Local Students Place Fourth in Global Robotics Competition | New
The Savage Bots, a 12-year-old three-person team from Ashburn and Herndon, have spent most of the last year designing, building and testing a robot, which they’ve dubbed “Tom Tom 3.0”.
All of those efforts paid off last week when the trio finished fourth in the VEX Remote Live Robotics World Championship, a real-time online competition.
Giovanni Eastman and Arjun Nayyar, both of Ashburn, and Max Ritter of Herndon faced more than 8,600 other students from 30 countries.
The team represents Nysmith School for the Gifted, a private school in Herndon serving Kindergarten through eighth grade. The trio competed in VEX competitions together for three years and spent approximately nine months preparing for this year’s competition.
“We were famous around the school,” Arjun said of the response to their performance.
“All the second graders congratulated us,” added Max.
The VEX Robotics World Championship is a collaboration of the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation and the Northrop Grumman Foundation. This year’s event took place virtually May 17-29.
During the competition, the Savage Bots maneuvered their original robot across a grid table, racing against the clock and against other teams to stack colorful cylinders in designated patterns.
“Tom Tom 3.0” is a small motorized machine with a large claw in the front. It is almost entirely made up of parts supplied by VEX, which are completely plastic except for the motor and wiring.
Giovanni, Arjun and Max competed for the first time in the Elementary “Technology A” division of the VEX IQ Challenge on May 26th.
The “Technology A” division finals were not without their challenges, as partners from the Savage Bots, an Indiana-based team called Short Circuits, began to run into trouble just an hour before.
This was only the first hurdle to emerge during this stage of the competition. Soon after, the Savage Bots’ own robot began to malfunction.
“An engine was overheating, which was causing problems,” Giovanni said. “It would get very hot and then stop working.”
The team thought about it and decided to let the robot rest and let it cool for 20 minutes before the final competition.
“And then we all crossed our fingers,” said Curt Eastman, Giovanni’s dad.
In the end, “Tom Tom 3.0” made it through the final of the 60 second competition, which earned the Savage Bots a victory in the “Technology A” division.
After that victory, the team spent the next three days rewiring and modifying the robot before taking it to the championship final on May 29. The team shared fourth place in the general classification with the short circuits.
Giovanni, Arjun and Max will start preparing for next year’s VEX Robotics World Championship in August, they said.
The Eastmans usually hold a “mini summer camp” in their basement when the boys start their preparations at the end of the summer.
“They can accomplish a lot during this time and then they feel good [for the next steps]Giovanni’s mother, Margie Eastman, said.