Dexter High School’s First Robotics Team to Compete in National Championship

April 20, 2015 – The Dexter High School FIRST Robotics team, the Dreadbots, has qualified to compete in the 2015 FIRST Championship. This is the second time the Dreadbots have qualified for ‘Worlds’ in their five-year history. The Championship event, held in St. Louis April 22-25, is expected to attract 600 robotics teams from 38 countries.

FIRST Robotics teams create purpose built robots each year, designed to play a highly competitive game, the rules of which change dramatically every season. The teams have only 6 weeks to design, build and test their competition robot. Robots have size restrictions and cannot weigh more than 120 pounds. Robots are required to utilize a standard 12-Volt battery and radio control system, but as can be readily seen by the stunning variety of successful designs, have few other restrictions.

The “Dreadbot V” operates autonomously as well as under the control of its student operators, who use game controllers to actuate about a dozen electric motors and pneumatic cylinders that power the robot during intense matches of about 2 minutes duration. Dreadbot team members have diverse and varied roles including programming, cheerleading, mechanical design, statistics, strategy, business planning, graphics and more. Many students learn new useful skills and become proficient on tools ranging from plasma cutters to 3D printers. All Dexter students are strongly encouraged to consider joining the team.

This year’s game is called RECYCLE RUSH. Each match consists of two 3-robot Alliances, each on one half of the playing field. The three teams on each Alliance work together on their side of the field to make stacks of up to six recycling totes and top them off with a full sized plastic trash barrel, a complete stack weighs about 60 pounds. Meanwhile, human players may lob pool noodles, called ‘litter,’ onto the opposing Alliance’s side of the field to foil the other Alliance’s robots and score extra points. Additional points can be earned by both Alliances if they cooperate to place four special recycling totes on the center wall that divides the field.

The Dreadbots earned a berth in the FIRST in Michigan State Championship, April 8-11, by competing at two district events. In their first event at Waterford Mott High School, the Dreadbots placed seventh out of 39 teams, putting them in a position to captain a three-team Alliance in the elimination rounds. Dexter and their Alliance partners, the ‘E-Ville Empire’ from Essexville and ‘Frog Force’ out of Novi, advanced to the semi-finals in very tough competition. The state of Michigan is well recognized within FIRST for having both the greatest number of teams and being among the most competitive robotics teams in the world.

The Gull Lake District Event was the Dreadbots’ second outing. There they joined forces with the ‘Greengineers’ of Berrien Springs and ‘Alotobots’ from Otsego to advance to the final round of competition, bringing home 2nd place medals. The Dreadbots also won the prestigious “Industrial Design Award” for their unique mechanical design and prototyping process.

The newly expanded Michigan State Championship, held at the Deltaplex in Grand Rapids for the first time in 2015, featured 102 of Michigan’s top high school robotics teams competing simultaneously on two fields. The State Championship event this year was attended by Governor Rick Snyder, as well as the founder of FIRST, Dean Kamen. Additionally, several Michigan based corporations, colleges and universities were present as sponsors and to meet with student team members. The competition was fierce but the Dreadbots came out ranked 52nd of 347 teams in Michigan, garnering a bid to the FIRST Championship Event.

The Dreadbots wish to thank their generous sponsors: Google / Ford Motor Company / Maker Works / NuStep / Dexter Research Center, Inc. / Hatch Stamping Company / Terumo Cardiovascular Systems Corp. / Dexter A & W Restaurant / Michigan Aerospace / Dexter Builders / Dexter Lions Club / Dexter Family Dentistry, P.C. / Hackney Ace Hardware / Dapco / Chelsea State Bank / Boullion Sales / Beacon Dental/ Natalie Henke, DDS & DEXTER HIGH SCHOOL.

Interested persons may attend the Championship event in St. Louis free of charge, or may follow the action being webcast by NASA by following links at http://www.firstchampionship.org/first-championship/watch-it-live.

Donations in support of the Dreadbots’ trip to the FIRST Championship Event can be made to: DHS Dreadbots, Acct. #66 2431 6670 Dexter Dreadbots, c/o Jennifer Bryson, 8252 Bridgeway Dr. Dexter, MI 48130

Thank you to the Dexter Community School district staff for providing this press release for publish.

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