The Fusion 4133 Robotics Team from Helena, Montana, won the World Championship Tournament Edison Division Design Award at the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge World Championship in Houston. The competition took place from April 18-22, and around 7,000 FIRST Tech Challenge teams competed in the 2022-23 robotics season, but only 192 teams advanced to the championship. There were four divisions in the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship, and Fusion 4133 played 11 matches while competing in the Edison Division.
Head coach Jamie Dushin said, “It was just great — an impressive group of kids. They killed it all year.” Fusion 4133 won the award for aesthetic, perfection of design, design process, and uniqueness. The team pointed out that their robot may have caught the judges’ attention because of its 3D printed belts. The team doesn’t have one big sponsor but is sponsored by many people in the community.
Team member Kathleen Cook said, “We learned a lot, especially for next year. It’s very interesting to see how other teams do it when you get down there… There’s a lot of resources and a lot of teams who have more resources.” Team co-captain Zach Heller said that it was the first time Fusion 4133 has “done anything better than just attending” the championship.
When teams are recognized for an award, a teaser is read that drop hints about who the winner will be leading up to the announcement. Some of the teasers dropped in the announcement of Fusion 4133’s award were words like “fused together,” “geared up” and sending them home to “the Big Sky.”
The robot game this year that was released at the start of the season requires the robots to be able to drive around and lift small cones onto poles of different heights that range from one to five points with the poles going up in points as they get taller. The robots need to be able to run fully autonomously for the first 30 seconds of the game, and then the team pilots them for the remaining two minutes.
Some of the robotics teams at worlds were sponsored by Apple, Silicon Valley, Boeing, NASA and more, but that didn’t deter teams from smaller states. Fusion 4133 with their World Championship Tournament Edison Division Design Award. From left to right: Joey Keller, Lincoln Frederickson, Grady Dushin, Kathleen Cook, Zach Heller, Miranda Sheafor, Kate Drynan and Steele Hansing.