The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Shooting hoops with robots


by Vivian Kuo
“Robotics first; life can wait.” -Kevin Chou(11). Kevin, along with a group of dedicated robotics aficionados, is currently preparing for the Formosa VEX competition on December 5th, 2015.
Every year, TAS has the honor of hosting this competition that brings all the robot enthusiasts together every year. This year’s competition is no exception. Each annual competition has a different set of rules, and year’s competition is titled “Nothing but Nets”-which is, basically an exhilarating game of basketball scored by student designed robots. The objective of the game is to acquire a higher score than the opposing team by dropping the balls into the goal. There are two types of balls: bonus balls(located in the arena) and regular balls(constantly loaded outside of the arena). Also, the goal’s altitude varies, so the robots are crafted carefully in order to exceed maximum performance in the arena.
Like the NBA with myriads of teams, the amount of participants in the competition also increased a lot from 2014 – 2015. There are thirty seven teams in total this year, with nine from the TAS upper school and eight from the middle school. Teams from the other schools-TIS, ISKL, KAIS, SAS, ISB, and HIS- have long prepared themselves for this intensive battle. We asked Jinhyun Park, a team leader (12) about the other team’s ability judging from his previous experiences in participating the competition, and here’s what he said: “I think how good they are is relative,but they haven’t been able to win TAS and our team is planning to keep it that way”. Alongside with their enthusiasm and confidence, the TAS students have also had many intensive building sessions. Most of them go 2-3 times each week; however, as the competition draws near, you can see the students working in the lab almost every day.
Speaking of robots, Kevin Chou(10) is vigorously working on their team’s competition robot. They designed a prototype in Autodesk Inventor (a software for engineering, construction and so on…) over the summer and so far, the hardware is about 85% complete. Kevin states that he “loves being part of the vex robotics community because everyone is pretty chill and easy to approach”. This is his 3rd year participating in the VEX competition and he thinks that it is a great way to dive deeper into robotics – to learn more and explore this topic. If one wants to win the competition, one would have to be very dedicated. As fun as robotics might sound, he said that it could be vain and fruitless at times too. However, the triumphs comes after all the hardships. Daniel Shen(11)’s most memorable moment when constructing the robot is to finally “get the custom differential(a part of the robot) to fit in the robot frame by the 957385th attempt.” No joke. The TAS team members are wholeheartedly dedicated into preparing the competition and are all working hard towards the gold. So, do make sure you go and cheer them on.
This is a great chance to see what your friends are doing outside the classrooms and get a glance of the intensive robotics community at TAS. This is also a great chance to witness an intense basketball game played by prudently crafted robots. For those of you out there who want to get to know more about robotics, don’t miss this great opportunity to go, watch, and cheer on our teams. Go Tigers!

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