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Dobyns-Bennett Cyber Tribe finishes second in Knoxville event

David Hrivnak, Community Contributor • Apr 2, 2019 at 7:00 PM

KNOXVILLE — Cyber Tribe, the Dobyns-Bennett High School FIRST Robotics team (FRC 4020), finished a strong second in the Smoky Mountains Regional against 52 other teams, including teams from Germany and Canada.

After finishing third in the qualifying matches, the Cyber Tribe led a three-team alliance in the playoffs with the Trojans from Ontario, Canada, and L&M STEMpunks from Knoxville. After winning quarterfinal and semifinal series, they battled an alliance of the Secret City Wildbots from Oak Ridge, MARS from Morgantown, West Virginia, and the Radioactive Roaches from Niceville, Florida, in the finals. Cyber Tribe lost the last match of the finals 90-83 “as one of our teammates became disabled after a few strong defensive hits,” team mentor David Hrivnak said. “It was a tough way to bow out, but it was still a strong showing.”

The Cyber Tribe also received the Autonomous Award sponsored by Ford Motor Co., given to the team that has demonstrated consistent and reliable high-performance during match autonomous periods. Evaluation is based on the robot’s ability to sense its surroundings, position itself within the field and plan and execute tasks.

In the first 15 seconds of the 2½ minute match, a curtain is dropped over the driver’s station so direct human control of the robot is not possible. During that time, the Cyber Tribe robot (The Claw) consistently drove off a 6-inch-high platform and placed a hatch panel on a cargo ship in the middle of the field and then lined up at a loading station to get a second hatch panel. The programming team used a combination of two cameras, vision targeting, LIDAR distance sensing and gyroscopic positioning in their solution.

Earlier in the season, Cyber Tribe earned a first-place finish in the Palmetto Regional along with the Jonesborough team Rat Rod Robotics (FRC 5022). Cyber Tribe also earned the Autonomous Award at that competition.

FIRST Robotics is an innovative program to get high school students excited about science, technology, engineering and math — the so-called STEM fields. In this competition, a game challenge is revealed in early January and then high school teams have six weeks to design, build and program a robot to meet the challenge. This year had a space theme where robots had to place 19-inch hatches on a cargo ship and on rockets on the field. After hatches are placed, they can load 13-inch “cargo” balls into the ship and rocket. At the end of the match the robots return to base, with some climbing onto a 6-inch or 19-inch-high platform.

“Cyber Tribe is thankful to have the generous support in the form of money, materials or time from Kingsport City Schools, STREAMWORKS Education, Eastman Chemical Co., D-B Parent Teacher Student Association Grant, Eastman Credit Union, Energy Systems Group, Appalachian Power, BAE Systems, Tri-Cities Extrusion, Kiwanis Club of Kingsport, Host Engineering, Bank of Tennessee, Citizens Bank, Fastenal, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Chef’s Pizza and several individuals.

“Without these generous sponsors, the program would not be sustainable,” Hrivnak said.

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