My Experience at States

I’m a FTC Gold member, and although we didn’t win, I enjoyed my experience at States. The robots there were amazing and I don’t think any of us are ashamed that we lost to such smooth and practiced teams. It even encouraged us to build a new robot; inspired by many of those we saw at States. There was a sense of community, not just among the RoboLancers teams, but all Philadelphia teams, as Girls High, Palumbo, and Central all cheered each other on. This was the first time we saw the semifinals and finals from an outsider’s perspective, not as someone competing, and it made the experience a lot more fun. We are all so proud of the judges award we won, and I think everyone had a good time.

Experiences at Hat Tricks

I was astonished by the number of robots there were and the amount of work other teams put into their robots. I felt very good at the robot’s ability to press the beacons. In fact, on the drive team I felt proud of the accomplishments we made as well as the failures that happened. Whenever failure came upon us, I would always look up to the the rest of the team cheering us on. It felt the best when in mid-game, our robot randomly lost a wheel. I was very worried, but when the robot was still working and the crowd was still cheering, I gained an aura of confidence.

I learned a lot while driving the robot. Even though our robot wasn’t as agile or able as some other robots, our robot was still a great accomplishment. Though our robot didn’t work as planned (able to shoot) we still contributed every game, including cheering on our allies as well as pressing beacons. Though some allied teams decided to disregard our need for help, we still tried to help as much as possible. In between every game, the team always tried to add better parts, fix any problems, and plan on any next changes.

Though our robot was placed last in the competition, I still have confidence that we will be considered one of the most able and agile after some changes. This competition was simply a test to see how our robot functions and any changes that must take place after the competition.  Unfortunately, during the competition, our robot wasn’t able to shoot. We could press beacons as well as lift the cap ball, but was apparently not good enough. I strive for the qualities our robot may need. Once we meet those goals, we would contribute a lot more during the Tournaments. All in all, I am very proud of the robot.

My experiences with the Business team of the RoboLancers

At the end of Boot Camp, I chose to join the Business team because of the great experience I had with Business section of the Boot Camp. In the first week, I was awkward because I didn’t know anyone. We were given a task to develop a theme for the RoboLancers based on the topic of the FRC game this year. Throughout the process of making up a theme, I became familiar with the history of the Robolancers and the people in the team. We worked hard with each other to develop a theme and prepare for the presentation. Even though only three of us were there on the day of the presentation, I learned a lot and had a lot of fun.

In the Business team, we also had to do public speaking. I was shocked when I heard that we had to stand in front of the team and talked about a topic for 5 minutes. I was really bad at public speaking and I was really scared to talk in front of a large group of people. However, I tried my best and learned my mistakes.

Overall, I am having a great time in Business and I am learning a lot.

Thoughts on the Robolancers

The first time I have ever seen the Robolancers was at a robotics convention, where they seemed to be doing a competition. Ever since then, I was curious if I should join the team, since I knew I was going to Central High School. The previous year I had joined the robotics team of my grade school, and it was an amazing experience. But now that I’m a member of the Robolancers, it trumps my previous experiences on a robotics team.

Currently, I am in the business division of the team, and the experience has been awesome. It was really interesting to see something more complex than just: “Here’s the parts, now build a robot”. I feel as if the Robolancers will help me open more doors for my future.

RoboLancers Boot Camp

When I first heard about Robotics from my friend, Frank Yang, I was a little hesitant due to me joining a little late. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it or had the time for it. However, Frank told me to come after school on Friday and join up. So on Friday, I went to Mr. Johnson and “signed up”. That was when I was put into the Carver group.

Upon entering, I was immediately told to report to my room. As I entered, I was of course going to be awkward due to not knowing anyone. With Diego (and others) as a teacher, we learned about the game/ the notebook. Over the course of class, I became more familiar and did some activities, such as seeing the consequences of a 5-minute notebook.

After Notebook class, came Mechanical class. The teachers this time were Vincent and Johnny. After some PowerPoints, we delved right into learning the essentials of building the robot. We learned about the chassis and the basics of the motor, as well as the very basics of the electrical group. Although I like the previous class, this was a little more preferred.

Next up was the Programming class. This was the first class that assigned homework ,I wasn’t happy about it, but I was grateful. The class proved to be very challenging unless you already knew some things. It was the hardest of the classes.

Last but not least, was the Business class. By far my favorite, in the business class we learned of what to do in order to support the club. After a great powerpoint by the teachers, we learned of pictures, and how to ask for grants. We even learned how to dance, kind of.

In the end, I’m glad I was in this because it helped me in the division that I picked. It was overall a good experience.       

FIRST World Championship 2016

For the second year in a row, the RoboLancers traveled to St. Louis to compete at the FIRST World Championship. We had won the Chairman’s Award, the most prestigious award in FIRST, during MAR. It was a dream come true for us to attend Worlds once again.

Winning brought back many memories from last year. Some of those weren’t pretty (16+ hour long bus ride), but it didn’t tone down our excitement. Even though I was excited to go, I was more excited in showing and explaining to the younger members what the event would be like. I told them how great this competition was, how great the teams are from around the world, and the cool gadgets that companies would bring along to showcase. It was to show them the wonderful event they were going to be part of.

Worlds was just like last year: a big arena filled with nerds from all over the world. The stadium was filled with FIRST stuff such a shop for FIRST gear, cardboard cutouts of Dean Kamen, Woodie Flowers, and Don Bossi; and Team 4525’s giant cardboard robot. Roaming around the arena was fun because there mascots also that walked about. I took so many pictures of them that one of my teammates, Henry Dang, started complaining. Whoops.

Mascots weren’t the only things I took pictures with. While walking, I saw out of the corner of my eye someone familiar. I actually yanked Henry back once I recognized who the person was. It was Woodie Flowers. For the second year in a row, Henry and I got to meet Woodie Flowers and get his autograph. We even got to take a picture with him. 

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For the matches we were in the Curie Division. We started off with a 124-66 victory in our first match. Then we moved up to 5th place with a score of 121-105 in our second match. Throughout the day we had a mixture of wins and losses. Sadly, we weren’t picked during the alliance selection but we gave shout outs to teams 1089 and 25 for representing FIRST Mid-Atlantic teams on the Curie Division as alliance captains. We ended the event in rank 30 (much better than last year’s rank 54) with a record of 5-5-0.

Other than the competition, the team got to do numerous activities such as attending the Innovation Faire, visiting the Gateway Arch, playing at the hotel’s arcade, and spending the night at Six Flags. Just bonding with friends and doing activities that weren’t robotics was a nice feeling.

Our time for the rest of the school year is running short. Our seniors will be graduating in June, and I can already tell there’s going to be tears during the RoboLancer’s senior send off. (There was so much crying last year). Worlds gave us an opportunity to grow closer as a family. 

This was our third time going to Worlds. Whether or not we go next year, we’ll continue to do our best and continue to spread STEM throughout the city of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Science Festival

The Philadelphia Science Festival features endless activities for everyone! It was a fun and unique experience for me because I got the chance to experience the festival as an attendee and an exhibitor. As an exhibitor it was a fun experience connecting with many different people through spreading STEM. It was really fun introducing others to robotics, our team, what we do here at Central High School, and in the Philadelphia community. Also, because it was a very diverse crowd with people of all ages I not only got to work with kids but also adults, getting many different people introduced to STEM. As an attendee, the festival was fun in a different way. Instead of teaching others, I got to learn from them which was just as enjoyable! I never thought I could learn so much in one afternoon. I got to witness others getting the opportunity to enjoy STEM the way I do!

 

 

 

MAR Regional Championships

The Mid-Atlantic Robotic Competition started out as a blazing success for the RoboLancers. The first day of official competition ended with our team in the top 8 ranks, our Chairman’s division brimming  with confidence, and smiles on everyone’s faces. This feeling was something that I always love to feel at first competitions: the feeling of accomplishment that you get when everything goes right.

During the second day of competition we had more RoboLancers arriving to the arena, increasing the amount of cheer and motivation in the stands. The day went off pretty well, our robot worked with great success and we were standing in the top seeds for a while. We had little to no actual technical difficulties. Our team’s moral and excitement in the stands was higher then ever before. Every match was met with a large amount of chanting and cheers from the stands. Our offensive strategy and speed was not something anyone from the qualifying competitions would have expected from us. We were standing strong on our own and even stronger in our alliances. We were all having a great time and were excited for the alliance selection. Then we had a few rougher matches due to robot inactivity and connection problems but we still managed to make it to the 6th ranking alliance so we weren’t out of the mix yet.

Later on though we had to sub out of our alliance due to a gear coming out of place. It was a good competition for us and we could tell it left an impact on the teams around us. Once the award ceremony came around our team was itching for the announcement of the Chairman’s Award. Then when FIRST came around with their classic amount of puns regarding the Chairman’s winner we were all shaking in our seat from excitement because we knew we won the Chairman’s Award for the second year at MAR. Now our season won’t end quite yet as we prepare for the World Championship in St.Louis.

Westtown Mid-Atlantic District Competition

On Friday, April Fools, the RoboLancers arrived at Westtown for another competitive weekend. During the last competition, the RoboLancers encountered some obstacles such as connectivity issues and belt problems. Luckily, we were able to identify the source of the problems which included a broken radio and too much tension on the belts. The tension in the belts was compounded by a vicious and speedy drive which put a lot of excess force on the belts. To solve this, we purchased a new radio and swapped from belts to chains. However, during our first practice match, our chain popped off! We embarked on another rocky start. But thankfully, with the help of other gracious teams, we were able to try smaller pneumatic wheels which we believed would solve the problem. Little did we know, the wheels actually impeded us from driving over defenses during autonomous and teleop. We quickly switched back to the 10-inch pneumatic wheels but maneuvered less viscously. But at long last, we were left with a working robot!

The event ran really smoothly with the help of other teams and volunteers which we are extremely thankful for. We would like to specifically thank one of the robot inspectors, Brian Lucas, who guided us through our connectivity issues. We were very fortunate to be picked by the third alliance team, competing along side the Gearaffes (5404) and Fightin’ Robotic Owls (5401). The competition exemplified the spirit of FIRST and was extremely fun. The judges was also full of amity. The whole entire atmosphere was amazing, as expected from FIRST!

Springside Chestnut Hill

On March 18th and 19th, the RoboLancers competed in our first FRC qualifier of the 2016 season at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. At 8 AM, Team 321 entered the pits and stands. The spectators “conquered” (as we like to say) a portion of the stands, while the pit crew entered our pit to prepare our robot for competition. Our drivers for this season include Cordell Beatty, current senior and robot driver, Brian Matta, senior and manipulator controller, and Jonah Getz, junior and coach.

Our robot and drive team performed reasonably well for the first five matches, receiving a respectable 2-3 win-loss ratio. When our 6th qualifying match (qualifying match #30) came about, our robot failed to connect to the system and the drive team was unable to control the robot. We were given little time to correct this error because, for the next two matches, we were required to queue for our next match right after finishing the earlier. We corrected our robot connection issue by replacing our router before our 9th match (qualifying match #47) and redeemed ourselves by winning two matches, losing one, and tying in our last qualifying match. We were not chosen to take part in the quarterfinals but, in the semi-finals, we were substituted into the game in the place of a malfunctioning robot. We played one last match alongside our close friends, Team 1218, Vulcan Robotics, but lost to the opposing alliance.

After our final match at the Springside Chestnut Hill Qualifier, our team continued to maintain a positive attitude in the stands and cheered on as Team 225, our friends and fellow competitors, and their alliance won their elimination matches and the finals.

The day ended with a trip through the High Five Line for winning the Chairman’s Award, the most prestigious award in FIRST Robotics. This ensures us a place in the FIRST Mid-Atlantic District Championship where we will again compete for the Mid-Atlantic Region’s Chairman’s Award and a chance to compete in the World Championships in St. Louis.