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!
(**warning: title contains spoilers)
I entered the arena on Thursday morning with high hopes. We had an amazing robot, a unique autonomous, and more practice than any other year, but when you’re a south Florida FRC team whose only reputation is “Spirit award winner”, placing confidence in victory is nothing short of foolish. But practice day went pretty well, and aside from a few very aggressive inspectors, we retained our optimism.
Friday: Qualifying rounds.
We started the day extremely well, setting the high score in our second match and remaining the only robot in the competition with a solo stacked tote autonomous. Andrey and Damian drove with confidence and ease and Prajesh quickly learned the mechanics of the tote chute. We were ranked first seed for the first time in Ninjineer history and we felt good.
Then things started to go downhill. We had several bad matches, with our autonomous interrupted by our own teammate, a bunch of totes falling in the wrong position, and dropped recycling containers, and finished the day in seventh. However, one of our scouts’ favorite teams, Sachem Aftershock, came into our pit and spoke with us about our autonomous and robot design, giving us hope that we still remained on the “first pick” radar.
We also won the Entrepreneurship Award thanks to the hard work and dedication of many of our members, including Asad and Pedro for writing and editing, as well as Jeni and Kristine for submission. We can now proudly say that we’ve won an award each year that we have submitted for awards, which is no mean feat.
Saturday: End of Quals
You have never experienced frustration until you change nothing but everything goes wrong. Our autonomous went insane starting on Saturday morning, swerving into random directions, pushing our robot off balance, and losing us countless points. We tried resetting the gyro, turning one off, replacing it etc. until we finally got it working again….. after quals ended. We were in twelfth.
In a tense moment, another team picked Sachem and we waited, worried we wouldn’t get picked at all. But without a second thought, Team 263 declined and picked us, after which we, graciously, agreed to put our noodles in their bins.
Honestly, these matches are all a blur to me now. I can only speak for myself, but I feel like the victory is less real to the drive team than it is to everyone else, simply because the only way to keep your cool on the field is to focus on the moment and not think about what is actually happening. All I registered were the numbers on the screen, through quarterfinals in second place, through semis in first and down to the finals.
The buzzer sounded for the first match of the finals; the first head-to-head of the whole competition, aaaand our autonomous went completely wrong. The bin got in the way, we dropped the totes, and we began the match twenty points down. However, both we and Sachem completed our 6-tote stacks with noodles and bins and with a little help from the Voltage human player, we won the match with a discernible lead (despite my -probably unprecedented- coach foul for stepping into the human player box… oops.) Then, the second match went horribly wrong. The totes fell the wrong way, we dropped our trash can, and we lost by more than 20 points.
Down to the last match, as I suppose it should be. Our compressor finishing just in time, we hustled off the field for our last match of the South Florida Regional. Our autonomous functioned perfectly, we grabbed the trash can in mere seconds after auto, and unloaded our stack flawlessly onto the scoring platform only to realize our alliance captains had lost their trash can. We frantically stacked 3 more in an attempt to compensate and unloaded onto the scoring platform, 386 accidentally pushed them off, we pushed them back, and buzzer.
I quickly scanned the field and saw two stacks with trash cans on the opposite side. I had that sinking feeling in my gut- not again, not again- preparing myself for the pep talk, and slowly accepting my fate. But I still had a tiny glimmer of hope: until they flashed those numbers on the screen our fate wasn’t sealed. And there they were: 100 in a little blue box, and a 104 in the red one, the most beautiful numbers I have ever seen.
I distinctly remember turning around, still processing the numbers when I saw Damian understand what had just happened and jump 3 feet. The next few hours were a blur of laughter, tears, hugs, and camera flashes mixed with a healthy mixture of euphoria and disbelief.
I am so incredibly proud of my team, my fellow seniors (WE DID IT), and all of the hard work and passion that has led to this moment.
As Amy Zhou wisely said on Wednesday night, “‘Tis a year of many ‘firsts’.”
So we keep making progress! Everyone is working hard on CAD-ing and machining all necessary parts for our practice and final robot.We are continually assembling the bot as the pieces come out and things are looking really good. We’ll start practicing extensively very soon to work out any kinks and cement our game strategy.
We’re also starting to plan our regionals and attendees. I can’t believe this is the last year of awards, rosters, and rooms… everything feels so final.
Notable accomplishment of the week award goes to our Java team who got the robot to move on their java code for the first time ever. Shout out to Eric and Manusri who have put in a lot of hard work to accomplish this.
Damian has been out sick for 2 days now, but should be back again tomorrow :). The scouting spreadsheet looks better everyday as Asad and Damian make more and more improvements. As soon as Damian is satisfied (sometime this year, I swear), we’ll release the spreadsheet on Chief Delphi for everyone to use.
Now, I need to catch up on sleep. 🙂
So, with design finalized, we enter into the CADing/Machining period. Prajesh and the mechanical team work throughout their independent periods to finish the robot CAD as fast as possible, but still maintain all measurements exact. We plan on starting machining tomorrow for the chassis. The Chassis this year will sport a 4 mini cim mecanum drive using Toughbox Nano gearboxes. Gooby tested the use of a gyro on the robot to help control mecanum drive, and the results were swerve like. All we need to work on is balancing weight and mounting encoders to ensure mecanum is practically flawless. Aside from that, the scouting spreadsheet (my baby) is about half way done. Asad and I completed the first spreadsheet which is for scouts to collect data. The second spreadsheet will be the master one that will compile all the data and output it for the head-scout to read in an ordered fashion.
In case you missed our week 3 teaser video, here is is
Welcome to week 4!
Today our major shipments from AndyMark came in, and it was like Christmas… expect with controllers, tubing, and metal. Along with all this came our GIANT tanks for pneumatics that took forever for UPS to deliver. Luckily these tanks don’t hurt us on weight too much.
For mecanum drive, we swapped out our AndyMark wheels for the new Vex Pro mecanum, and it seems to be smoother and also they weigh less which is a big plus in the scheme of things. Strafing has been better this year compared to other years, but with the knowledge our team now has, we should be able to correct it using encoders and also properly distributing weight.
The practice bot is basically done, and now our CAD team is working to create everything and make it clean cut, and hopefully we can paint this year.
The none robot side of team has a ton of stuff, from awards, to the scouting spreadsheet, and lastly a special video project by team management. I have been very focus on the spreadsheet to make it as user friendly as possible without diminishing data quality. Once we have it done along with a small instruction manual, any team should be able to use it with relative ease.
Build season is shaping up, and having a week one event will be a new experience and we will learn a lot early on in the season.
As far as robot progress goes, we are basically set in all aspects of the design. As for any robotics team, there will be tons of tweaking until everything is perfect for optimal movement and stacking ability. Luckily we don’t have school on Friday or Monday this week, so those long days will really help get everything rolling into the final production line.
In terms of strategy, I was debating how the game would be played and I sent a tweet to Karthik K (an avid FRC Robotics strategist). His main message was that he thinks the game would be played in a a “Divide and Conquer” style, which basically means an alliance partitioning the field so every robot can score effectively and not be in the other robots way. Knowing how rules change and new ideas arise, this strategy may change, but for our week one event in Fort Lauderdale, this seems like a solid plan.
All in all, our robot is shaping up, team morals are high, and I think I can say for the most part, we are excited about Recycle Rush.
And thus ends our most successful season ever.
Oh, and welcome to our new team blog. Here you will find updates on everything going on in room 7110 at American Heritage School. That’s our home (for six weeks at least) where we design, build, and program a professional robot while maintaing seven classes, the SAT, AP exams, sports, clubs, and whatever else high school students have to deal with. That’s right, we’re high school students. We are team 2383, the Ninjineers, of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Each year we spread the message of FIRST and compete for an opportunity to go to the FRC World Championships.
And this year, we made it.
Our team began in 2008 here at American Heritage School. It was a humble beginning, with just a few students and teachers guiding the team. Eventually we moved into the bus shop at the far end of our campus where we continued working year after year. Since then, our team has grown incredibly. Our school now houses us in a state of the art facility where we work tirelessly. Many of our students participate in the Pre-Engineering Program which educates students in engineering, physics, and architecture featuring classes administered with certified Project Lead the Way curriculum. Additionally, the growing Pre Bio-Medical Engineering program has bridged the gap between with our school’s Pre-Medical track. In the past decade, the presence of engineering has exploded at American Heritage, and we plan to continue the growth for years to come.
But it’s not all about engineering. In our club, students can participate in management and public relations efforts, learning essentials to business and communications.
When we found out we would be attending the 2013 FRC World Championships in St. Louis, it came suddenly to all of us. It was Tuesday, April 16th, and students were in their final class of the day, taking exams, writing notes, and doing all the usual activities. We had since completed our regional competitions without securing a spot in St. Louis. Our slightly crazed mentor had been continually checking his e-mail for weeks, holding onto a glimmer of hope. You see, last October we applied for a waitlist for the World Championships. Just in case. But with the championship just a week away, many have given up this hope. But, the e-mail came. It actually came. With just one week to organize all school assignments, ship our robot and tools, notify students, and do everything else needed to travel across the country, we scrambled to get ready for this amazing opportunity. On the next Tuesday after school, about 20 students gathered at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and departed for an awesome week.
The whole experience was slightly surreal, hard to even believe. Some teams we talked to had a surprised look to see that we had made it. But we had, and we were determined to make some noise on the world stage. A few early blunders and close matches led us to losing four of our first five matches. But, we remained determined and won our last three matches by margins of 41, 58, and 72 points. Our future lay out of our control, as we entered alliance selections, hoping to be selected.
Our talent was our versatility. This year’s FRC game featured two totally different objectives: shooting Frisbees into rectangular goals and climbing a 7 and 1/2 foot tall runged pyramid. The unique challenge led to many diverse designs across the competition. Some ran their robot continually between the feeder stations and goals, shooting many cycles of disks. Others camped out at the feeder station and shot disks across the 54-foot field. Some focused on innovative climbing methods, reaching the top of the pyramid quickly and efficiently. Our robot, however, accomplished both game challenges. We cycled disks into the goals and climbed efficiently to the top of the pyramid.
At the South Florida Regional, we proved to be the only robot all weekend that climbed all the way up the pyramid. Not only did we accomplish this task, but we did it consistently, in almost every match. This versatile climber along with our shooting abilities convinced the judges to award us the Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi for our “King Kong” like climbing design.
However, at our first competition of the year, our climber wasn’t as prime for competition. In fact, we only reached the top once. And it was quite the exciting climb. From the driver station, our drivers see the back of the robot as it climbs. The main hook is completely obstructed by the main column of the robot. So, when we finally achieved our top climb, little did we know how fragile this climb really was. But close enough is enough sometimes. We got the top climb.
So, with alliance selections looming in St. Louis, we were heartbroken as our team was not selected. It was a sad end to our best season ever. But sometimes, close enough is enough. We tried our hardest on the world stage. We ended up as tied for 2nd best among all the Florida teams that attended in St. Louis and we were one of the best climbers in the whole competition. We had an incredible year and had so much fun along the way. Our success is not measured only in rankings or awards, but in how much we’ve all grown this year. We’ve learned incredible skills and grown closer as friends and peers.
This is an incredible program and we hope you follow along here as we do bigger and better things in the future. Thanks for reading. Check back often.