The SparX FIRST Robotics team was founded in the fall of 2002, consisting of both Webster Thomas and Webster Schroeder High School students. Since our rookie year SparX has gone on to win five regional events, six regional finals, countless design awards, and even two championship divisions. However, what the team prides itself on is the abundance of students that have gone on to study in Science and Technology, and the many of alum who have come back to help mentor the team.
SparX focuses on innovation and pushing the boundaries of math and science. The team has accomplished immense success both on the field and in the shop. The amount of knowledge gained by these innovative designs has helped the students to develop increasingly advanced designs each year.
SparX Rookie Year was 2003. We have participated in every game since then. Here is a chronological listing of the game followed by the events we played and the awards received.
We are very active and enthusiastically support:
FIRST STEAMworks, is the FIRST Robotics Competition game for the 2017 season. As in past games, two alliances of three individual teams and their robots compete on a field to score “match” point to win the game and ranking points to advance to playoff rounds. The game has a steampunk theme and teams are required to shoot wiffleballs which represent fuel into a simulated boiler which transfers the generated steam into an airship in the middle of the field. Each alliance has one airship, which they pressurize with steam from the boiler and load with plastic gears from the field. At the end of the match, robots can climb and hang on team-supplied ropes (or standard ropes supplied by FIRST) attached to the airship for additional points.
Buckeye Regional-Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation
FIRST Stronghold was the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition game. The game was played by two alliances of up to three teams each, and involves breaching the opponents’ defenses, known as outer work as well as capturing their tower by first firing “boulders” (small foam balls) at it, and then surrounding or scaling the tower using a singular rung on the tower wall. Points were scored by crossing elements of the tower’s outer works, shooting boulders into the opposing tower’s five goals in order to lower the tower strength, and by surrounding and scaling the tower
Greater Pittsburgh Regional-Regional Winners
This year, the objective of the game was to stack up totes and recycling containers on top of steps in order to earn points. This particular game had 3 game pieces. Totes were rectangular in shape and were worth 2 points for each one on a stack. Containers were cylindrical and were worth 4 times the lowest level the container was on. Litter was represented by pool noodles. Each pool noodle in a can on a stack earned 6 points. Litter in the landfill earned 1 point. Unsorted litter on one alliance’s side earned the other team 4 points. The game also featured a central step, on which teams could stack yellow totes for extra points.
2015: Mr. Miyagi
Finger Lakes Regional -Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox &Volunteer of the Year
Greater Pittsburgh Regional-Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox
AERIAL ASSIST is played by two competing Alliances of three robots each on a flat 25’ x 54’ foot field, straddled by a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor. The objective is to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two (2)-minute and 30-second match. The more Alliances score their ball in their goals, and the more they work together to do it, the more points their Alliance receives.
The match begins with one 10-second Autonomous Period in which robots operate independently of driver. Each robot may begin with a ball and attempt to score it in a goal. Alliances earn bonus points for scoring balls in this mode and for any of their robots that move in to their zones. Additionally, each high/low pair of goals will be designated “hot” for five seconds, but the order of which side is first is randomized. For each ball scored in a “hot” goal, the Alliance earns additional bonus points.
For the rest of the match, drivers remotely control robots from behind a protective wall. Once all balls in autonomous are scored, only one ball is re-entered in to play, and the Alliances must cycle a single ball as many times as possible for the remainder of the match. With the single ball, they try to maximize their points earned by throwing balls over the truss, catching balls launched over the truss, and scoring in the high and low goals on the far side of the field.
Alliances receive large bonuses for “assists,” which are earned for each robot that has possession of the ball in a zone as the ball moves down the field.
New York Tech Valley Regional-Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox & Regional Winners
Ultimate Ascent is played by two competing alliances on a flat, 27 x 54 foot field. Each Alliance consists of three robots, and they compete to score as many discs into their goals as they can during a two (2)-minute and fifteen (15)-second match. The higher the goal in which the disc is scored, the more points the Alliance receives. The match begins with a fifteen (15)-second Autonomous Period in which robots operate independently of driver inputs. Discs scored during this period are worth additional points. For the remainder of the match, drivers control robots and try to maximize their alliance score by scoring as many goals as possible. The match ends with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field. Each robot earns points based on how high it climbs.
- 2013: Bull’s Eye
Finger Lakes Regional -Regional Finalists
Rebound Rumble℠ is played by two competing Alliances on a flat, 27 x 54 foot field. Each Alliance consists of three robots. They compete to score as many basketballs into their hoops as they can during a 2 minute and 15 second match. The higher the hoop in which the basketball is scored, the more points the Alliance receives. The match begins with a 15-second Hybrid Period in which robots operate independently of driver inputs. During this Hybrid Period, one robot on each Alliance may be controlled using a Microsoft Kinect. Baskets scored during this period are worth extra points. For the remainder of the match, drivers control robots and try to maximize their Alliance score by scoring as many baskets as possible
- 2012: Legacy X
Playing pieces are inner tubes shaped like the components of the FIRST logo. The primary objective of the game is to place them on racks to gain points. In the endgame, robots deploy smaller robots (“minibots”) to climb a tower. Minibots must be made from the FIRST Tech Challenge kit of parts. The game celebrates the 20th season of the FRC and is also meant to commemorate the artist Jack Kamen, who designed the original FIRST logo
- 2011: Skyclaw 2.0
Buckeye Regional-Quality Award sponsored by Motorola & Regional Finalists
Finger Lakes Regional -Judges’ Award & Regional Finalists
.Two ALLIANCES, one red and one blue, composed of three FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams each, compete in each MATCH. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than your opponent by shooting BALLS into a GOAL, climbing on the ALLIANCE TOWER or PLATFORM, or by lifting an ALLIANCE ROBOT off the PLAYING SURFACE.
- 2010: Low Rider
Finger Lakes Regional-Gracious Professionalism Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson
The goal of the game is to score as many of the game pieces in the opposing side’s trailers as possible. Robots start out in front of the opposite alliances’ human players. There is a 15 second autonomous period, during which robots operate according to programs that teams download to their robot, and a 2 minute Teleoperated period, where robots are driven and controlled by a human drive subteam at one end of the field. Empty cells (also worth 2 points) must be handed to a robot by the “payload specialist” at the mid-field position known as the “outpost”. The robot must deliver the Empty Cell to their human player on one of the corners in order to get a Super Cell that is worth 15 points. A robot can only carry one Empty Cell at a time. Super Cells can only be put into play during the last 20 seconds of play, and only if the human player has been delivered an Empty Cell
- 2009: Spin Cycle
Greater Toronto Regional– Xerox Creativity Award
Finger Lakes Regional-Johnson & Johnson Gracious Professionalism
Two ALLIANCES, one red and one blue, composed of three teams each, compete in each MATCH. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than your opponent by making counter-clockwise laps with your robot around the TRACK while moving large TRACKBALLS over and/or under the OVERPASS that bisects the TRACK.
- 2008: Tickling Scorpion
Buckeye Regional-Regional Winners & Motorola Quality Award
Finger Lakes Regional-Regional Finalists
Two ALLIANCES, one red and one blue, composed of three teams each, compete in each match. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than your opponent ALLIANCE by placing toroidal GAME PIECES on the central goal structure (the RACK), and/or by having ROBOTS in their HOME ZONE and not in contact with the playing field at the end of the match.
- 2007: Skyclaw
Buckeye Regional-General Motors Industrial Design Award & Regional Finalists
Finger Lakes Regional-Rockwell Automation Innovation in Control Award
“AIM HIGH” will present the teams with several new challenges: A 3 versus 3 alliance competition, with 3 vs 2 offense/defense periods. A lighted target to improve vision system function (camera and associated electronics) Launching balls and pushing balls into goals.
Each Alliance Zone has (above photograph-in red):
Three Goals for each alliance
1 Center Goal for each alliance
2 Corner Goals for each alliance
3 RED human players and 3 BLUE human players stand in their alliance zones. Players must throw retrieved balls over the Plexiglas shields from behind the starting line to replenish alliance robot depleted balls, score single alliance points by manually throwing balls into corner goals, or throwing balls to disrupt opposing alliance ball launches.
Each alliance will have a maximum of 40 balls to start the game. Robots may contain up to a maximum of 10 balls at the start. Any balls not contained within the alliance robots will be provided to the alliance human players.
Robots will attempt to launch balls into the center goal for 3 points. Robots or human players may score a single point by throwing or pushing balls into the corner goals. Balls must stay in the goal and exit via the exit chute to count for a score. Human players may retrieve balls from the corner goals and / or center goal storage container. Human players can replenish any alliance robot and can share balls to maximize their scoring opportunities.
Each 2 minute, 10 second match, will feature two (2) three-team alliances playing from opposite ends of the field. The robots start from mid-field positions. Each match will consist of (4) periods: 1) period one autonomous mode (10 seconds), 2) a second (40 second) period, 3) a third (40 second) period, 4) and a final (40 second) period. After the autonomous period in which the robots control themselves, the robots are controlled by their drivers.
During the 10-second autonomous period at the start of a match, all robots can score points. The alliance with the highest score at the end of autonomous period will receive a 10 point bonus and be on “defense” in the next period.
During the second and third periods, one alliance is on offense and can score goals, and the other is on defense and cannot score goals. During these offense/defense periods, the defensive alliance must maintain a “BackBot”, which remains on its offensive side of the field either gathering balls, or setting up for shots, but not interfering with the offensive alliance.
In the third period, the scoring opportunity and the BackBot requirement switches. In the final period both alliances can score goals and/or play defense. Before the end of the match, alliance robots will speed back to their end zones and climb the ramp to the platform. Robots will score points for reaching their home platform before the end of the game: 5 points for one robot, 10 points for two robots and 25 points for 3 or more robots. Robots on an opposing alliances’ platform will be scored as points for their opponent.
- 2006: Fruity Pebbles
The Championship Event– Championship Division Winners – Galileo
Finger Lakes Regional-RadioShack Innovation in Control Award & Regional Winners
TRIPLE PLAY: Two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – composed of three teams each compete in each match. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than your opponent alliance by placing tetras on or into goals, getting three goals in a row capped with tetras, and/or having all three robots on an alliance in their end zone at the end of the match.
- 2005: Tetradactyl
Buckeye Regional-RadioShack Innovation in Control Award
The object of the game is to attain a higher score than your opponent alliance by delivering balls into goals, capping goals with larger balls, and/or having robots hanging from the Pull-Up Bar at the end of the round of competition.
- 2004: Pneumatic Nightmare
Buckeye Regional-Regional Winners
The 2003 Game – Stack Attack – is played on a 54-foot long by 24-foot wide playing field. A 2-foot high platform that is 4-feet wide by 12-feet long is located across the center of the field. The platform is accessed from each of its long sides by ramps that are 8 feet long. Two alliances of two teams each compete in each match. Each team consists of a human player, two driver/operators, and a coach. A match consists of a 10-second Human Player Period, a 15-second Autonomous Control Period, and a 1 minute and 45 second Remote Control Period. The object of the game is to acquire and stack plastic storage containers that are initially located on the platform or placed on the playing field by human players. Each alliance must place containers in a scoring zone on its own side of the field to score points. The total number of points earned depends on the count of containers located in each alliance’s scoring zone multiplied by the number of containers in their highest stack. Additional points are awarded for any robot that is positioned on the top of the platform at the end of the match.
- 2003: Bulldog
The Championship Event-Championship Division Winners – Newton
Buckeye Regional-Regional Winners & Judges’ Award