Three local high school students now share the top spot in the world for their robotics skills.
Gauthier Appaix, Eony Kim and Taylor LaFleur, who make up 7K Robotics, recently traveled to Council Bluffs, Iowa for the CREATE US Open Robotics Championship from April 4-6 where they won two titles: skills champion and tournament champion.
Throughout the three-day competition, the team went through 10 qualification rounds, four round-robin matches and then four final matches, tying for the top spot with their alliance partner team 6842Z: PigPen from Indiana.
Their performance at the US Open shot them to the top of the world standings where they are currently tied for first place with Iron Pride, a team from Syracuse, Indiana.
“There was multiple parts and every single time we won something,” said Appaix. “It’s just amazing, it’s so much fun, each and every part of it.”
The game, called Turning Point, is played on a 12- by 12-foot field with two teams competing against each other at a time. Robots grab balls and shoot them at flags to score points. Flat saucer-like objects called caps must also be flipped over to the team’s colour for additional points. Teams must program their robots to work autonomously for 15 seconds and then control the robot for the rest of the two-minute game.
7K Robotics is a private team run by Appaix’s parents. The Grade 11 students started the team in October 2018 and have made their mark at every competition so far.
Appaix says what has really driven the team to success is hard work, dedication and persistence.
Before a competition, Appaix estimates they spend about 15 hours a week practising their skills and improving their robot. The robot they brought to the US Open was a complete redesign from the one they were using in the fall.
Not only is the quality of the build better, but the three are also constantly working on writing neater code and more efficient programs. Appaix explains that efficient and effective programming is key for the 15 second autonomous period which can make or break the game.
The next stop for 7K Robotics is Louisville, Kentucky on April 22 for the VEX Robotics World Championship.