Hall shares his creative process of robotics


Bobby Verhey

Sophomore John Hall stands in the Robotics room where the team practices using their robot.

Sophomore John Hall, member of the Autonomice Team #11117, is preparing intently for the upcoming state competition. Hall’s team had a successful season — they won the Inspire Award at their first tournament in North Branch, which is given to the team that is best able to complete challenges while showing good sportsmanship. This award qualified his team for the state tournament. Hall talked about the steps it takes to compete in a Robotics competition.

Step 1) Brainstorming Ideas

The first step of the process is the brainstorming process. Hall said, “We begin to brainstorm ideas at the start of the year sharing different ideas to accomplish the challenge.” These challenges vary from year to year, however completing these challenges in competitions to get awards. 

Step 2) Prototyping Designs

After brainstorming ideas, the next step is creating prototypes. “We then start prototyping the different ideas, one way we do this is we 3D print,” Hall said. These prototypes help give the teams a sense of what their finished product will look like and allow the team to start testing their ideas.

Step 3) Testing Phase

“Once everything is prototyped we put it all together and test it; If it doesn’t work we go back to the brainstorming phase and the process starts all over again,” Hall said. 

Step 4) Practicing Task

If the testing goes well, the team will then build the robot. Hall said, “Once the robot is finished, the coders and drivers test and practice on the robot.” This helps prepare the team for the task that they will complete in the competition. This phase is key to gaining good results as the coders can ensure that the robot does what it is supposed to, and the drivers are able to get familiarity with the robot.

Step 5) Packing for Tournament

Once the robot is ready for the competition, the team has to pack up their robot and the other materials that they need. This process can be challenging, but it is necessary to transport the robot.“We need to bring lots of tools and parts to the competition. This means we need to spend time packing,” Hall said.

Step 6) The Competition

After all of their hard work, the team is ready to compete. Hall said, “At the competition, we compete against other teams from across the state.” After the competition ends, multiple awards are given out including the Inspire Award, the Think Award, and the Motivate Award.

For more information on the team, their website is linked here. Hall and his robotic’s team will compete again tomorrow at the Minnesota State competition where they will take on the best teams in the state.