St. Louis World Championship was the biggest competition yet and much more challenging than anything we had faced thus far in the 2017 season. There were robots from all over the country and around the world! It was interesting for our pit scouters to see all the different robots in our division and attending the whole competition. There were teams all the way from Israel and Canada to Florida and Texas to friendly faces from Mid-Atlantic Robotics.

We were placed in the Carson division along with a few other friendly faces from the region, such as Team 303. After a tiring 114 qualification matches, our team ranked 25th out of 68, with a 6-4 record. During alliance selections, our team was was picked by alliance #1, captained by Team 303 – TEST team, with whom we won Mount Olive, Team 2451 – PWNAGE, and 2194 – Fondy Fire.

As the fourth team picked for the alliance, we were the backup bot. Should anything happen to the other robots, we were ready to take their place. However, our scouts and strategy team provided information to the alliance to shape the game play on the field. Our drive coach, Shaun, proved valuable behind the player station glass, helping to execute strategies. The alliance made it past the quarterfinals, but then lost in two semifinals matches with scores of 472-538 and 411-532. Despite this loss, Raider Robotix had a very successful season winning two blue banners at the district events. After a four year drought, our team now has now earned 21 total blue banners over the course of our 21 year history.

This season we had a completely new drive team and pit crew and they worked tremendously together and did outstanding for their first time. Our scouts, being all freshmen, learned a lot about how FIRST works and helped us a lot throughout the season. In all, everyone on the team played a vital part in the success of this season. We’re looking forward to our next event, our annual off-season, Brunswick Eruption, hosted here at North Brunswick Township High School! We’re looking forward to seeing all of you there to support our team!

MAR District Championship Event – World Championship here we come!

It was a crazy four days for Raider Robotix! Starting from the first day of the Mid-Atlantic Region District Championship when the Pit and Drive Team set up, to the last day when we qualified for the St. Louis World Championship, it was a ride!

The President of FIRST, Don Bossi, happened to stay at the same hotel as our team and took note of our team’s conduct. During the first day’s opening ceremony, Don gave our team a shout out for exemplifying the concept of “gracious professionalism” while representing FIRST in public. This recognition made our coaches and mentors proud of the team.

With over 100 qualification matches to be played, our scouts were hard at work, looking to see which teams would be best align with ours to to try to win 

the regional championship event. The level of competition at this event was higher than our previous two district events, as all 60 teams from the NJ/PA/DE area had to qualify to compete there. Amongst the competitors were robots with a lot of different features, all of which could be useful to win.

During alliance selections, the #8 seeded team, Team 1923 – The MidKnight Inventors picked us and Team 75 – RoboRaiders as partners for their alliance, which was the same exact alliance we assembled at the Montgomery District Event the previous week! Everyone from the teams was very excited to see what we could accomplish together again. From working together at the Montgomery event, we already had a good camaraderie and knew what our game plan would be for the playoffs.

Unfortunately, our Alliance did not make it through quarterfinals and were eliminated from the tournament. However, our cumulative performance at our first two district events and this regeional championship earned us enough ranking points to qualify Raider Robotix for the St. Louis World Championships! We have previously won the World Championship in 2000 and 2012 and hope to add another blue banner to our two existing ones from this season!

We are looking forward to our next competition at the St. Louis World Championships at America’s Center Dome in St.Louis, MO April 27-29! Especially because this will be the last year the championship will be held in St. Louis!

Montgomery District Event – Another Victory!

It was another amazing weekend for Raider Robotix! We competed in our second district event of the season at Montgomery High School and our alliance once again soared to first place! Along with us, the other two teams were Team 1923 – The MidKnight Inventors from Plainsboro, NJ and Team 75 – RoboRaiders from Hillsborough, NJ. It took all three teams working together as one with their different skills to prevail at this intense competition.

As all events begin, our scouting team kept an observant eye on the ‘alliance-worthy’ teams as 74 qualification matches were played. Our scouts work hard to record the best data possible to help determine which other teams’ robots would best compliment our own for the elimination rounds. Throughout the competition, our pit crew and drive team were hard at work performing robot repairs in between matches to keep it running in tip-top shape on the field. We ended the qualifications rounds with a record of 6 wins and 6 losses and ranked 22nd out of 38 teams. By the end of the intense scouting meeting that night, we thought we might get picked by Team 303 or Team 225.

We waited with baited breath during the alliance selection process to see where our team would be selected. We ended up being the first pick for Alliance #8, captained by Team 75 – RoboRaiders, who originallyseeded 11th. Since the draft is serpentine, we had to immediately select the third team who would round out our alliance. Our strategy leaders quite literally ran to the opposite side of the gymnasium to confer with Team 75 about who we wanted to select. Unanimously, we selected Team 1923 – The MidKnight Inventors to complete our alliance. It was nice to see friendly faces again because we won with Team 1923 at the Mount Olive MAR District Event three weeks prior! Anticipating how the other alliances with fuel-shooting capabilities would play during the elimination rounds, our alliance came together to develop a complete gear game strategy, complete with the potential for a two-rotor autonomous mode.

The strategy worked, as throughout the quarterfinals, we beat the #1 Alliance, which included the # 1 ranked team Team 303 – The TEST Team along with their partners’ Team 225 – TechFire and 4653 – Ironmen Robotics. During semifinals, our alliance beat Alliance # 5 (Teams 1676, 1279 and 223) two out of three matches. One of the matches we had an extra gear after getting four rotors started, and our pilots proudly held up in the air in excitement. We headed into the finals against teams 11 – MORT, 222- Tigertrons, and 2016 – The Mighty Monkey Wrenches.

This alliance played with similar strategies by trying to get four rotors started, which was accomplished in only the first finals match. In final matches 2 and 3, our alliance beat Alliance #5 by getting all four rotors started, and we beat Alliance #5 by 55 points in the third final match! It was a very close and amazing victory for Alliance #8 – Raider Robotix, RoboRaiders, and The MidKnight Inventors!

Starting from Mount Olive and making our way here, we have really grown as a team and hope to continue this winning momentum throughout the rest of the season! Our next competition is the Mid-Atlantic Region District Championship at Lehigh University at the Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA April 5-8.

Mount Olive District Event – Taking Home the Gold!

Oh, what a weekend it has been. This weekend, the Raiders participated in our first competition of the season at Mount Olive High School. Our scouting team constructed a winning alliance that soared to first place! Shout-out to our alliance members: Team 303 – the T.E.S.T Team from Bridgewater, NJ and Team 1923 – The MidKnight Inventors from Plainsboro, NJ. The win was truly a team effort requiring everyone’s unique skills.

The district event began on Saturday with qualifying matches where each alliance was psuedo-randomly assigned. All in all, there were 74 matches, each team participating in 12. Members of our scouting team sat in the stands keeping a tight vigil. We recorded a variety of statistics about all the teams competing, including shooting efficiency, rate of delivering gears, and ability to climb the rope. Very quickly, it became obvious which teams were able to consistently perform at a high level. Teams like 222 – Tigertrons, 293 – SPIKE, 747 – Flight Crew, and others caught our scouts’ attention. In one of our matches, our fellow alliance members didn’t show up, resulting in a 1 versus 3 game. We lost the game, but were still able to put up a large sum of points. Despite the setback, we relished the opportunity for our robot to shine solo and were sure other teams took notice.

The qualifying matches wrapped up Sunday morning and our team, along with teams 222 and 2016, scored the highest score of the event thus far (400 points) in the second to last match before alliance selections. With a record of 9-2-1, our team finished ranked second out of the 37 attending teams. During the alliance selection process, the number 1 seed, 293, selected team 222. We then selected team 303 and were excited to also pick up 1923 on the second half of the serpentine draft.

Our alliance bested the 7th seeded alliance in the quarterfinals and 6th seeded alliance in the semi finals. In the finals, we and our opponents (teams 747, 75, and 1403) had very similar strategies, focusing on gear delivery occasionally augmented by shooting fuel. Team 303 really shined in this area. Their firing rate and aim gave us the edge. While the points from fuel are small, they make a difference when opponents have matched gear delivery and climbing abilities. Ultimately, our alliance emerged on top!

Team 25 really shined today at Mount Olive. Between our pit crew, scouts, drivers, and alliance members, we all really clicked and were able to successfully execute our planned strategies. We hope our auspicious start is a sign of bigger victories ahead!

Our next competition is the MAR Montgomery District Event held at Montgomery High School in Skillman, NJ April 1-2.