X-Machina takes on Detriot


Lane Robotics team preparing to watch a Robotic Worlds Championships match in Detroit. (Photo courtesy of Alex Lagunas)

By Renato Arteaga, Assistant Editor

For Lane X-Machina, attending the Robotics World Championship in Detroit, Michigan became a chance to compete with the best teams across the nation.

The journey to Worlds started in late March when the team was able to punch their ticket to Detroit after going undefeated in elimination matches at the regional robotics competition in Peoria.    

In this year’s competitions, the game played was called Power Up, the robots gained points by scoring cubes in areas controlled by other teams. The teams were made of robots placed in alliances of three with the main objective of scoring more points than the other alliance and defending their area from other alliances attempting to score.

The team that traveled to Detroit for three days in late April to represent Lane’s robotics program was made up of students responsible for different functions of the robot.

Alexa Lagunas, Div. 952, is the head programmer for the computer code used to produce the robot’s activity. Brendan Allen, Div. 852, is the driver coach responsible for guiding the robot’s actions.

  Jacob Lozano, Div. 965, is a part of the robot’s mechanical team and intake sub team, which is the smaller team responsible for the robot’s functions of picking up milk crate sized cubes.

As a member of the robotics team since his freshman year, Lozano understands the impact big events like these championships will have on the future of the underclassmen members on the team.

“[This year], we were outnumbered by new faces on the team, compared to mentors and veterans on the team,” Lozano said. “It was good to get them started [on] how the whole process works, and it was great for them to see and be there.”

At the Detroit Championships, X-Machina competed in ten qualification matches. Although they were not ranked high enough to advance to the playoffs, the team still believed they had come out victorious through the whole event.

“Overall, it was pretty fun,” Lagunas said. “We didn’t place in the top ten or anything, but just being there was a winning experience for us.”

The venue in Detroit was filled with nothing but robotics in every corner, with nearly 400 teams competing against each other.

“Since there’s so many teams, they had to separate it in six divisions, so they had six different fields with matches going on, which was cool to see,” Allen said.

There were so many different teams attending the event, Lane was able to interact with teams from places around the world including China, Turkey and Canada.

“It definitely helped me feel like we were a part of something bigger,” Lagunas said. “Just knowing that this isn’t a part of Chicago, or a part of the nation, this is worldwide. So that definitely made us feel more connected with the rest of the world.”

With such a big event like the World Championships, these Chicago students were able to reflect on the growing importance of the robotics community.

“It really makes you think about it, how robotics is expanding from schools,” Lozano said. “Colleges are starting to mentor other teams from high schools. It’s really expanding and growing. They are starting to care more about it in the education system.”