Montgomery Robotics Team
By Snigdha Joshi | Posted February 23, 2023
The Montgomery Robotics team began small, working out of a garage back in 2004 when two students transferred to Montgomery. The students created a robotics team at Montgomery that eventually became known as the FIRST Team 1403 Cougar Robotics. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics is a program dedicated to promoting STEM education, and hosts competitions in which Montgomery High School team participates.
In almost 20 years, the team has developed greatly in terms of size and purpose. Currently, the team has about 106 members eager to learn and compete through STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). However, in addition to wanting to perform well at competitions, the team has become increasingly engaged in the community.
One of two team captains, Varun Madhan, says the team hopes to “contribute more to the school, mentor younger students in the First Lego League (FLL) team at the upper middle school, and inspire other FIRST teams.” A typical season for the team consists of three parts: pre-season, build season, and competition season. In pre-season, they welcome and train new members. Build season starts in January when the annual challenge or game is released and lasts for about six weeks.
The other team captain, Vedh Mungara, says during this time they start prototyping, followed by a computer-aided design (CAD). The mechanical team fabricates the CAD, the electrical team does the wiring. Finally, the programming team gets the electrical components working in conjunction with the mechanical parts. Next is competition season where the team goes through two qualifying events.
During their previous season, the team participated in two qualifying events at Mount Olive and Montgomery. They placed first in the robot game and won the Quality Award at Mount Olive. They also placed second in the robot game and won the Chairman’s Award at Montgomery, which qualified them for the FMA District Championships at Lehigh University. They won the Chairman’s Award at Lehigh University and qualified for the World Championship in Houston.
This past summer the team continued to innovate to prepare for this year. The robotics managers, Aadi Vadhavkar and Prineet Parhar, made improvements through off-season projects. One major off-season project is called swerve drive, which allows the wheels to “turn on an axis to move and rotate at the same time. It's a more advanced concept that a few teams use, but it levels up your ability to compete in competitions,” explains Prineet.
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The logistics managers, Aamishika Rao and Matthew Youtz, worked with the business and communications captains to increase the team's social media presence and form connections with more teams, and continue to help their sister team, Team 3132, in Australia.
This year’s build season began on January 7 at the FIRST Kickoff event. During the event, Team 1403 ran workshops for Autodesk Inventor, Pneumatics and Sensors, Cougar Script Editor, Mechanical Transmission and Power, Women in STEM, Bumper Construction, and Mentor Workshop. After about six weeks of hard work, the team moved into their competition season around the end of February.
This year’s challenge is called CHARGED UP and is meant to “inspire teams to see the potential of energy storage in a new light.” The team continues to explore and encourage others to join STEM and hopes to have another successful robotics season.
FMA Montgomery District Event
March 31-August 2
Montgomery High School