Sunday, September 16, 2012

Robotics Team Wins the "Battle-O-Baltimore"!

 Yesterday was a big day for my son's FRC robotics team - they won the an "off-season" event called the "Battle-O-Baltimore".  It was a great event and winning was very unexpected.  The first shot is of the three robot's of the winning alliance.  Our robot is in the foreground with our team number 4067.  I didn't take a lot of in-game photos as I was coaching but hopefully I'll get some up.

 Here's a shot of the winning alliance plotting strategy for the semi final rounds.  Being rookies our robot wasn't the best shooter (maybe a 10% accuracy ratio) so we created a program that feeds balls to a partner robot during the autonomous phase so they can shoot.  During games our primary role was to play defense (beat the heck out of the opposition robots) and then in the last 20 seconds rush over to a swing bridge tip it down and then balance on it.  Not as easy as it seems as the robots weigh up to 120 pounds (excluding the battery)!
 Here's a shot in the pit area where the team is repairing some damage that occurred in one of the qualifying rounds.  My son is re-drilling a pivot point for the swing arm (used to push the swing bridge down).  The other guys are repairing the belt assembly for the ball movement system.  Our 'bot got the heck beat out of it but we gave more than we received.

Here's a picture of the team in the queue for a match.  There were 5 qualifying rounds and then we played in 7 championship matches so that was a lot of play time for the 'bot
 Here's a picture of the drive team during set up the night before.  From left to right is my son, Sean, who was the driver, Albert lead programmer and "human player - role was to inbound balls that were scored, and Ibrahim who operated the ball lift, shooter and bridge arm.
 A picture of the 'bot the night before.  We're currently sponsored by NASA, JC Penneys and a local hardware store -Kendalls.  There's room for more sponsorship names so watch this space as we may have some interesting new sponsors soon.  Robotics at this level can be very expensive!

Our robot features a six wheel all wheel drive drive train that allows us to push any other robot around.  The ball collection device is a brush assemble (it looks low-tech but works like a charm) and a belt assembly that carries the basket balls up to the shooter.  The shooter is essentially a version of a pitching machine that spins at up 3500 RPM but we could never figure out how to make it accurate.  This was out first year in FRC, so we're off to a promising start.

Proof that if one has enough Donuts anything is possible.  We arrived a bit early (ok, a lot early) on Saturday morning and couldn't get into the pit area.  Luckily I found a Dunkin Donut shop close by and purchased four dozen and saw a magical transformation of surly teens into happy campers. Through the power of Donuts, anything is possible.

That's it for FRC until January when the new game is announced and the six week build session commences.  Now we switch to FTC, which are smaller but more complicated robots.

Oh and I still need to finish my terrain for Fall-In...


The Angry Lurker said...

Congrats to you and the team, is that the real NASA that sponsors you?

jmilesr said...

Yes, it's the real NASA - they are a big supporter of these High School robotics program as part of an effort to get more students interested in engineering for a career - it certainly worked for son!

During the regular FRC competition season NASA broadcasts all the events on NASA TV and they bring a mobile shop (in a giant tracker trailer) to assist in repairs and emergency metal fabrication - that shop was a lifesaver for us at the DC event last April.

Monty said...

Wow! Great result :) !

Gunther Cox said...