Aluminum Falcons recognized for robotics creativity


GROTON — After participating in FIRST’s (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition in Smithfield, R.I., on March 21-22, the Fitch High School team has positioned itself for a likely appearance in the New England regional championship.

“Yes, our team did very well this weekend,” said coach and faculty Advisor Brian Chidley in an Internet interview after the meet.

 The team, called the Aluminum Falcons, has participated in two events this year, the minimum number to qualify.

In Smithfield, the Falcons were finalists in the competition, a “final pick’” (similar to a playoff pick), and the team won the Innovation in Control Award. On March 8-9, the team was a quarter-finalist at the Groton regional bout and also won the Creativity in Design Award for its innovative use of CAD modeling and 3D printing. The printing enabled the team to design and manufacture its own parts.

“It has given us 90 qualification points toward the New England Championships, well beyond the predicted minimum cutoff,” Chidley said.

After a slow start in Smithfield, the team picked up momentum, finishing ninth out of 37 teams, good enough to advance to the elimination rounds. In the playoffs the Falcons were partnered with Mechanical Mayhem from Milford, N.H., and the Aluminum Warriors of Hopkinton, Mass.

The group won its quarterfinal and semifinal matches, earning the status as a finalist. Ultimately the Falcons lost the best-of-three final by the score of 130-128 in the third match.

According to organizers at FIRST, the Smithfield event drew 800 students and the total attendance was about 1,500 fans.

The New England championship will be held April 10-12 in Boston.



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