Kaua’ibots at Breakaway


Breakaway’s theme was roboticized soccer. Using normal size 5 competition soccer balls, we scored points in goals near our alliance station. This meant controlling the robot from 50 feet away, and shooting towards ourselves. So, of course, we went for a dramatic shot – all the way from one end of the field to the other.

Our robot’s main feature was a winched kicker powerful enough to shoot well over the required 50 feet. We also had a large PVC pipe wall and sloped cover sitting on top of the main bot; this served both to protect the electronics (and camera) and to deflect balls back to our side of the field. We were both a long-range striker and goalie, to the delight of our teammates and dismay of our enemies.

Through these simple but effective tools, we kicked our way through to the quarterfinals. Even when our assigned teammates weren’t as helpful (but especially when they were!) we were praised for consistent goalie action and long shots, several of which scored to rousing applause from the whole stadium.


During the awards section of the competition, we won our first Spirit Award, but we also earned the Engineering Inspiration award for our success in bringing together all of the major high schools on the island. The judges were initially confused by our name, and the announcers called us Kauai High School occasionally before we corrected them, but eventually we explained our origin story and won them over.

The EI award gave us an invitation to the National Competition in Atlanta, Georgia. Of course, sending 50-odd people and a huge robot across the country is no simple task; we managed to raise $60,000 in a few short weeks thanks entirely to the generosity of our beloved island of Kauai and her people.

Nationals was a whirlwind. We were unsurprisingly outclassed by some of the nations’s best robots, but we did hold our own for quite a while.

Unfortunately, in our last qualifying match, our robot suffered a then-undiagnosable issue and had to sit through the last match without power. Later, we discovered that the culprit was the main power switch, now known around the shop as the Doomy Doom Switch of Doom.

Returning home to the adoration of our family and friends, and with a hugely inspirational experience under our collective belts, we prepared for 2011. But that, my friends, is a whole ‘nother story…


Team Spirit Award sponsored by Chrysler

Engineering Inspiration Award