Garrett County Government - Department of Business Development

15th Season Under Way for Robotics Team 1629

Last Updated on Feb 22, 2019 at 10:20am | Education

Article courtesy of NCWV Media - The Republican. Staff Writer: Brenda Ruggiero. Photo Credit: Brenda Ruggiero.
Garrett County’s FIRST Robotics Team 1629, GaCo, welcomed the community to an open house at GEARS on Sunday afternoon to mark its 15th season.
GaCo — Garrett Coalition — is comprised of students from both Southern and Northern Garrett high schools. The team revealed its 2019 robot, which was designed and built to compete in this year’s FRC “Deep Space” game challenge.
The team also expressed appreciation for the support received from its partners and the community as a whole.
Team 1629 uses this support to not only meet its operating costs, but to make a difference for all Garrett County public schools.
The six-week robot build period, in which all 3,800 FRC teams have to create their machines for competition, was set to end Tuesday.
This year’s game commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. In honor of this, the team recently presented Jason Shank from the Hickory Environmental Education Center with a 1:116 scale Lego model of the Saturn V rocket that was used for the Apollo 11 moon mission.
Team members noted that they hope that the Saturn V model will serve as a reminder of the tremendous challenge that NASA met 50 years ago putting a man on the moon — for which many of the calculations were performed using a slide rule.
The Saturn V remains the tallest, heaviest and most-powerful rocket ever brought to operational status. Its initial stage provided over 7.6 million pounds-force (34,000 kN) of thrust.
An exact duplicate LEGO model of the Saturn V that was presented to HEEC was on display at the open house.
“I want to thank you all for coming out today, and I want to thank our mentors,” adviser Chuck Trautwein said. “It’s just a perfect storm situation where all these people come together and make this program happen.”
He mentioned the newest and youngest mentor, Josh Smith, a former team member.
“What’s really special about this young man is that he graduated two years ago and he’s going to school at Frostburg and he’s come back to help mentor, so that’s super,” Trautwein said.
He also mentioned mentors Larry Mullenax, Sandy Derato, Tammy Beitzel, and Pam Trautwein.
He explained that the game is different every year, but it is always played on a 54-by 27-foot playing field.
“Thanks to GEARS and the county commissioners who provide the space for us,” he said. “It’s a great advantage to have.”
Trautwein spoke glowingly of reaching the 15th season, and the ever-growing pool of alumni.
“We have lots of families that have been with us since the very beginning,” he said. “It’s sad to see them go, but I’m glad they’re doing really great things out there.”
On display shelves at GEARS — Garrett Engineering And Robotics Society Inc. — are robots from nearly every year of competition.
“The first year is not up there,” Trautwein said. “If you look at the supports holding up that shelf, that’s what’s left of our first-year robot. We didn’t have the foresight to save the first year’s robot, but it was a beautiful creation. Since then, we’ve been able to save all the robots and put them up on display.”
Trautwein and several team members explained the object of the game, which involves three robots in alliance against other robots trying to do the same things on their respective side of the field. A demonstration was also given.
“There are about 3,500 teams just like us throughout the world,” Trautwein said. “All 3,500 teams — once we know what the game is, which is released at the beginning of January — have six weeks to design and build their robot. This robot has to be put in a bag, tagged and certified hands-off in 58 hours. Thanks to our partners at Pillar, we are fortunate enough to have enough parts and pieces to build a practice robot.”
The team will travel to its first competition in Virginia in about two weeks.