Team 5494, The Bizarbots, was founded in October 2013 by Richard Monteith and his son Kevin. Richard taught chemistry, engineering, and forensics at Holbrook Junior Senior High School and wanted to create an effective way to spread STEM throughout the school. Kevin has over eight years of experience in FIRST robotics, and his guidance was crucial in building the foundation of our team. Together, they created the Bizarbots, originally composed of six to eight members. Since our inception, we have expanded to 20 active members, and this growth has allowed us to build a close-knit, proud and dynamic team, which has allowed us to accomplish incredible feats.
Our team consists of members that range from 7th to 12th grade. Our internal structure is split into five different sections, with two captains that oversee these sections. While many students find their calling within one or two of these sections, roles are often shared amongst members. We strive for everyone on the team to be multi-faceted and experienced in every field of robotics, so we expose all of our members to everything from build to administration. Because of how our team functions and is structured, our students and mentors have formed a tight-knit family in just under two years. We've discovered that our struggles have only brought us closer and taught us more, and we value our successes as much as our failures for this reason.
We kickstarted our team using VEX, which allowed our team members to learn the basics of robotics in an inexpensive way. We have attended Savage Soccer at WPI and various Vex competitions in the area. We plan on continuing to actively use VEX robots in the coming seasons.
We began our rookie year of FIRST robotics in January 2015. Each year FRC releases a new game. Teams design, build, and program a robot to suit this game within 6 weeks. The game completely changes from year-to-year, so students need to be able to think quickly and creatively to design an efficient robot.
In 2015, the game was entitled Recycle Rush. This game was played by two alliances of three robots each. The goal was to score as many points as possible through stacking recycling totes on a raised platform. Totes could be collected from a landfill near the middle of the field or from the human player stations, which are located in the corners of the field. Extra points could be earned by capping the stacks of totes with recycling bins. Pool noodles can be placed inside of this bin for even more additional points. Pool noodles can also be thrown across the field and into the other alliances side to score points.
For the 2015 game, we built a simple yet powerful robot that could stack up to 6 totes. Our robot could also lift recycling bins in a way that made it possible for human players to feed a pool noodle through the top. We used our design flaws as motivation to make our robot run as smoothly as possible, and we used strategy issues to shift our robot from a landfill based robot to a human-player robot. Our robots reveal video
Since we do not have a coporate sponsor, we expend a lot of our energy fundraising. From cookie dough sales to an auction, we put a lot of effort into raising funds our team. Despite our lack of funding, we are still tirelessly spread the message of FIRST throughout our community and beyond. We regularly show and demonstrate our robots at the elementary schools in our community and at a 7th grade orientation at Holbrook Junior Senior High School, which has resulted in the recruitment of young students. We are also in the process of introducing FIRST to surrounding schools to try to initiate FLL and FTC teams in other communities. Bizarbots has also hosted charity events, including a 3v3 Basketball Tournament in support of JDRF and we plan on doing so again soon. We will be participating in our town's Clean Up Day as well as the Relay for Life to support the American Cancer Society.
The Bizarbots may come from a small town, and have a small team, but we're a perpetually enthusiastic group of people who are truly passionate about STEM. And that's all we really need to drive us forward.