Kauaibots reach quarterfinals

Tyres Caberto, a member of the Kauaibots, said their robot made it to the quarterfinals of the 9th annual FIRST Robotics Hawaii Regional tournament which was held recently at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Stan Sheriff Center on Oahu.

The elimination by the eventual winning alliance placed the Kauaibots in 14th place over the field of 38 teams representing China, Japan, Australia, Taiwan and the Mainland, as well as other teams from Hawaii.

“Despite being eliminated, Scott Libert, one of our mentors, and Stephanie Steuri, the Miss Hawaii 2014 and a former member of Kauaibots, have been invited to the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri,” said Charlene Steuri, a member of the Kauaibots team.

“Scott is going because he invented a piece which is used in a lot of the robots in the competition, and Stephanie emceed the Oahu tournament and has been invited to emcee the national event.”

Caberto said Libert’s invention adds functionality to the robot.

“He invented the nav6 and that piece has been upgraded to the navX-MXP,” Caberto said. “It plugs into the motherboard of the robot’s computer, and according to Scott, was on at least three of the six robots involved in the finals.”

Libert, in notes shared with Jim Geuber, another Kauaibots member, said mentors for both the Bearbotcs and Iolani teams said they could not have won without it.

According to Randy Wood from Waialua High School, every Chinese team received a navX-MXP in their Kit of Parts, and the Waialua team is interested in giving the navX-MXP a try.

“Our robot made it to the quarterfinals,” Libert said. “We were eliminated by the winning alliance who scored 161 points, the highest score in the competition, against us. Our alliance scored 154 points in that match, tied for the second-highest score in the entire tournament.”

Libert said the Kauaibots’ robot strategy was excellent, scoring at least one ranking point in all but one match.

“We were at the top of the defense-crossing rankings along with the Tiki Techs,” Libert said. “Tiki Techs pursued the same strategy we did — and made it to the finals. The difference was in our robot capabilities. They could reliably score balls in the low goal.”

Libert said the Kauaibots’ robot chassis “was an absolute tank,” and the electronics were very reliable, the autonomous software scoring successfully 10 points in all but two matches. The scouting team was also well-prepared, executed well and provide key information to the robot drivers.

“Our team helped St. Anthony turn a disaster situation into a working robot that actually scored points, and in doing so, lifted the spirits of several students on the team,” Libert said. “St. Anthony was very grateful for our help. Hands down, we had one of the best pit crew and drive team the Kauaibots have ever had. This team of 13 students representing Kauai, Kapaa high schools, Island School, St. Catherine’s School and homeschool, rivaled, and may have surpassed our 2011 team that went to nationals that year.”

Libert said the bottom line is Kauaibots has an incredible team that made a huge difference, including helping multiple other teams win because of their efforts.

“These are outstanding robotics students,” said Kate Mink, a mentor. “The students did well at the competition.”

Students on the Kauaibots team include Kilikai Ahuna, Kailee Arakaki, Ben Brady, Sydney Brady, Caberto, Quinn Catlin, Mahdav Collins, Isabella Kotsol, Elizabeth Makizuru, Nygel Melchor, Matthew Rogers, Christian Sandrowski and Hannah Whelan.

“We need more students to join us,” Arakaki, a junior at Kauai High School, said. “Students can become part of the Kauaibots from as early as late elementary school. I started along with Tyres, and we kind of both came in together. But we’re juniors, and we need more students to start learning and take over when we leave.”

Caberto said he started after becoming involved with the Lego League at the Koloa Elementary School.

“We went to Oahu that year,” Caberto said. “When I went to middle school, there was nothing there, and in high school, there was the Kauaibots.”

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