Revealing the Robot

Say hello to Hephaestus, STORM’s robot for the 2016 Stronghold game! We just presented the product of everyone’s hard work to team members’ families at our annual Robot Reveal. Student speakers gave a rehash of their presentations from our Critical Design Review at Lockheed Martin before finally wheeling out the actual low-bot in all its beaver-tailed glory.

There are a lot of reasons we’re excited about Hephaestus—not just the robot itself, but also how well the name suits it. I remember when we were first discussing the name choices in the Program Management room. There were a lot of jokes about the Greek god Hephaestus’ tragic backstory: how he was so hideous, his mother Hera hurled him off of Mount Olympus; how the gods thought it hilariously ironic that he, the ugliest god, was the arranged husband of Aphrodite, the most beautiful goddess. Yet there’s a reason Hephaestus is one of my favorite characters from Greek mythology. He’s an engineer, a thinker, a dreamer. He forged Zeus’ lightning bolts, Helios’ golden sun chariot, Artemis and Apollo’s bows and arrows—what would the world do without a Hephaestus? In essence, he’s the divine equivalent of everything STORM hopes to represent and produce.

So yes, I’d like to think that our robot is kind of like the least attractive god out there, but in the best way possible. Any casual passersby would look at our robot and mostly see a mess of wires and unidentified metal parts. But, of course, in the same way there’s more to Hephaestus than his looks, our robot can achieve so much more than its outer appearance suggests. Most importantly, we have faith in our robot and in ourselves to get to the level of recognition that our labors deserve. On that note, I can’t wait to see everyone at Worlds in April!

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