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.

FTC Meet #1

On January 10, 2016, we went to Temple University after school. People who were on the inspection team left 1 period before school ended and took all of the materials + the robot to Temple. The mechanical subgroup added a mechanism to press a lever on the field but it ended up passing the 16x16x16 inch size limit. We tried to drive it but only 1 motor worked. We worked with Jim to figure out what was wrong with it again.

It turned out that the wires weren’t crimped properly so we had to fix the 3 wires connected to the 3 motors that didn’t work. At first, we thought it was a programming error but then we noticed a faulty wire connecting the battery to the motor control turning on and off. It would turn off every time someone touched it so we checked if the other wires had the same problem. After we fixed it, we had the majority of the wheels working but it was about time to leave so we had a last minute scrimmage with our counterpart, Crimson. We scored 5 points while they scored 47. Our phone on the robot ran out of power and died 40 seconds into the scrimmage. Blocks also got stuck under the robot.

We packed up and came back the next day at the same time. This time, we fixed all of the wires and the phones were charged. The robot wasn’t driving properly. It was reversed and we couldn’t turn properly because the motors weren’t programmed to the right ports. To reverse the wheels, we just reversed the wires in the ports so that the – wire went into the + port and vis-versa.

We were in 2 scrimmages. In 1 scrimmage, we had to hold the controller upside down because the robot’s controls were reversed. The turning still wasn’t working. We almost got up to mid-zone in that scrimmage. In the second one, we quickly reversed the controls so we would be able to to hold the controller properly but that caused us to not be able to turn at all. We stopped moving for approximately a minute but we couldn’t get onto the climbing zone.

After that, we worked on the program until it was time to leave. Overall, it was a good experience. It taught us to be more prepared and to plan head.image (1)

Freire Charter School Event

image (1)image (1)At the Freire Charter School event on Saturday, December 12th, the FTC Gold team settled down and set up our program for the robot. The programmer configured the phones to the robots while our mechanical and electrical subgroups unpacked our supplies. There were technical difficulties because the new laptop we bought was not ready. The programmers didn’t download everything they needed the day before and we had to download everything off of google drive during the event. The code didn’t work and the robot still hadn’t moved after a month. While the team programmer was checking the code, the other members went to robot inspection. We passed 2 out of the 3 inspection expectations, but we needed a moving robot for the 3rd inspection.

A guy named Jim, who was doing the 3rd inspection, helped us download our program and he tried to help us figure out what was wrong with the robot (why it wouldn’t move). Another guy came over and looked at the robot. He said it was the wiring; that the wires/cables were not straight. So we straightened them and the robot finally started moving. By that time, our mechanical subgroup had already started working on the new manipulator. The robot finally moved on the field and then a block got stuck under the robot, which messed up a couple of wires and caused it to stop moving again. The robot would stop moving every now and then. All of that took us around 4 hours. The event ended an hour early. It was stressful overall and all the members were on edge, thinking about the electrical problems and future events.

[Gold] Pennsylvania FTC State Competition

Last Saturday, February 28th, was a very eventful day. I started my day off waking up at the prime time of 4 am. The low temperatures were at our disadvantage, none the less we over came this feat with the glorious picture of going to the state competition. The commute to the school was pretty hectic. The teams reside in different parts of the city, making it difficult for us to get to school together and at the same time. As 5:30 am was arriving soon, and the bus was still not in sight. At one point, I ended up running down the street in front of the school with Sabrina. I was scolded by multiple people about it being to cold outside. Shortly after, the bus arrives and we load up. The ride there was relatively relaxing and pleasant. Some were still half asleep, others making conversation with one another, and those, like me, who looked at the scenery the majority of the ride.

We arrive at the venue of the competition sooner than I would have expected. We exit the bus and were immediately hit with a blast of the crisp and cold air. After unloading our things, we enter the building. I took in the amazing and exhilarating view of what States really was. So many teams had already arrived along with their robots; Their robots were jaw dropping. Some might think that the sight of impressive robots at a competition that you are apart of may not be the most pleasant things to see. However, the sight rather intrigued me and gave me a sense of competitiveness, motivation you could say. Once we spotted our tables, Gold immediately got to work. Inspections had to be done by 10:15 am and our presentation time was 8:40. Thankfully, we were rather prepared and were able to successfully compete in a majority of our matches. Though some parts of the robot were not necessarily finished in the beginning, we eventually did. Vincent and Jiong Heng were even able to score 8 points into the rolling goals. One problem over another, I would say we did a rather good job at solving them.

As 10:15 rolled around and the opening ceremony took place, the real hype had just begun. Teams running back and forth to fix parts on the robot, drivers going about getting to their matches, Saturday was fueled by nothing but energy. As a result of the many teams, 36 teams from around the tri-state area, matches had to be run a lot quicker, meaning there was less time for mistakes to be fixed. In between the matches, I had time to explore and mingle with potential alliance partners. Creating strong relations are important and the people there were very pleasant to be around. Not to mention running around in Rock’em Sock’em costumes was also fun to do.

Once the preliminary matches finished, the top 4 teams picked their alliance partners. At one point, Gold’s hopes sky rocketed when the digits “53” were spoken out from the mouth of Tom, of course the ending digits were not in our favor. The team “5319” was chosen instead, which was a bit upsetting to us. However, we won’t continue to be upset about it for what we did accomplish that day was very impressive to me.

Overall, States was a great experience. This was my first year on the team and also my first big robotics competition I went to. From being nervous around the judges, to running around finding individuals, to group dances, it really was amazing. Despite not qualifying for the Super Regionals, I think we have overcome a large hurdle throughout the year. Keep up the good work Gold!