Kaprekar's Constants compete in Sacramento Regional 2019

This season, Kaprekar’s Constants are on a mission to deep space.

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This season, Kaprekar’s Constants are on a mission to deep space. The high school robotics team, known officially as 6174, are once again taking part in the FIRST Robotics Competition. This year their objective is to fuel empty rockets by filling them with playing balls after blocking open hatches with large plastic discs. On Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, the team played with and against dozens of teams over two days of qualifying matches. By the end of the tournament the Winters team had competed in 9 qualifying matches, and had watched and analyzed 89. This year the Kaprekar’s Constants have dubbed their robotic “Sputnik,” in light of the astronomical theme. Tori Crabtree, a freshman at Winters High School and the team’s safety captain, took some time to explain the robot’s features. Sputnik has a long arm that can pick up balls with the help of two rows of wheels. A string of blue LED lights runs along the strap that holds the ball in place. These light up to tell the drive team that the arm is fully vertical. When this happens the team can shoot the ball into the low, open cargo bay ports in the middle of the field. The other side of the robot is equipped with a velcro strip to catch the hatch covers. Once the disc is secured over a hatch, two small piston arms extend to push the disc away and detach the robot. Team 6174 played in the first qualifying match of the tournament. Using the two cameras affixed to the front and rear of the robot, the drive team was able to operate during the blind “sandstorm” period of the match, during which time a black curtain obscured the window between the human players and the robots. Each individual team is paired randomly with three other teams for each qualifying match. These three school teams are called alliances. Winters’ alliance won their first qualifying match, and for a brief time the Kaprekar’s Constants were ranked number one in the tournament. By the end of the tournament, Kaperkar’s Constants had won five of their eight matches. They did not continue to the quarterfinals. ]]>

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