Wobble wobble polycarb


Aditi Bhaskar

Team 1425’s pit. There are numerous pits at the event – one for every team. Pit and field setup/teardown happen in parallel.

What happens behind the scenes at a robotics competition? Students both set up and tear down the entire playing field before and after the event. It takes hours of hard work from many people, but it’s amazing to see that a regular basketball court can be transformed into a playing field for hundreds of robotics students on dozens of teams.

Sophomore Rubi Martin says that it depends on the day– it can turn out wonderful or terrible. “Sometimes you’re in a really fun mood. You’ll think everything is funny. Other times you’re like, oh my gosh, I want to go home because it’s been 12 hours of competition.” While setup is an arduous task, and tear down doubly so after a long day of competing, students find ways to entertain themselves regardless.

Martin says that this time, “after 12 hours of competitions, everything was super entertaining. We were just sitting there, waiting for something to happen.” Everything seemed funny to the team when they were so fatigued. 

This competition, the primary entertainment were the polycarb and masonite noises.

Regarding her experience with polycarb noises, Freshman Elie Katz says, “It’s a lot of entertainment, to be honest.” When they were working on automodes before the competition and were “waiting for setup” or the next run, they “got to listen to the polycarb noises and it was phenomenal.” Martin adds, “We just pull up some polycarb noises, and they make a little song. It’s great; I love it.” 

They searched up various recordings on the internet during practice, but none could quite match the majestic sound of wobbly polycarb, live. Martin tried her best to mimic the polycarb noises: “Wobble, wobble.” Sophomore Lily Vu mimicked it as well: (high pitched) “whoop whoop whoop whoop.” It is surely a unique sound.

Since the field is set up on organized masonite panels with polycarb alliance walls, the team got to see a lot of both during field setup and teardown. “It just can’t stop, won’t stop,” says Sophomore Alison Hodge, on how fun the polycarb sounds are.