Circuit Breakers win the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award at the World’s FIRST Tech Challenge
After competing against 700 teams from China, Germany and 34 other countries, Timberline’s FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics team, the Circuit Breakers, received the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award at the World’s FIRST Tech Challenge in Detroit, Michigan on April 29.
FTC Robotics is an international organization that strives to unite and create connections between members through their passion for robotics and engineering. Students work together to create robots and use their knowledge to win competitions and pursue their goal of advancing to the World’s competition.
“In robotics, winning a FIRST award is a huge deal. We’ve only ever won in districts, and that specific reward is for an innovative design and a well thought out notebook and at the World’s that’s really hard to do. It was definitely the highlight of our season,” freshman Arjun Thattankandy said.
The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award is sponsored by the Rockwell Collins technology company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. According to FIRST Lego League, this award is handed to a team that thinks outside the box to make their designs come to life.
“We put a lot of time into it,” freshmen Andrew Ahrenkiel said while speaking of his team and their robots, “We started in September and met twice every week, but if we have a world competition, we meet every day and once on the weekends for three or four hours.”
The Circuit Breakers won awards at super-qualifiers, state and super regionals in order to qualify for the World competition.
Ahrenkiel, who joined the team last year with Thattankandy, is thankful Waukee Community School District offers a FIRST Tech Challenge program. “I’ve learned a lot about design with engineering plus a lot about documentation and how to keep organized as a group,” he said.
Thattankandy also believes that the Timberline FTC Robotics program can be beneficial to people with all kinds of interests. He said, “Robotics isn’t just for people who build robots, we need people that are into documentation and marketing as well. Any idea can be a good idea.”
Aside from the Circuit Breakers, Timberline also has other FTC Robotics teams: Wauktopia, Bugs in the System and Enginerds. The Enginerds won a League Championship and also attended Super Qualifiers. At Prairieview, the Pathfinders won the Connect Award at Regionals and continued on to the Super Qualifiers where they received the Connect Award and advanced to the FTC Iowa Championships. Waukee High School teams Gone Phishing, Oh., and Stem Punk all went to FTC Regional competitions as well.