Kickoff 2020: New Game Announced!

Kickoff 2020: New Build Season Begins

Kickoff is starting with an intergalactic bang. Kickoff is the start of build season where all 4,000 FIRST Robotics Competition teams in 35 countries worldwide learn about the new game and game elements. This year’s game sponsor is Star Wars “Force for Change.”

During the live video Kickoff broadcast early Saturday morning on January 4, there was a surprise appearance by R2D2 during the revealing of the game and its elements. The game is called INFINITE RECHARGE with two Alliances (3 robots per Alliance) working to power their Shield Generator for maximum protection of FIRST City against incoming asteroid shower coming from a distant space skirmish.

The initial 15 seconds is an Autonomous period when the droids (the robots) launch Power Cells into the Power Port to gain points. Droids moving from the Initiation Line also gives points to each Alliance.

In the remaining 2 minutes and 15 seconds of the game, called Teleop or Teleoperated Period that is controlled by the Drive Team, Alliances must interact with other parts of the game. Shooting or placing Power Cells into Power Ports, an Alliance must score 29 total points to activate sections of their Shield Generator. This includes interacting with a color wheel that spins. A droid gain points by completing at least three and no more than five rotations of the color wheel, or by stopping the wheel on a specific color.

The EndGame, or final 30 seconds of the match, droids will race to their Rendezvous Point, which is where the Generator Switch is, and attempt to energize the Shield Generator. The Alliances must get their droids to hang from the Generator Switch, and try to make the giant Switch level with the ground. The Switch is 5’3″ off the ground, and the more droids (up to 3 robots) an Alliance can hang from the Switch, the more points that will be awarded.

Watch the new Game Video here.

2020 FIRST robotics game: Infinite Recharge logo

4915 Alumni Update: Where Are They Now?

At kickoff, Spartronics Alumni showed up in full force. Among them was Rose Bandrowski. She is a sophomore at the University of Arizona (Tucson). Initially, her major was undecided, but BHS Robotics sparked a fascination for STEM that drove her to study Systems Engineering.

Rose says she learned many valuable life skills from Spartronics, such as effective communication, machine shop, time management, and public speaking. She joined the team as a lead artist for the Marketing Subteam, became a team spokesperson, joined the Mechanics Subteam, and became a Team Captain!

Rose said that “there is nothing like [Robotics]. It’s a very unique experience. Take advantage of it while you’re here.” She also describes coming back to visit 4915 “is like visiting family.” Rose notes we all have a common interest and knowledge, and how Robotics creates strong bonds. She explains there is an immediate connection with people around the nation who are in, or were in, the FIRST community.

Spartronics Alumni and a former Team Captain Rose Brandrowski reunites with Violet Advani, current team captain, during the 2020 team photoshoot
Spartronics Alumni and a former Team Captain Rose Brandrowski reunites with Violet Advani, current team captain, during the 2020 team photoshoot

Subteam Updates: 2020 Game Planning Underway

In marketing, Team Shirt and Sponsor Banner designs are being updated and plans for the Open House are being made (save the date: March 25, 2020). Marketing team members are beginning to write and prepare the Chairman’s Essay for the Chairman’s Award. The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award at FIRST, and it honors teams that are the best representation of a model for other teams to emulate as well as the best embodiment of the FIRST mission.

Mechanics subteam is working on inventory, buying materials for building game elements, will be building the game elements and a new driver’s station.

Electronics subteam has built a test bench with new, brushless pneumotors. Students are assembling items that came in the Kit of Parts from FIRST. They are also preparing to receive the design from Design Team. They are even developing “bling” for our new robot.

Programming subteam is continuing training. Students are learning source control, as well as writing and controlling robot subsystems and read censors.

The Strategy subteam developed two different strategies for the new game. The entire team helps decide which of the two strategies to choose and then the robot building process begins.

The Design subteam is creating the design of the robot based on the final game strategy the team adopts.

This year’s team picture:

Spartronics annual team photo

Team Update + Sponsor Spotlight

Spartronics students working together on a computer Spartronics student working on a machine

Spartronics students working on computers Spartronics student working on electronics

Subteam Updates:

In Mechanics, student skill sets are being finalized as well as student certifications and safety training for the machinery. Robot inventory is being updated to make certain the team has enough materials for build season. In Design, they are finishing up classes so they can build this year’s robot. Team Co-Captain Cruz Strom is always looking forward to build season and says he us confident everyone will do a good job. Leadership team member Darwin Clark adds, “No, he’s not. He’s ready to move to Antarctica.”

Programming is working on a variety of things. Their crew is using BlingJava and Vision LIDAR. They are learning new Robot codebases, working on data analysis and testing cameras. Leadership team member Justice James is looking forward to build season, as well as the official release of the newest codebase. He also is excited about the 2020 kickoff.

Currently, the students are building a full system for practice in Electronics. Specifically, Leadership team member Kate Treviño-Yoson is working on a button board, which is used bor customized controls. This will be helpful during build season and will speed the process up. Harper Nalley, Jacob Miles, and Dashiell Neff are working with LED lights for blinging the robot up. Peter Hall is looking forward to build season and thinks everyone will have a lot of “phun.”

Marketing is working to honor Woodie Flower in our attire: both our new Team Shirt and name badges. They are preparing for build season by finalizing sponsorships and finishing up training for new members.

Professional options logo

Sponsor Spotlight: Professional Options

Doña Keating is President and CEO. Professional Options LLC, a Spartronics sponsor for two years, now. Doña is also a professional Mentor of our team and our Community Ambassador. She believes strongly in the power of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and its ability to impact the future.

Dona KeatingProfessional Options is a consulting firm for leadership and management. They advise NGOs (non-governmental agencies), Fortune 100, governments, and non-profits on best practices. They do this so these organization’s leaders can improve their strategies, teams, and missions. Professional Options also provides facilitation of executive board Dona Keating treats and meetings, as well as public advocacy of digital privacy, telecommunicators, education, technology innovation, economic development, and entrepreneurship.

Professional Options is sponsoring Spartronics because Doña is a large supporter of STEM initiatives, and she feels that computer programming is a necessary life component in this day and age.

“Spartronics does a fantastic job of educating people about this second language as well as it’s implementation through robotics,” she says. “It also helps build communication skills, promotes collaborative teamwork and critical thinking. Spartronics helps prepare the students for the real world. The intelligence, emotional and mental, of the team, coach, mentors and students alike, is electrifying and inspirational.” Doña “can’t imagine living or working on Bainbridge Island and not supporting Spartronics.”

The best way to show our appreciation and support for Professional options is to check out their Facebook page. Doña would prefer, however, that the members focus on the team, support and engage in Spartronics. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Professional Option’s URL is 

Thank you Professional Options and Doña Keating for all of your support!

Sponsor Spotlight

First year sponsors vs. 6th year sponsors
The Marketing subteam is finalizing 2020 Sponsors! Emma Lahtinen shows how our Sponsor support has grown, holding our first Team Shirt (2013-14) and wearing last year’s shirt.

Subteam Updates:

Right now, Programming subteam is teaching its members Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s brand new command based framework. The command based framework is essentially tying individual actions to buttons on the controller. The newest version does not crash as much, so it is much more efficient. People are experimenting with cameras and point cloud intellisense cameras and are learning how to use Java and C++. Justice James, one of the team captains, is highly optimistic for this season and feels it will be a lot of “phun.”

Similar to programming, Mechanics subteam is training its new members how to operate everything. They are mainly focussing on how to use the tools in the shop correctly – and safely. They are working to get prepared for build season. Another team Captain, Cruz Strom, is also optimistic for build season. There is a lot of planning and preparation happening in the off season, and Cruz says that will lead to a great build season.

The Marketing subteam team recently went on its first “Walkabout” of the season. The walk involves a group of students paired with Marketing Mentor Bill Davis (a.k.a. Uncle Bill) going to different businesses throughout Bainbridge Island and asking owners to become a Spartronics Sponsor. In the process, students explain what the team does, all the different Sponsorship levels, and what it takes to become a sponsor. Students report that the first walkabout went well. The new members of the marketing team are being trained how to use a variety of tech tools including WordPress (websites), MailChimp (email platform), and Photoshop (Graphics), we well as write our newsletter and keep our social media channels current. A new Spartronics brochure and Sponsor Benefits flyer was created and share with the Marketing subteam. 

In the Electronics subteam, members are rotating week-to-week, training between two different fields: pneumatics and electronics. Pneumatics uses air power to move different parts of the robot. It’s typically used for up and down motions, as it works quickly, using air and cylinders. Spartronics’ robot from last year, CHAOS, used pneumatics for climbing. The other field, electronics, is used primary for the other movements of the robot, as well as its sensors and motors. Subteam leader Emerson Nicolas is enthusiastic about this group’s prospects for this season because the Electronics subteam is no longer understaffed. There were only three members on electronics last season, and this season has the number of members in electronics triple the size to nine members.

The Top STEM 2020

Bainbridge High is ranked by NEWSWEEK in the TOP 500 STEM High Schools in America! We are at 359 – our highest ranking ever. GO SPARTRONICS!

Bainbridge High School Ranked 359 out of top 500

Sponsor Spotlight: ACE Hardware of Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island ACE Hardware owners, Steve and Becky Mikami, for nearly 30 years, have kept island homes happy and healthy. From plumbing fixtures to power tools, holiday decorations and small appliances, they have everything needed to keep a house well appointed and maintained.

ACE Hardware has been one of Spartronics’ top Sponsors since we were born. This marks their seventh straight year of support as a Legacy Gold Sponsor. Like many island households, Spartronics purchases a lot of replacement tools and supplies here during our build season. Steve and Becky have come to our Open Houses and have visited us during the build season.
Not only is ACE Hardware of Bainbridge Island large supporters of Spartronics, they are also huge Bainbridge Island community supporters, which may be the best thing about them. They have been honored by many organizations for all of their good deeds. Read here, this great story from our media sponsor, the Bainbridge Review.
A remarkably humble couple who never seeks the spotlight, Steve and Becky deserve our praise and gratitude, because, without their continued support, we would not have the immense success we have as a team.

Helps us send them a note of thanks by “liking” Bainbridge Island ACE Hardware Facebook Page here.

Owners of ACE Hardware, Steve and Becky Mikami

Infinite Recharge: Star Wars and FIRST partner for FRC 2020 Game!



“Renewable sources of energy are everywhere, all around us. Using intelligent systems, imaginations, and working together in the 2020 season of FIRST Robotics Competition, students can support boundless innovation and create a society that’s empowered, inspired, and hopeful.”

The FRC 2020 Game is called “Infinite Recharge” and FIRST has provided two videos about this year’s game, which will be announced worldwide on January 4, 2020.

Take a peak!

And there is this!