For the first time in the history of the i.am.angel Foundation’s robotics program, one of the Lenovo ThinkBots teams advanced to a regional final, fighting as hard as the sleekly clever robots the team designed and built.
At the FIRST Tech Challenge Los Angeles Regional Championships in December 2016, the ThinkBots team competed in an alliance-based floor game against other teams’ robots. Even with some technical hitches during the game, the ThinkBots still managed to place in the middle of the pack, earning a score that unfortunately did not allow them to move on to the Super-Regional Tournament.
However, the team did come away with different kinds of victories. They had a strong showing in the Project area, where they had to identify a problem, develop an innovative tech solution, and present it to a panel of judges.
They also scored high for Core Values, including honoring the spirit of friendly competition, having fun, and displaying Gracious Professionalism. Part of the ethos of FIRST, Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.
After all, the ThinkBots’ mission goes far beyond winning tournaments. The team allows students, guided by mentors, to develop STEAM skills and practice innovative engineering principles while sharing ideas.
As part of their STEAM education, the ThinkBots team members continue to work using the ThinkStation P500 and ThinkPad P40 Yoga, which help them design their robots using ISV-certified applications from Autodesk and Adobe.
For the next competition season beginning in August 2017, the ThinkBots intend to field a “super team” of the most experienced students. Until then, the team is focused on practicing – and getting ready to keep on challenging what’s possible.