September 11th shook our school to the very roots. Stuy students were filmed on national television fleeing from the smoke and debris of the collapsed World Trade Center towers. (Stuy is located just four blocks north of Ground Zero.) The student body was temporarily relocated to Brooklyn Tech’s building across the East River. By January’s kickoff we were back in our own building and well underway with ideas flowing for the six-week build season. Jack was the result of our team effort; the “little blue robot that could.” Jack could not only “vacuum” soccer balls upward using a ridged conveyer belt, but he was also outfitted with an elaborate pneumatic goal gripper which wrenched the flexible PVC bars on the goal apart so that he could drag it around while pulling the soccer balls into the goal.
This skillfully constructed robot won the Engineering Inspiration award in the 2002 New York City Regional, and went on to hold eighth place for a period of time in our division at the 2002 Championship Event in Orlando. Later that spring, we presented Jack at a F.I.R.S.T. event at the Hall of Science in Queens.