MSSM Robotics Team Returns from World Championship

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 11:00 AM EDT
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The Maine School of Science and Mathematics Robotics Team was in Texas last week to compete for the title of World Champions, and now that their back home NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard caught up with them to see how they did.

The sound of servos and pneumatics fill the room as Chandler Pike, Builder and Driver for the MSSM Robotics Team, makes piloting this robot look easy. Last week, the team competed in the VEX Robotics World Championship in Dallas, Texas.

“Vex is a robotics competition for high school teams across all over the world. There were 49 states and I think 80 different countries.” says Pike.

Over 800 teams competed in the world championship, including 7 teams from the State of Maine. The goal, to maneuver your robot to lift and carry weights, and balance them on platforms. The teams could gain extra points by gathering rings and attaching them to the weights.

“The biggest challenge is that it exists in the real world” - Sage Santomenna – MSSM Robotics Team

Sage Santomenna, Lead Programmer, along with Evyn Lally and David Kim, describe the challenge of turning lines of computer code into measurable actions the robot performs.

“In a computer it’s very easy to say “The robot moved exactly 1 millimeter” and we know what that means, but on a real robot the wheels can slip, sometimes the robot changes it’s center of mass when you move things up and down, and so the program has to adjust for that” says Santomenna.

The team ended up finishing 22nd in their division, and the team is considered one of the top 160 teams in the world. Dakota Gendreau, Director of Athletics and Student Activities for the school says he was proud, but not surprised at how they performed in the World Championship.

“Incredibly proud, it’s something that, upon me arriving at the school I was told 2 weeks in, we have a strong VEX program and oh by the way, be ready because we have a team that if definitely a contender to go to the world championships” says Gendreau.

Gendreau said that during the Championship, the level of competition was fierce. Newcomer to the team Henry Tun, says though this is his first year on the team, his teammates have inspired him to play a bigger role next year.

“At this point I kind of find myself committed to the team, even though I didn’t really do that much this year. I’m hoping to learn more on how to build, I’m planning on learning from our Main Builder, Chandler, and I’m hoping next year I can maybe be the Main Builder” says Tun.

With two members of the team graduating this year, new members will have to be recruited, but all the kids are excited for the chance to test their skills and smarts against other robotics teams around the world.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8

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