San Marino, California, 02/13/21

It’s that time again: despite all that has happened this year, one thing certainly remains the same, and that is that build season is underway! Every year, FIRST puts out a challenge with a specific theme in mind. This year, one of the challenges that Titanium Robotics is partaking in is the FIRST Innovation Challenge. The objective of this unique challenge is to identify and develop a solution for a societal issue that relates to the pursuit of mental and physical health through active movement. Evidently, this is a wide ranging challenge, and FIRST Robotics teams are encouraged to take it any direction they’d like — after all, innovation is the goal. When asked for his opinion on this new challenge, Business President Marcus Chua had this to say: “I am beyond excited to participate in this Challenge. One unique aspect of the event is that it will require our Business and Engineering teams to directly collaborate, a phenomenon that has not occurred to such a significant scale in previous years. I think that more than anything, the Innovation Challenge is extremely valuable in the sense that it allows us to directly apply our STEM skills to real-life problems and work towards building a tangible product that can directly benefit society.” The parameters are wide so as to account for all sorts of ideas. For example, the manual states that the judges must be shown the final concept; however, the manner in which it is shown is entirely at the team’s discretion—it can be two dimensional or three dimensional, physical or virtual. An example of a past concept is a “sport court” designed with imbedded LED lights, allowing it to change its borders and lines at the press of a button. This allows for lower budget communities to have access to a wide variety of athletics especially in a smaller space. The manner in which Titanium Robotics is approaching the challenge is still in early discussion stages, and there are several strong contenders. With the time allotted for the planning phase of the challenge,  the team has begun to host biweekly team meetings during which the team breaks down into smaller three to five-person teams, discusses ideas and plans, and fleshes out how to practically realize those plans. For the first time, our freshman class is participating in challenges without ever having stepped foot inside the robotics room. This promised to be a difficult undertaking because, with our freshmen having so little in-person experience, it is difficult to achieve fully equal contribution and conversation. On that topic freshman Maya Borkar had to say, “Online robotics has definitely been different from how I imagine it would be like in school, but it was a good way to ease into the Titanium Robotics team. The team was so welcoming and inclusive to all of the new members and did a great job with outreach. We freshmen felt as if our voices were being heard equally while still being offered guidance by the senior members of the team. As for the Innovation Challenge, it was very open ended which allowed the whole team to think about what problems people are facing in the real world which is what FIRST is all about.” One major benefit of the online program is that our mentors are able to sit in on every meeting they can, making guidance and experience a lot more accessible to our rookie members as well as seasoned veterans. One thing is for sure, whether the team meets virtually or physically, the Build Season is not to be missed, and our team is certainly cooking up a few exciting innovations to bring to the world.

About Titanium Robotics

Titanium Robotics is a team consisting of over 100 students, mainly from San Marino High School, who come together with a common interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students learn from professional engineers and mentors to build and compete in the annual FIRST Robotics Challenge with a robot of their own design. Programming, electrical work, computer-aided design, and business management are all run by student representatives, making the entire organization student-led from start to finish.

About FIRST®                                                                                                                       

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and more than $14 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST ® Robotics Competition (FRC®) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) for high-school students, FIRST®LEGO® League (FLL®) for 9 to 14-year olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) and Junior FIRST®LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org

Gavin O’Malley

Publicity Officer

Titanium Robotics

San Marino High School

titaniumrobotics@gmail.com