Peterborough’s FIRST robotics team is headed to regionals

Jacob Wyatt attaches a shield to the team’s robot, Revenge.

Jacob Wyatt attaches a shield to the team’s robot, Revenge. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Jacob Wyatt and Kade Fletcher work on improvements to Revenge in preparation for Saturday’s FIRST Robotics district event at UNH.

Jacob Wyatt and Kade Fletcher work on improvements to Revenge in preparation for Saturday’s FIRST Robotics district event at UNH. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Jacob Wyatt, left, and Kade Flecther examine the bumper Revenge. 

Jacob Wyatt, left, and Kade Flecther examine the bumper Revenge.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Kade Fletcher displays the orange ring used in competition. 

Kade Fletcher displays the orange ring used in competition.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Jacob Wyatt examines the CNC machine used to engineer parts at MAXT Makerspace. 

Jacob Wyatt examines the CNC machine used to engineer parts at MAXT Makerspace.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Team Inconceivable, from left, coach Andres Wood, volunteers Rags Gilmore and Brighid Wood, alumni volunteer Cedric Wilds, team members Kade Fletcher, Joe Hodgen and Jacob Wyatt, (back) volunteer David Underwood. 

Team Inconceivable, from left, coach Andres Wood, volunteers Rags Gilmore and Brighid Wood, alumni volunteer Cedric Wilds, team members Kade Fletcher, Joe Hodgen and Jacob Wyatt, (back) volunteer David Underwood.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 03-27-2024 8:31 AM

Modified: 03-28-2024 4:24 PM


 After earning a third-place finish at the FIRST Robotics New England District Pine Tree Event March 15-17 in Lewiston, Maine, the high school division of Peterborough-based 4-H FIRST Robotics Team Inconceivable is headed to the University of New Hampshire to compete at the regional competition on Friday and Saturday.

“This is our March Madness,” said Jim Fletcher of Greenfield, whose son Kade is a member of the team. “It is incredibly exciting to watch these events, seeing the robots competing on the whole field.  It’s down to the minute, knowing you may be about to beat an alliance.”

If Team Inconceivable earns enough points at UNH this weekend, they will move on to the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) District Championship at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Mass., on April 3-6.

The team, including Kade Fletcher, Jacob Wyatt, Joe Hodgen,  Judah Underwood, Brian Alonzo, Tyler Ouellette and Derek Ouellette, created the robot Revenge. 

Fletcher explained that the team had received instructions for this year’s competition just 10 weeks ago.

“At this level of robotics, all they give you is instructions, and you have to figure out what parts you need, design them, make them, and put it all together,” he said. 

FIRST provided only one component for high school level teams to design around – the orange foam ring that robots find, pick up, drop and throw in competition. 

After the competition in Lewiston, the team evaluated how the Revenge had performed and were making necessary modifications and repairs on Monday night at their practice at MAXT Makerspace.  

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“We needed to adjust the under-the-bumper intake; it needs to be protected. The robot goes 20 feet per second and weighs 130 pounds,”  Fletcher said, indicating the bumper-like structure along the front edge of Revenge.

Jacob, who was working on installing a plexiglass panel to guide the foam loops as they come into the robot, said that getting to use the high-tech machinery at Makerspace is one of his favorite parts of being on Team Inconceivable. 

“We design the parts for the robot through CAD, and then we program the CNC (computer numerical control) machine, which machines the parts,” he said. “We also get to use laser cutter. We’ve been experimenting with resin. We also designed and made all the stickers for our sponsors and all the buttons we wear to hand out to people.” 

Joe, who has been on the team for two years, said designing the items for the laser cutter was one of his favorite parts of being on the team. 

“I enjoy the design phase, and I love building the robot,” he said. 

Team coach Andres Wood noted that the team is able to model the design and all modifications first through CAD software.

“Right now, we’re working on a camera mount. The team modeled the parts so they can check the clearance of the robot before competition,” Wood said. “How to model and create on CAD is one of the essential skills of the FIRST program.”

This year, Kade’s teammates nominated him for a FIRST Robotics Dean’s List Award for general excellence in robotics. He was required to write a series of essays about his commitment to FIRST robotics and his accomplishments demonstrating FIRST core values, including discovery innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork and fun.

Kade said the core value that is most important to him is “fun.”

“These FIRST  events can be very stressful. It should be more about having fun, learning from other teams, and learning to de-stress,” he said. 

Kade was selected as one just two nominees from the 30 teams at Pine Tree Event to go on and compete for the Dean’s List Award at the district championships in Springfield.

“It means a lot that my team nominated me,” he said. 

Coach Brighid Wood said competing at UNH is a highlight of the season.  

“It’s a lot of fun because some our alumni always stop by and cheer us on,” Wood doing. “They all still help out.” 

Former members of Team Inconceivable who are now studying at UNH include Ryan Baer, a computer engineering model, and Josh Charland, a bioengineering major.

“It’s pretty great for the kids to see  where the alumni are now. It makes it easy for them see themselves at our state’s flagship university,” Wood said. 

Brighid Wood said that while Team Inconceivable is halfway through the competition season, new members are always welcome and encouraged to get in touch. 

“They team is doing awesome, and they work really hard,” Wood said. “We couldn’t do this without our sponsors, and we’re always interested in getting new people.”

For information about Team Inconceivable, send email to Brighid Wood at brighid@stonemarche.org,  or call 603-371-9047, Ext. 311. Find Team Inconceivable on Instagram @team_20099. For information about all FIRST robotics programs, visit firstinspires.org.