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Robotics Team Singularity qualifies virtually for the San Diego FTC Regional Championship

Team Singularity at Palomar Hospital
Team Singularity at Palomar Hospital
(Courtesy)

For five years running, Rancho Santa Fe’s Team Singularity earned the opportunity to compete at the San Diego Regional Championship. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the competition format has gone virtual. Previously a one-day League tournament, the competition stretched over four days with uploading of the team engineering notebook on Day 1, judging taking place via Zoom on Day 2, completing six 2-1/2 minute match runs at home with the team robot on Day 3, and a virtual awards ceremony via Zoom and Twitch on Day 4.

Team Singularity’s Game Changer Robot 1
Team Singularity’s Game Changer Robot 1
(Courtesy)

The entire FIRST Tech Challenge 2020-21 “Game Changer” Tournament season has been reformatted to a virtual setting. Sponsored by Qualcomm, FIRST Robotics teamed up with Disney and Lucasfilm and had all teams compete with their robots by video conferencing, in contrast to a traditional four robotics team match with two opposing alliances made up of two teams in each alliance held at a host school site. Part of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) experience this season was to adapt to the challenges a global pandemic requires. Preparation for the competition required many virtual calls via Zoom, Discord and other forms of social media. Design of the robot had to be done virtually. Building, assembling, testing, troubleshooting and driving the robot had to comply with masks, hand sanitizer and physical distancing measures. Competing was conducted independent of an alliance partner and absent from an opposing competitor in the same room or garage. Scores were submitted online. Even community outreaches had to be creative and conducted either virtually and with social distancing measures in compliance with the CDC recommendations.

Despite these challenges, Team Singularity was up to the task, even during this COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did they earn the privilege of qualifying for the virtual Regional competition on April 25, 2021, Singularity took 1st place in the Collins Aerospace Innovate Award with their 3D printed robot design; 2nd place Dean’s List Semi-Finalist; 3rd place Think Award for their engineering notebook; 3rd place Connect Award for their virtual outreaches in fundraising and donating face shields to healthcare heroes around the country and designing 3D printed nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing and submitting their research to the American Society of Human Genomics Conference while mentoring a FIRST Lego League team and a fellow FTC team. Singularity also ranked as the 2nd highest scoring team in the Euclid League.


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