The Chatham High School Robotics team //Cougars placed fourth and won the Innovate Award, and the Chatham Cougars team won the Design Award at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Northern Region Qualifier, which took place at Liberty Science Center Saturday.

 The Design Award “recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic.”  The judges mentioned stated that the Cougars’ design was very clean with creative solutions to solve problems. The judges also touched on an aspect that the team highlighted in their interview, which was that they were having with the chains of their wheels slipping off the sprockets in prior competitions and showed off their solution of custom made sprocket guards that were designed by the team in CADD software and then 3D printed and added to their robot. 

This particular team is made up primarily of new students to the program, with only two members who have prior experience. 

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 “After a slow start to the challenge, their robot evolved immensely and demonstrated this group’s dedication to the challenge," Chatham Robotics coach Julie Ryan said.

 The Collins Aerospace Innovate Award “celebrates a team that thinks outside the box and has the ingenuity, creativity, and inventiveness to make their designs come to life.” This award highlights teams that branch out taking risks with innovative designs.

 In judging the //Cougars design, the judges highlighted the unique four bar design within the lift system that //Cougars designed in CADD software before 3D printing and integrating into their robot's system. This approach allowed them to move the scoring elements from one side of their robot to the other while their linear lift was rising. 

 “This design was one of a kind at the event and produced great results, allowing the team to build towers using the scoring elements, which look like very large lego bricks,”  Ryan said.

This team advanced into the semi-finals in fourth place, but was knocked out after a best of three rounds by the first-place team.