Chasing the championship in Detroit
Perry Meridian High School’s state championship team – Cyber Blue 234 – chases the 2019 FIRST robotics world championship today through Saturday at the Cobo Center in Detroit.
The 35-member team emerged as FIRST Indiana champions last weekend from among 32 teams in the two-day meet in Kokomo.
The PMHS team goes to Detroit among 11 teams from Indiana, including No. 2-ranked TechHounds from Carmel High School. More than 800 teams are in the world meet. Cyber Blue is in its 21st year and consistently has advanced beyond state competition.
Teams must reach out for funding and supplies and volunteer professional engineers that Cyber Blue utilizes from Rolls Royce and Allison. Cyber Blue’s faculty advisor is PMHS teacher Shana Schreiner.
Cyber Blue has competed in multiple preliminary and double-elimination rounds with six and three teams competing at a time against each other In Indiana FiRST ((For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
Students work alongside professional engineers; build and compete with a robot of their own design; and develop design, project management, programming, teamwork, and strategic thinking skills.
This season’s competition is “Destination: Deep Space.” Worldwide, each team was to build a remote-control robot that could gather cargo and place in a mock spaceship for storage before a sandstorm would leave the rocket stranded on a planet.
The competition rightfully is called “The Super Bowl of Smarts.”
During a roundtable discussion Friday at PMHS, four integral Cyber Blue members talked about their experiences.
Junior Lilly Egan is on the manufacturing and assembly sub-team this year.
“This has helped me work and communicate with others because I was really shy before high school,” Egan said. “I have wanted to go into engineering, and this will help me narrow down a field.”
Senior Ryan Herrington is the team’s lead programmer. He will study intelligence systems engineering in the fall at Indiana University.
He praised the team’s adaptability, particularly replacing two burnt motors in the state meet.
“The drive team and pit workers combined their efforts; it was a mad dash,” Herrington said. “When something breaks, it is a tighter time squeeze to get everything ready for the next match.”
Senior Dean Schmidt also will study at Purdue. He is Cyber Blue’s lead designer and has broadened his appreciation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
“When I started high school, math was something that I thought I would only use on occasion,” Schmidt said. “I have learned how important math and physics are to be able to design such a complex system. “
Senior Emmet Sullivan also began with robotics in middle school and has continued through high school. He plans to study computer engineering at Purdue. He is the strategy and scouting captain for Cyber Blue.
“One of the duties is to design a software system that our experienced and less experienced team members can utilize for two days and understand what they are doing.”
His emphasis changed from designing a robot that could score the most points to being able to defend against other robots on the field and still score points to advance.
Cyber Blue teammates also have taken robotics to younger students at Meridian Middle School and 4th- and 5th-grade students at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.
“These students are awesome; they really work well together,” faculty advisor Schreiner said. “Gracious professionalism is the hallmark of what we do.”
Info: cyberblue234.com or indianafirst.org.