SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield High School (SPHS) Tiger Tech Robotics Team #5624 is moving ‘full steam ahead’ and gearing up for upcoming 2017 competition season. For Tiger Tech, the 2017 Robotics competition season will begin next month.

This year’s game, FIRST STEAMWORKS, was revealed at a kick-off event in early January and, over the past six weeks, members of Tiger Tech have been brainstorming, designing and building. On Feb. 21, the team unveiled its new robot Cl4p-Tp (pronounced clap-trap) – named after a robot from a contemporary video game – and its capabilities for school administrators, board of education members, and parents gathered in SPHS’s Room 102.

Over the coming weeks, Tiger Tech will iron out the kinks, lay down the tools, and begin to fuel up for the regional competitions on March 10 through March 12 at Mt. Olive High School in Flanders, NJ and March 31 through April 2 at Montgomery High School in Skillman, NJ. From there, if they qualify, Tiger Tech will go on to the district competition at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA  April 6 through April 8.

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“Creating an environment that cultivates inspiration and innovation, has been an exciting journey of mutual learning and growth for both team members and me.  I am so very pride to lead this year’s team.” said Lisa Tenenbaum, lead advisor of Tiger Tech and teacher of technology education at SPHS, adding, “We are now in our third year and really excited. The team is looking great. We’ve grown from an infant rookie team to a grown, full-fledged veteran team.”

Robotics incorporates mechanical engineering, electrical programming, and computer science in developing the design, construction, operation and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback and information processing.

For this year’s STEAMWORKS event, teams are required to design a robot within a six-week time period that meets criteria set by F.I.R.S.T. ­– For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – in terms of budget, size, weight, and parts used. The robot must also be able to perform at least one of the following three tasks: Climb a rope, deliver gears, and shoot large wiffle balls.

“Every robot is given the same task, but every team figures out there own way to do it and every robot out there is completely different,” said Co-Captain Cody Soper, noting that this year, Tiger Tech ‘went all out.’

“A lot of teams choose to do two or one of them. We chose to go all in and do all three. I am very impressed with what the team has done this year and looking forward to seeing how this robot does compared to other designs from other teams out there.”

Last year, Tiger Tech scratched its original design three weeks in left and started completely over. “This year, we used all of our six weeks to build this robot and I feel the progress is definitely present,” said junior Alona Prokofieva, the team’s design leader. “You can see how much more we have accomplished using the full six weeks.”

Robotics fosters a love for S.T.E.M. – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – while also building upon other essential skills, including but not limited to, public speaking, critical thinking and problem solving. As a result, Robotics is multi-faceted, offering team members the opportunity to utilize their unique backgrounds, talents and interests across both technical and non-technical platforms.

This year’s Tiger Tech Robotics Team includes 30 members in 9th through 12th grade and is led by senior co-captains/project managers Cody Soper and Ashli Bell, along with Prokofieva as design leader; sophomore David Jaipersaud as fundraising captain; junior Henrique Pereira as strategy and scouting leader; junior Azreen Zaman as finance captain; junior Shivam Patel and sophomore Ahnaf Rashid as electrical co-captains; junior Steve Deonarine as mechanical captain; and seniors Liam Nagel and Surindra Boodhoo as programming co-captains.

“Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST, said ‘Ten years from today, one of these students is going to be in the world having done something extraordinary for a major global problem,’” said Tenenbaum. “I truly believe that the members of the South Plainfield High School Tiger Tech Robotics Team have each begun their own paths toward doing something extraordinary.”

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