In 2014, a group of York students founded Deus Ex Machina, the school’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team. Our team went on to win the Rookie All-Star Award and advanced to the international championship in St. Louis, Missouri. Since then, we have continued to learn and challenge ourselves to reach new goals. In 2017, we received the GM Industrial Design Award at the Silicon Valley Regional, one of only two design awards given at arguably the most competitive regional event in the country. The 2018 season was the first time we got to experience what it means to be a strong player on the field, often carrying our alliance partners and taking on the most complicated tasks in the game. At the end of the 2018 season, we elected a head captain and created an organizational structure with various subgroups. This new structure offered experienced students the chance to become teachers as they facilitated the training of new members through peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge.
2022 was our best year yet. Despite having a relatively new, inexperienced team, we climbed ever higher to our most successful year ever. We grew from the challenges we faced at our local Monterey Bay Regional. Even while competing in Monterey we were continuing to design future upgrades. We met as a team after the competition to develop a strategy that would put us in the best position possible for the highly competitive Silicon Valley Regional (SVR) in San Jose: a balance of mechanical and software additions as well as mechanical and software improvements that needed to be accomplished in the less-than-two-week span that defined our time constraint. We committed ourselves to this ambitious plan, and we reached heights we could never have imagined at SVR, placing 5th among 59 teams and captaining the 3rd-seeded alliance in the quarterfinals.
We are entering the 2023 FRC season with three FRC-experienced students and a number of new students who spent the last year learning about robotics remotely. Our team roster includes 24 students, two faculty mentors, and one outside mentor. The team consists of numerous student-led divisions—software, design, manufacturing, construction, and more—and is already working to tackle the 2023 FRC challenge, Charged Up. We are registered to compete at the Monterey Bay Regional (March 29-April 1) and the Silicon Valley Regional (April 5-8).
Our alumni are currently working towards, or have gone on to obtain, science and engineering degrees from places like MIT, Caltech, Brown, Colorado School of Mines, Cornell, USC, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, West Point, Yale, Embry-Riddle, Cal Poly SLO, Northwestern, and University of Chicago. Moreover, Team 5171 alumni continue to pursue hands-on experiences like Gavilan College's Aviation Maintenance Technician program and CalSol, the UC Berkeley solar vehicle team.