The Coast News Group

Rancho Santa Fe student competes at robot event

RANCHO SANTA FE — Rancho Santa Fe senior Carrie Fjeldheim with team members and Auto von Bismark made a strong showing for Francis Parker School during the 2009 For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, Robotics regional competition.
On March 6, the San Diego Sports Arena was transformed into a robotic proving ground, and Fjeldheim with W.A.R. Lords — short for We Are Robots Lords, and also known as the Parker Robotics Team. The event started with Francis Parker School senior Alie Jimenez singing the National Anthem.
This year, the Parker Robotics team designed the 5-foot-tall, approximately 120-pound robot named Auto von Bismarck. Auto is a construct of aluminum, wheels, surgical tubing, rollers, bolts, canvas and complex circuitry. It was designed to pick balls off the floor, carry them upwards via a vertical conveyor belt system, and then deliver the balls into mobile baskets attached to the back of other robots utilizing a dumping mechanism or a 180-degree swiveling turret system designed for single loading action and automated target tracking. The robot is the culmination of six weeks of work by about 15 students and the assistance of a handful of adult mentors.
The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe, using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules, which are a surprise every year. Teams build robots from the parts and then bring them to compete.
After eight qualifying matches, the Parker W.A.R. Lords were seeded 14th out of 56 teams. Upon winning the quarterfinals, the Lancer Team advanced to the semi-finals, losing the best of three matches. Although they didn’t make it to the final round, the W.A.R. Lords qualified to take Auto von Bismarck to the Las Vegas Regional competition in March.