Making New Friends: HVR Meets With Governor Neil Abercrombie

Today, representatives from Hilo Viking Robotics had the amazing opportunity to meet with Governor Neil Abercrombie at Hawaii Tech Works.  Although his main goal for the meeting was to announce his plans for re-election, the Governor also took the time to congratulate HVR on their success at recent competitions.  The club is extremely grateful to Governor Abercrombie for his support, and hopes that he will enjoy his new HVR team shirt.

As always, thank you to Hawaii Tech Works for their unrelenting support.  You can find them on Facebook, Twitter (@easthawaii) and Instagram.

You can follow Governor Abercrombie @neilabercrombie on Twitter as well.

VEX Worlds in Review

Cheers of amazement erupted from the hundreds of robotics teams in the audience as the stage lit up with sparks in a blaze of glory.  “See you all here next year!” yelled the announcer as a cannon of confetti exploded in the stands, showering the crowds in a torrent of color.  The team believes that robotics is about so much more than just building robots, and this amazing experience has proven that belief right yet again.

Nearly four hundred teams from all over the world met at the Anaheim Convention center this past weekend, each of them amount the top teams from their region.  Hilo Viking Robotics brought two of their robots to go head-to-head with teams from Mexico, China, Saudi Arabia and countless other nations and states.

To accommodate the massive amounts of teams in attendance, the competition was split up into five divisions, each consisting of eighty-four teams.  Both of HVR’s teams were split into separate divisions with 1378 being placed in the Engineering division, and 1378Z in the Technology division.

The level of competition at VEX Worlds was undoubtedly at a higher level.  Both of the club’s teams were up against robots that scored, moved and descored faster than any we had seen.  After fighting through stiff competition in all ten qualification matches, team 1378 ended up 23rd out of 84 teams with a record of  6/4/0 (Wins/losses/ties).  Team 1378Z ended up 22nd with a record of 5/3/2.

Although the team didn’t win as much as they had hoped, there is still much happiness to be found in the experience of the first worldwide competition that this club has qualified for.  Growing from a team that could barely place in their own regional to one that can take on the very best that China has to offer is nothing short of remarkable progress.

Overall, Team 1378 is proud of this past VEX season, and remains optimistic about returning next year to take on teams from across the globe in the new game VEX Toss Up!

Hawaii FRC Regional: Engineering Inspiration!

Waiting in anticipation, the thirty-member strong team of Hilo Viking Robotics sat quietly in the stands at the Stan Sheriff Stadium. “And next, we have the Engineering Inspiration Award” the announcer excitedly said.

This award, as stated on the FIRST website, this award celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community.

“This team has shown amazing success through their Camp Eureka and outreach endeavors.” Suddenly, the eyes of all the club members opened much, much wider as they stared at each other in disbelief.

“This award goes to…” The announcer paused for what seemed like an eternity before saying:

“Team 1378!”

All of the members walked down the stairs of the stadium to the competition floor wearing smiles bigger than their faces as they received the award with open arms, knowing that all their hard work had finally paid off.

Receiving this award qualifies HVR for FIRST Worlds in St.Louis, MO and gets $1000 worth of travel subsidized by McDonalds, and the $5000 registration fee for FIRST paid for by NASA.

Although this award was the highlight of the competition, team 1378 experienced success in many other areas. After a rough start due to many technical issues, the robot was completely fixed for the last half of the competition. Team 1378 was picked by second-seed alliance Spyder team 1622 from Poway, California. Together, we picked the Typhoons team 4253 from Taipei, Taiwan. Our alliance made it to semifinals, beating out the 7th seeded alliance of West Hawaii Exploratory Academy, the Crusaders and Kapolei High School.

Although our journey came to an end at semifinals, we are extremely pleased with how far our club has come in these past couple of years. Congratulations to all of the teams at the Hawaii FRC Regional, and we will see those of you who qualified in St. Louis!

FRC Hawaii Regionals: Day 1

HVR has just arrived on Oahu to compete in the 2013 FIRST Regional.  Today is entirely practice rounds so that all the teams will be able to operate at their full potential tomorrow, when the qualifying rounds start.  Those teams who are in the top eight at the end of the qualifying matches will be seeded, and will pick another two teams to be allied with them.  Together, they will fight their way though the ladder in hopes of winning the tournament.

This year, teams from all over the world have come to participate in one of the most intense robotics tournament in the world. Other than the local teams, ones from Mainland United States, Australia, and Taiwan have brought their product of brainpower and hard work. What’s amazing about the FIRST competition is not only the robots themselves, but also everything else. Teams express their team spirit through human-sized mascots, numerous posters, countless banners, and most of all, the spirited, energetic, loud cheers from the teammates and alliance partners.

Please come and join us at the Stan Sheriff Center this Friday and Saturday to experience the energy of robotics and witness the ability of our passionate youths.

We’ll be keeping you all updated through our website and Twitter at @Team1378. You can watch the game live at

Mahalo for all of your support!


HVR: Pan Pacific Tournament Champions!

This past weekend, Hilo Viking Robotics participated in the 2013 VEX Pan-Pacific Tournament, where teams came to pit the skill of their drivers and design of their robots against teams from across the globe.  Many teams from places like China, Taiwan, Australia, California and all over Hawaii arrived with crates filled with intricate twistings of metal and plastic – the culmination of months of hard work.  First and foremost, we are proud to have been one of those teams.

HVR brought four teams up to this competition: 1378 – headed by president Matt Pearring, 1378Z – captained by vice president Damien Augiar, 1378B – driven by Ashley Chen, and 1378X – a team composed of our many new members, driven by Harrison Bierman.

Qualification matches were without a doubt, intense.  Teams from Oahu kept their same high level of competition, while teams from China and Taiwan noticeably stepped up their game from last year.  However, HVR was able to thrive in this competition

At the end of the qualification matches, 1378 was ranked #2 as second seed at 7 wins, 1 loss.  1378Z was ranked 34th at 5 wins, 3 losses.  1378X was ranked 46th at 4 wins, 4 losses.  1378B was ranked 75th at 3 wins, 5 losses.

For alliance selection, team 1378 picked Waiakea team 1378B (rank 6, 7 wins, 1 loss), and Millilani team 1973D (rank 23, 5 wins 3 loss).  1378B was selected by Honoka’a team 2455, 8th seed.

Our alliance with Honoka’a put up a good fight in quarterfinals, but was eliminated in round 3.  Our second seed alliance pulled through after a nail-biting match with team 7796 from Beijing.  The alliance of Hilo, Waiakea and Mililani continued to dominate in the semifinals by beating the third-seeded alliance of 7972A from Gaoxin High School, who pulled off an unbelievable five-point victory against the first seeded alliance of Mckinley and Waialua High Schools.

In the final round, the Hilo/Waiakea/Mililani alliance faced off against the fifth-seeded alliance of Searider Robotics, Peal HS and 808 Robotics.  HVR and Waiakea won the first round with a score of 125 to 65.  Mililani switched in with Waiakea the second round, and won the tournament for our alliance with a landslide score of 254 to 20.

Congratulations to all of the teams that participated – the level of competition this year was higher than anything we’ve seen, and we have you to thank for that amazing experience.  Also, thank you to our MANY amazing sponsors, supportive parents and of course, our dedicated advisors, all of whom this would not be possible.  And to the other teams that qualified for worlds – we will see you in Anaheim!

FIRST Mid-Season Update

It is officially halfway into FIRST season, and for Team 1378, everything is going according to schedule.  With the chassis completed, shooter and intake  prototyped and CADed and control board mounted, things are looking great.  At this rate, HVR will be more than ready for bag and tag day on the 19th of February.  Good luck to all the teams out there, and hope that you’re on track as well!

As a teaser, here is a CAD drawing of our current robot.

HVR At Ellison Onizuka Day

Onizuka_Day Slider


This past weekend  Hilo Viking Robotics participated in the annual Ellison Onizuka Day fair, which is held in honor of the first and only astronaut born and raised in Hawaii.  Various science and technology organizations ran demonstration groups during this event, with HVR proudly among them.  Here, a couple members of the club demonstrated the VEX robot and ran a mini-game where anyone interested could try their hand at picking up some sacks and depositing them in the competition trough.

We were happily surprised with the amount of people that showed such a vested interest in what we do, and what robotics is all about – fun, learning and new experiences.  Thank you to the event organizers for allowing us to be at the heart of the science and technology community demonstrating what we love.

2013 FIRST Kickoff

A mere five days after the new year, the most intense and exhilarating robotics competition in the U.S. has just begun.  Every year, the robotics organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) releases a new game challenge, is always met with excitement from clubs all over the world.  The game this year is called “Ultimate Ascent”, a play on the game Ultimate Frisbee.

Naturally, the game pieces this year aren’t basketballs, but frisbees.  Teams this year have to devise ways to launch the flying plastic discs through goals that reach up to nine feet off the ground, and if they so choose, hang their robot off of a pyramid at the end of the match.

Hilo Viking Robotics met this rainy Saturday morning to begin turning these daunting challenges into an impressive reality.  We began by separating the features that we needed from those that we merely wanted and wished for.  We then assigned our members do different task groups that are responsible for certain elements of the robot.  These procedures were carried out to maximize our club’s efficiency during the short, six week build time we are given.

Happy New Year, and good luck to all of the teams out there.  We look forward to having a great year, and thank you all for your continued support.

HVR – Winners of the Maui VEX Excellence Award!

A dream.  Four years ago, thats what qualifying for VEX worlds was for our small robotics club.  We’ve spent the past three years slowly stepping up our game in hopes that one day, that dream would be realized.

This past weekend, Team 1378 reached its goal by proudly bringing home the prestigious Excellence Award from the VEX competition on Maui.  This award recognizes a team that is outstanding in all areas of robotics.

The judges specifically stated that it was clear that all team members had a part in building our robot.  They also recognized our consistency, speed and simplicity in design – all of which were goals that we set for ourselves to reach.

HVR has come a long way, and we have you to thank for that.  Whether you are a sponsor, mentor, parent, amazing advisor, camp eureka parents/student, or fellow club member, we thank you all for allowing us to follow our dreams, and turn them into a reality.

Congratulations and thank you to all!