In 2008, our eighth and strongest season yet, we finished in the semifinals at the New York and New Jersey Regional Competitions. We had a rough start in the Overdrive challenge, with our robot Desbot suffering fuse blowouts and drive train malfunctions, but we managed to pull through impressively, finishing in the top eight teams at both of our events. In New Jersey, we were given an alliance captain position for the first time since 2004. The same happened in New York City and we earned the Engineering Inspiration Award in New York, qualifying us for Championships in Atlanta where we set the high score in qualification matches.
Designing the robot played a major role in our execution of the task. Though we were presented with many innovative and original ideas, we ultimately decided on the lucrative eight-point hurdle as our scoring target. Never a team to overlook the past, we developed much of our robot based on the designs of our ‘04 robot, Larry, incorporating a larger grabber combined with a pneumatic “puncher” to launch the ball over the hurdle. Over the next six weeks, the team worked tirelessly to produce a robot true to our original designs. Nevertheless changes were made; week two saw the replacement of the Ackerman drive with the standard four wheel drive, and week three saw a major overhaul of the grabber with the introduction of “tusks”. However, only five weeks after Kickoff, the team had turned, what was once just wheels, axles, plates, and electronics, into a fully functional robot that was completed early enough for practice and at correct competition weight.
In addition to our engineering achievements, we were also the subject of a six-part documentary produced by the Wall Street Journal and participated in numerous demonstrations that were held at places like Credit Suisse, the World Science Fair, and the TriBeCa Film Festival. We also published a robotics cookbook complete with recipes provided by our many mentors and parents and ran our first official FLL Qualifier event in partnership with Pace University.