Lightning Blue Lizards rush to meet March deadlines

Lightning+Blue+Lizards+rush+to+meet+March+deadlines

Camilo Agudelo and Tomas Arcila

The TCS Robotics team The Lightning Blue Lizards are preparing for their first in-person robotics tournament in almost two years March 1 in Miami, Florida.

COVID travel restrictions in the US greatly harmed events all over the world and robotics, in particular, was heavily hit. The robotics team wasn’t able attend any tournament since 2019, the year in which they competed in the Miami regionals winning best rookie team, giving them a pass to the Houston championships.

“We are the only Colombian team so far to ever make it to the Houston championship,” Andrea Cardenas, Senior and Team Captain, said.

The team’s goal is to make the best design possible according to the tournament requirements and specifications. They must use all the tools that they can to make sure that the design is functional and that the robot is able to complete the challenge they’ve been given with ease.

“That same Saturday on January 8 we started doing some brainstorming on how the robot was going to complete all the challenges. Now we are up to week three, and we have a pretty good solid prototype” Julian Zuñiga, Tech teacher, said.

The team’s challenge is to finish the robot with their sharp deadline, given less time than normal. The lightning blue lizards are doing their best to finish it before the competition next month.

“We have 3 main subsystems. The first one is the intake which picks up balls that are laid on the field, the second one is the shooter, which takes those balls from the intake and shoots them into 2 holes,” Cardenas said.

Despite the fact they couldn’t compete or travel for over a year, the team has found innovated ways to keep working and moving forward. This year they participated in the annual TOM event that solves everyday problems for people who are disabled.

“We continued working but in a different way. Instead of building robots, we decided to build a prototype for Laura, a TOM Needknower who is a triathlete who has an upper elbow amputation,” Cardenas said.

The Lightning Blue Lizards started brainstorming and prototyping on January 8th of last year, leading all the way to where they are now.

“We are coming to an end of the prototyping session and we are about to begin building the final subsystem” Cardenas, said.

Teachers and students have expressed their confidence in the team, they believe that they are ready and when the time comes, they will be able to perform great feats of ingenuity, innovation, and design.

“Students are very committed. Everybody is staying after school like we stay until 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm… sometimes we stay until midnight working on the robot,” Zuñiga, said.