The Prism: Every Side of the Story

Tiger Robotics Club members 2021-2022 Standing: Ellen Zwerling, Asha Gajraj, Arvind Gajraj, Jaden Abromov, Covenant Badmus, Rene Floreville Kneeling: Mekhi Jordan, Dallas Franklin, Kevin Orllano, Nick Herrarte, Bernidette Lally

On February 20th, 2022, the Tiger Robotics Club rolled into Adelphi University to compete against 30 other schools for a spot in the State Championship. Only six weeks before the first tournament, our school received a grant from NASA aerospace to participate in Vex Robotics tournaments. During those six weeks, the Tigers Robotics Club worked in and out of school to prepare for these tournaments. They held team meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school to build, code, and test their two treasured robots, the Clawbot and Moby. The Tiger Robotics Club made it to the State Championships thanks to Freshmen Asha Gajraj, Covenant Badmus and seventh grader Arvind Gajraj. Their perseverance allowed them to push through the first round of games and place 14th out of 31. 

With two weeks to prepare for the Vex Robotics State Championships, the Robotics team kicked it into high gear. They improved their robots during class, lunch, club meeting times, and after school. Drivers trained for matches and skill games, while coders created an autonomous program for the robot. During the tournaments, judges would determine how many points each team received based on how many goals they moved. At 10:53 am, Tiger Robotics joined in an alliance with Bayside Commodores and the two-minute timer started, commencing their first match of the State Championship. The Tigers got off to a slow start and ended up losing this first match 43 to 132. The next match was close, but the robotics team worked together during the autonomous program and driving challenge to get an incredible 158 to 126 win! However, the next two games were played against teams in the top 20 official ranking and included strong opponents. Unfortunately, the Tigers were defeated in both games, but were not discouraged by these losses! Before the last two matches of the day, the team members had time to perfect their autonomous program and practice driving. Their extra work paid off, as they pulled away with two staggering wins to end the night, defeating the other teams by 10 and 21. The Tigers were unable to move on to the next round, but we applaud their hard work and dedication throughout the tournament. 

The members of grades 5, 6, 7, and 9 gave it their all and ended up placing 32st out of 55 in the entire state! And, not to forget, it took the LWA Robotics Team only 6 weeks to get to the State finals while they were challenged by teams with 6 years of experience!

The next competition is the Raspberry Pi robot obstacle course for Cambridge University PiWars in June.  Currently, the Robotics Club is building an obstacle course and will begin running the robots through their paces in the next few weeks. Good luck, robotics team!

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During the past few months, Covid-19 has impacted pop culture in many ways, such as no fans at sporting events, tv shows/movies being delayed for filming, and virtual awards shows and more. These are some things that have happened during the COVID-19 pandemic:

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It has been about five years now since the release of Microsoft’s and Sony’s flagship consoles, the Xbox One and Playstation 4, respectively. In other words, the launch versions of both companies’ hardware are still operating based on technology that is half a decade old. Despite this, both Sony and Microsoft have made efforts to ensure that they offer more powerful options to consumers. In the case of Sony, this took the form of the Playstation 4 Pro, which introduced a faster and more powerful unit that delivered better in-game performance and was capable of 4K gaming, as well as HDR. As for Microsoft, it too released a more powerful Xbox One, the Xbox One X, which is around 4.5 times more powerful than the original Xbox One. Though these upgrades were significant, it is becoming increasingly evident that both companies are preparing for the capabilities of their next generation consoles.

During their E3 2018 presentation, Microsoft announced that it is currently designing the system architecture for the next generation of Xbox consoles. Also worth noting is that the team working on the project is the same team that built the Xbox One X, which is an indication that if anything, consumers and fans should be expecting a very powerful console. What is interesting, though, is that head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, had mentioned that the teams have been designing multiple consoles, as opposed to the previously traditionally singular one. This information led to rumors and speculation discussed by Windows Central, who revealed that they had heard Microsoft was indeed working on two console variations. The first of which is codenamed “Lockheart” which is supposedly positioned as a modest upgrade to the current Xbox One X that will feature a lower price point in an attempt to provide an option for more casual gamers. The other device is known as “Anaconda,” and is said to be a true upgrade to the Xbox One X for dedicated fans, with a higher price point than “Lockheart.”

Microsoft is also expanding its console market in the form of their “Project xCloud” which will expand the Xbox game library to virtually any device with streaming capabilities. This project, akin to Google’s “Stadia” project, will take some time to get off the ground, but it is clear that Microsoft has a good idea of where it would like to head in the future with its games division.

Sony’s future plans happen to be much more straightforward than Microsoft’s. In fact, Sony has already revealed a lot of what they plan on offering with the Playstation 5, at least in terms of power. The PS5 will feature an SSD storage system, backwards compatibility with all PS4 games and PSVR hardware, and support for 8K TVs. Though there will certainly be more specs than what has been revealed thus far, what has been announced already is enticing. With the new SSD storage system, the console will be able to load games up to nineteen times faster than the PS4. This will allow, for example, transitions in open world titles like Spider-Man to load in a single second on the Playstation 5, whereas on a PS4, loading would take about fifteen seconds minimum.

Both Sony and Microsoft appear to have set plans for where they would like to take their console markets. Microsoft is focused on broadening its scope to be more inclusive of both casual and dedicated game fans, while also eventually planning to have a streaming service allowing for almost anyone to play its content. Sony’s plans are still rather ambiguous, but it has at least provided information about how powerful the console will be. Boasting incredibly fast loading times, coupled with full backwards compatibility as well as support for extremely high resolution games, it feels like Sony is taking the right steps to carry over as much of its current PS4 user base as possible. How successful both companies will find themselves after enacting their plans is currently unknown, but what can be said for sure is that the next console generation looks as though it will be quite interesting and different from previous ones. Analysts have been predicting the “death of consoles” for years, believing that both PC gaming and streaming services would soon dominate the market. Microsoft having plans to create its own streaming service would play nicely into that idea, if it were not for the fact that it will simultaneously continue offering physical consoles as well. As technology inevitably improves with the release of the new consoles, it is still questionable as to how reliable an alternative streaming service will be, but only time will tell.

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In 2019, Apple is set to unveil its brand new set of iPhones, as is the annual tradition. Last year, Apple revealed the iPhone XS/Max and the iPhone XR, with different initial price points, specs, and purposes respectively. The XS/Max was designed to be the true update to the previous iPhone X of 2017, while the XR was similar to 2016’s iPhone 5SE, which was offered as a budget alternative to the iPhone 7.

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Technology enters into 2019 with a bang thanks to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, an event dedicated to showcasing new progressing technology from various companies.

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As a part of iOS 12’s launch Apple planned on including the long time requested “Group Facetime,” allowing for people to finally join a Facetime call consisting of more than one person. However, at the last minute Apple released a press statement declaring that the feature would be delayed to allow for more bug testing. Multiple users who had access to the beta version reported that often times both audio and video would randomly cut out, in addition to an occasionally glitchy UI; with the large amount of bugs and glitches found within the beta it came as no surprise many that Apple issued a delay.

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The PRISM Press

The PRISM Press is the student written, edited, and published newspaper of Lawrence Woodmere Academy © 2019