Good news we finished our robot on time yesterday, but you can wait to see that when we release our reveal video soon! Essentially for the past couple days we have been working on two things, climbing and shooting. Climbing actually works surprisingly well as long as we have a rope that can hold us. Shooting was a little bit more tricky. We have abandoned using vision for now ,so we are going to focus more on presets. So essentially the past couple days have been spent dialing those shots in. Today I’m also going to hopefully provide lesson for people who may find themselves in a tough situation in robotics. From Day 1 of joining robotics everyone always has a dream, something they one day hope to achieve by their senior year. Through three years of hard work, sweat, and blood, you may finally get close to that goal or that dream you may hold so dear. However in robotics there are always many other qualified people who may have the same aspirations. And sometimes things simply don’t go your way. When this happens you will feel like your entire world is collapsing and everything you worked for has just come up short. Yes its fine to be disappointed and even a little mad, but even if some people in charge decided against you, it is important to not lash out at them. These are people you have spent 3+ years with and only have so much time left, so try to enjoy it. And hey its perfectly cool too show off a little bit and make them feel dumb about their decision sometimes 😉 Morale of the story, as mad as you might get, everything will keep going, and it is up to you to make the most of it.

 

Jonathan Mirchandani

Team Management Director

Hello today is going to be more of a unique posts. Below I will be discussing potential shooting strategies and zones. Hope you enjoy 🙂 If you want to more about strategy feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Jonathan Mirchandani

This is the visual interpretation of the zones below.

    • Key Zone Shooter: Safest shots that can only be defended legally for 5 seconds. However the key zone will indefinitely take the longest time to get too out of all the zones.
    • Mid Shooter: A robot that is comfortable with shooting from the middle of the launch pad and can potentially be defended. This would be a good zone for a robot who wants to go to the gear lifter while also keeping a shooting aspect of the robot. This is also debatably one of the harder zones to defend due to the opponent not really being able to completely see you from their drive station.
    • Matrix Shooter: A robot that doesn’t shoot from the key zone but essentially a zone behind it, which can be defended but this would allow for faster gear lifter placement and less travel time.
    • Retrieval Zone Shooter: This would be a robot that would essentially be shooting from around the opponent’s retrieval zone (which is on your side of the field btw). The benefit of this would be it’s a straight path to your own retrieval zone while being able to grab any potential fuel your opponent may just dump. The massive negative is that this is where there will be a ton of robot traffic due to your opponent needing to get gears from their retrieval zone leading to lots of potential defense. Also very important you cannot contact an opponent’s robot when they are in their retrieval zone.
    • Longshot Shooter: This would be a robot that would be shooting as soon as they cross the Launchpad line. The obvious benefit too this would be very little travel time from wherever you decide to collect balls. The immediate negatives would be this is probably the hardest shot while also keeping you farther away from the gear lifters. On top of that if you shoot from the zone closer to the Retrieval Zone, you have to shoot over the airship along with dealing with potential robot traffic.

Midway through week 5, our main accomplishments are getting the robot to actually be mobile and drive around. Anurag has been doing great electrical work, so hopefully we will have a fully functioning robot soon. 🙂 In other news, we have finally reached our weight limit with the robot, so now our focus will be in reducing its weight. As the robot comes together, we are also getting closer to making our first ever scouting app, brought to us by Team Management Director Dawson Cohen .This app will work on iOS devices. Scouting on the app will be focused on analyzing the cycles of the individual robot. There will be a timer with numerous buttons used to determine behaviors and tendencies of each robot during the match. The last project we are currently working is our very own competition field! Over the past couple days we have actually secured the first walls of the field, which provides us with the building blocks to hopefully be able to show you an amazing field in the future! This will be the first year we will be having a more detailed field, and hopefully a field that we will be able to use for many years to come!

Hey everyone,

First off, quick apologies for not being able to post last week; had an update for eyes at the hospital.

In general, progress is moving along at a steady rate. The main difference between last year and this year is the organization of the team and delegations of task and leadership.

The robot is divided into sections, and each section is under the leadership of one or two directors. And in these divisions, the entire design is CADed, prototyped, and refined to see how it well fit with the robot. The implementation of a more extensive CAD allows us to visualize the robot and how everything will mesh together, this leads to a much more solidified product – each hole, indentation, bend and curve of the robot is planned ahead of time.

The entire thing is finally coming together, it’s kind of weird to think about where we were 2 or 3 weeks ago. The days just kinda blended together, and thanks to the dedication of the mechanical and electrical team, we already have a working practice bot.

We’re just starting the final stretch, we still have to test the robot more, do drive team practice, and review the entire thing over this week and the next. Competition for South Florida is right after that, and before we know it, we’ll be down there, competing.

It’s so weird to think of this as the senior’s last competition, but I am more than confident that the underclassman will have everything under control.We’re getting ready for the future, as it will be here any minute now.

To a great end of build season.

Regards,

Pedro

With only two weeks of build season remaining, it is definitely ‘crunch time’ in the Ninjineers robotics lab.

All week, diagrams have been drawn on whiteboards, code has been written, and our prototype has been taken apart, put back together, and taken apart again. While our current prototype is little more than a husk of aluminium, the progress we have made this week is strong. Pieces seem to be flying off the CNC and 3-D printers as we get closer to the final robot. The Electrical department has done a nice job with organizing the roboRIO and power distribution board, using an elevated platform and the sides of the robot to minimize the space our required hardware takes up. Since we want to hold as many fuel points as possible, maximizing the space our precious cargo can occupy is of utmost importance.

But with many balls comes many responsibilities. With our original design of a funnel-like hopper that used gravity to guide them to the shooter, we found that the weight of balls on the top could cause jams in our system. The shooter was gutted, and resigned with something we call an ‘agitator’ – a device that beats the balls into submission until they file themselves in a spiral and go one by one into the shooter. Work is now being put into designing a climber, and considering our robot is fairly light (hope I didn’t jinx that), a solution should be found. Right now, nearly everyone is either CADing on a computer or in the lab hard at work. Sharing an assembly file of our robot design allows everyone to collaborate and add pieces with ease.

In non-robot news, we have a comprehensive list of merchandise that we are ordering, including way too many fortune cookies. Fortune cookies for days. Fortune cookies to feed your grandchildren. The scouting team (aka Dawson) is working on a very streamlined scouting spreadsheet that will be the cause of great pain for our future scouts.

Here at the Ninjineers, we gently stir our fuel units to ensure thorough cooking.

Behold, the great tower of 3D-printed rollers.

Something I’ve been working on is a side project for our school’s guidance department. I modeled six tokens for six different colleges that are visiting our juniors.

 

 

                                                           For example: The University of Miami.

That’s all for now!

    – Lexi Fleury

 Director of Public Relations

 

 

 

 

 

Hey guys! Sorry for the delay, one of our members had to go to a doctor’s appointment which resulted in no post on Monday. This weekend we hosted our first open house of 2017! What is open house you might ask? Open house is when we essentially “open” up our lab too all the prospective parents and students for American Heritage in order to convince them to pursue careers in STEM. At this open house we displayed all of our robots from the past, showing how our club and FRC has grown over the years. Its nice to see how we started 4 years ago with a simple basketball robot and have evolved with good and bad ideas since then. We have done things as crazy as making our robot a circle to things as simple as knocking over trash cans with varying degrees of success. People even got to see a working model of our robot this year! Our shooter was so strong that we got balls stuck in the trees. So when your stuck just shoot for the stars and sometimes you might get there literally. In terms of build season progress we have reached the point where we are going to build a second robot soon, so stay tuned there is plenty more building to come!

Build season is in full swing, and our robot is coming together. Maybe, just maybe, we might have a functioning robot by this Saturday for our open house presentation. But just to make this post a little unique today, I’m gonna tell you about the part of robotics that most people generally gloss over; management. This is the one job in robotics that  has to be done 100% correctly every single time. Why is this, you might ask? Well, at every competition the management team is responsible for the teams essential needs which at their most basic level. For example, several officers and directors are hard at work planning the logistics of our trip to the New York City regional. Every hour of the day, team members know where they need to be, what they should be doing, and need to stay informed. Team management also deals with the money the club makes, and make sure that each sale of a team shirt or jacket is recorded.

Another department that I feel doesn’t get enough love is Public Relations. The Ninjineers’ PR team does what most PR people in most companies doe: we connect with the public. We are tasked with being the face of the Ninjineers, and spreading our team image throughout FRC. Once known as the Florida team with all the spirit awards, we are now a Florida powerhouse with robotics talent and a recognizable brand. Our connections with teams throughout FRC were strengthened when I gave every team in our division at Worlds an official Ninjineers plush doll. Talking to teams from Australia and Mexico was super cool. There’s a weird sense of joy in knowing that a team will remember our name, and more importantly, who we are. Public relations is also very big on media, especially social media. Our twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts can all be viewed with the links on this website. We even post shout-outs about of FIRST Lego League team, which is run by Aaron, member of PR, and Sid, member of Team Management. A lot of our photos are the work of Lexie, our awesome media officer. With a steady hand and a really good camera, she manages to capture the energy of our team at competitions and during build season. And without the hard work of Sherlyn, we wouldn’t have dedicated sponsors who supply us with supplies, parts, and funds.

 

–  Jonathan Mirchandani and Lexi Fleury

Director of Team Management and Director of Public Relations

 

bonus: A wild Anurag in his natural habitat.

Strategic design is how a team goes about building a robot. While yes this may sound self-explanatory and simple. it is actually quite complex. FRC is a mind sport. It requires high-level thinking and puts people against one another in a competitive setting. And as sports age, they reach higher and higher levels, and reaching and staying at that top 1% becomes harder and harder and harder.

Take a look at Soccer, back in the old days, teams did not require intensive strategic management. It used to be just put your best players on the field and have them play it out and hopefully you’ll win. Then teams such as the Dutch Total Football, Barcelona Tiki-Taka, and Italian Catanaccio evolved. Teams did not necessarily need the best players in all positions to succeed, they required successful unit cohesion and a shared philosophy to overcome possibly more individually skilled opponents.

And FRC is reaching that level, slowly and slowly. The top 1% stay and reach that level not just because they have the brightest students, the best mentors, and the most advanced facilities, they also execute their robot efficiently and with a set purpose. In my personal opinion, FRC 2014 Aerial Assist marks this point. Karthik talks about how one mistake on in strategy can cost the entire team the Championship, how one misplayed cycle can throw the entire game off. If teams hope to reach levels of this competition, to stay at this level; if our team hopes to reach that level – it all has to start on day one.

I’ve mentioned kickoff, and I’m gonna mention it again but in more detail, because it is so darn crucial. We had to organize our ideas, given such a demanding task in a timely fashion but also efficient. We had to establish our philosophies: do we want to aim for Einstein or aim for a regional? Building a robot to win worlds is not the same as building a robot for a regional. After long polite argument, we eventually decided on aiming for Einstein, and even if we fail, we can still hope to trust fall into the arms of a regional win.

Starting with the Robot base, the chassis, we had a team meeting with Electrical, Mechanical, and Strategy members. We looked at the pros and cons at swerve drive, tank drive, a combination of the two. After evaluating our skills set, what the game demanded, and previous years, we wanted a more robust base of 8 Pneumatic Wheel 6 CIM WestCoast drive. This allows our robot to be a dominating force on the field, allow us to dictate the pace of the match and not be pushed around.

And since we also decided to go with balls, we powered a two-part conveyor belt feeder with custom 3D printed parts with two 775s. We also managed to efficiently fit our gear mechanism in the middle of all of this.

Shooting wise, after several prototypes, we’re learning at some Einstein inspired firepower with two wheels, versaplanateries, 775 pros, 3:1 gear ration all with an encoder, and possibly some Nexus inspiration tying it all together.

More prototypes for more passive and active mechanisms are coming together, and while I can’t share these yet, we’re hoping it will all lead to success. The process of weighing our pros and cons of shooting types, feeding mechanisms, gear ratios, motor types, has lead to a more streamlined proceess, and hopefully some success along the way.

I kinda don’t want build season to end, but I kinda do so I can see it all in action. It’s a bittersweet feeling especially with this being my last year.

Here’s to continuing our team’s success for the rest of the build season and competition season! 🙂

-Pedro

 

 

Hey Guys! Sorry about not posting yesterday, we were doing human simulations of this year’s game. What is a human simulation? A human simulation is when we all take the game and essentially play it by pretending that we are the robots. To pretend that we are robots we have to rely on only using slower and more mechanical movements in order too accomplish our assigned task. This ended up being a blast and you can see a picture of our simulation below. Using the simulation we predict that most robots will be able to do about 4-5 gears by themselves. Shooting robots will be able too shoot 20-30 balls at a mediocre normal throwing speed. Apart from our simulation our actual robot is starting to come together! The feeding mechanism has actually been attacked to a drive train, so it now actually does resemble a robot. (So Gene you could say we have a robot now). Currently we are discussing potentially where to put the electrical board and other components that will actually you know, make the robot move. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Before I get into the details of our scouting system, just gonna give a quick update with the team’s progress elsewhere.

Charles has done a great job with the field, especially his management of tasks. Two of our sophomore officers, Blake and Vincent, have taught newer members how to work with the tools, CAD, and CNC post process all while doing a great job on the field.

Only slight issue with this however, is that however knows how to use the CNC, and thus everyone wants to use it. Now we just have too many things to CNC and it causes a line to form at the manufacturing computer. But thankfully, this is a great issue to have. 🙂 (Gene has been working overtime keeping the CNC in check)

In terms of the actual robot, JD has finished the chassis with the help of the newer members, Sofia and Manusri have updated the shooter with new wheels and feeding system, Anurag has been testing robot code and getting the test bed ready, Matt’s vision has been going smoothly, Zach and Pierre are almost done with the CAD of our first prototype.

And this is all going smoothly due to the help of our mentors Bill and John, and of course, Massimo 🙂

Scouting wise, our team is taking a more nuanced approach to scouting this year. It is humanly impossible to count all the balls scored by a robot in a match, especially if they are shooting super rapidly into the high goal. So instead of just counting the amount of balls entered into the high goal, we are using a three-step verification process. First, the scouts will subjectively scout the amount of balls scored by each team in a match on a scale of 1 – 5. Ranging from a few balls to “what the heck” amount of balls. Next, we have developed our own system of calculating balls scored mathematically. Borrowing from sports power rankings and The Blue Alliance’s OPR, we calculated the robots Ball Score. This will be done by placing recording the total kPa value of the boiler at the end of the game, per alliance. Then each score and robot on the alliance will be put into a matrix. Using excel, we calculated the inverse of the matrix, transpose the matrix’s dimensions to that of the score’s column, multiply that column by the inverse of the matrix and the original matrix to solve the complex system of equations. This allows us to find the contribution each alliance had to the ball score, based on the teams they were partnered with, based on those teams that team was partnered with and etc. This three-step verification process will allow us to accurately scout a robot’s abilities in the boiler area, allowing for less guesswork and memory of all the matches played.

Also, for match strategy, we also created a calculation spreadsheet. Through game logic, and a whole bunch of nested if-statements, we can calculate how efficient our robot has to be designed for. Given on the inputs of: ball/second, the dimensions of the ball storing system which gives the cubic volume of balls that can be stored (multiply the area of the container by the sphere packing constant,) the amount of points wanted to be scored, how long it takes to feed from a station, the accuracy of the shooter, how much time allotted, and how many auto balls scored; it outputs the amount of total tele-op balls needed to be scored, the total cycles, shooting time per cycle, the total time of the cycle, the total amount of balls needed to be shot (accuracy accounted for.) the total time spent shooting, and the total time left over at the end of the match.

Creating this spreadsheet has allowed our team to design efficiently instead of spending time in one factor that may not affect our match score and time efficiency as much. (The shooter speed’s efficiency decreases exponentially as the size of the ball container decreases per example.)

Also, in PR, Lexie has finished modifying the front of the shirts that I designed, and we are starting to work on the back as well. She has made some super adorable steam punk ninjas for branding purposes. Also, our Sherlyn is looking to finalize our sponsors for this year; we could not be as successful as a team without these sponsors.

If we keep this pace up, I have super high hopes for the competition season, and i’m sure the rest of the club does too. Our new members, Azara, Max, Anish, Danilo, Zach just to name a few, have done a great job so far, and I am super excited for the future they bring to this club.

See you guys next week, hopefully! 🙂

Regards,

Pedro Henrique P. Do Nascimento

Public Relations Senior Director