Programming Boot Camp

During our introduction to robotics, we were exposed to the fundamentals of programming. We learned the structure of Java (the programming language we use to code the robot) in this class. Our teachers were very social and fun to work with. We had to “program” Ramon (giving him commands in the form of code) to grab a marker and draw something on the board. The teachers’ personalities made the programming subgroup quite interesting. We did dreadful icebreakers but they made everyone feel cool; I heard about Six Flags, and all the other famous trips the Robolancers take; everybody seemed like they were chill and fun to work with.  

If you aren’t sure that you want to join programming, you should at least consider it, especially if you like mentoring and working with others who share common interests. If you like programming and teaching people new things, JOIN, JOIN, JOIN! You have the chance to meet new people and make new friends! Most importantly, you learn how to program, which could really help you in the long run.

Cyanni Wattley and Teagan Clark

States

While taking part in this amazing competition full of vitalized and confident teams, I was able to experience the thrill of competing. The states event was extremely enjoyable. Not only did I get the chance to meet other teams that were inspiring to see, I also was able to meet different people with a variety of creative and interesting views on their designs and problem-solving. The time I spent at states was genuinely fun. I saw people’s determination and excitement in building their robot, took part in the games, and met new a diversified group of people. Overall, the states event was an enjoyable time, and I hope to continue that excitement in thrill throughout my time in robotics.

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.

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.

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!

 

 

 

PA FTC State Championship

On February 27, 2016, the Robolancers of Crimson 6676 participated in the Pennsylvania FTC Championship in York, PA. We were all nervous, as well as relieved when the bus drove up to Dallastown Intermediate School, the host of the competition. We walked to our pit, observing the impressive robots and accessories of other teams. We were immediately worried about how our robot would compare to these teams who were the best of their region. Yet we were still determined to do our best.
The first thing we needed was for the presentation team to perform for the judges. We thought our presentation went very well, yet the presentation of the other teams seemed to have also gone very well. As the day went on, we tested our autonomous, which was later able to perform the scoring of climbers into a bin, and practiced our tele-op, which was having many issues regarding our robot’s connection.

The qualifying games began and we were still not prepared to perform at out highest ability. Fortunately, we were allied with teams who earned us a high ranking of 3rd place after a couple games. On the other hand, as the competition progressed, our ranking went down. At the end of qualifying matches we were ranked 10th place. We were happy that we ranked high in the end, but disappointed that our robot din’t work as desired, due to connection complications.
There was still hope of earning an award that would allow us to move on to the East Super-regionals Championship after ranking tenth place. Unfortunately, we did not earn any, and this competition marked the end of our FTC 2016 season. Exhausted, we got on the bus and drove back do Philadelphia.

Ramp Riot! Goodbye Recycle Rush!

On Saturday, November 14, 2015, The RoboLancers attended Ramp Riot! It was the last Recycle Rush competition of the year and the highlight of our off season. Ramp Riot! had one the largest RoboLancers attendance rates for any FRC competition this year. Many FTC members, FRC members, teachers and mentors attended this event. While it was a goodbye to another game for the FRC members, it was an introduction for our new FTC members.

As Recycle Rush was going on, an FTC Scrimmage was also taking place at Wissahickon High School. This year’s FTC game, Res-Q, allows teams to think more creatively due to the verticality of the field. The scrimmage allowed exposure of other teams as well as the progression of their robots. “It was interesting to see the other teams’ approaches to the various challenges that this game presents… one of the teams even designed and built the same type of manipulator as us!” Connor McCole, a member of Central’s FTC Crimson team, said.

Experiencing a competition of this magnitude, new FTC member Thomas Swingley comments, “We went between the FTC and FRC areas, looking at how the FTC games went and watching the 321 FRC team during their matches. Our team, as well as others, cheered for each team and alliance.” All our members were exhilarated to watch and cheer for our team’s matches. The pompom wiggling and chants were led by Martis Ravenell and Sabrina Dormer. “Sabrina and I leading and coordinating the members in the stands gave spirit to our drive team as they faced the perils of the drivers’ station. When my fellow first year FRC member, Viwing Zheng, took over as the manipulator controller, the entire stand decided to give her a giant cheer in order to cheer her on,” says Martis Ravenell.

A lot of people expressed excitement for the end of off season, and for the start of the incoming build season. With the end of Ramp Riot, the 321 RoboLancers bid adieu to Recycle Rush. Below, are some thoughts from our senior and junior members: Jeechieu Ta, Evan Aretz, Brian Mata, Jonah Getz, Ahmed Amin, and Cordell Beatty. These are all members of the RoboLancers’ Executive Committee, and lead certain factions in the team. Our President, Caspar Nguyen, personally interviewed FRC members who experienced the 2015 FRC game Recycle Rush!

– How do you feel about Ramp Riot being the last game of Recycle Rush?

JC: I’m happy that it’s over. There was excitement that this was the final game.

EA: I’m ready for this new robot. While Recycle Rush was the best robot that I (helped (a lot)) build so far, I was juggling with mechanical and Chairman’s.

BM: Happy.

JG: Relieved. No more mechanums!

AA: No more cangrabbers.

CB: It feels great to end Ramp Riot and be done with Recycle Rush forever. I wasn’t a fan of the free for all aspect. That being said, it was an amazing year, being able to go to World’s for the first time and winning 2 blue banners.

– What are your expectations for the next game “FRC Stronghold”?

JC: I hope that it can be a game that we could be comfortable going to World’s about. Last year’s seniors were a little uncomfortable that Recycle Rush was going to their last game. Hopefully, FRC Stronghold will be a bumpers kind of game.

CK: I know that Cordell would be excited about it if it does become that way. He was a sophomore when he was on the drive team for the FRC offseason of Aerial Assist, and was a very good defensive driver for our defensive robot.

EA: I hope that it’s not going to be bad. I want it to be more high-paced. It was only high-paced when you had a really good robot. The scoring system wasn’t very fun. I want more high tension situations where I could be more nervous and anxious about the game but Recycle Rush was more of Recycle Mellow.

BM: A lot of defense. I hope it was a more technical/challenging game than what Recycle Rush was.

JG: It sounds cool. I look forward to having defense again.

CB:  I’m hoping stronghold game is the total opposite of this year’s game. I’m expecting heavy defence and some type of shooters. It’ll make for a better game to watch as a spectator.

– How was it like to be cheering in the stands?

JC: [On cheering in the stands] it wasn’t very exhilarating, but for the freshman, I’m sure that it was much more fun.

CB:  I tried to be in the stands as much as I could so I could watch and enjoy the last competition.

CK: Lots of pom-poms. So many pom-poms. I wish that there were more dancing. From us, not so much about the other teams, but it’s always cringe-worthy to see kids do the Whip/Nae Nae from the spectating view of a Philadelphian. Otherwise, it was an FRC event, as it usually is.

One of the better things being in the stands (now that I’m no longer Safety Captain, and therefore, am not as needed in the pits), helping coordinate spirit and doing match scouting, is hearing things from the drive team (when they come up to rest in between matches). I was talking with Cordell, who told me that when they were behind the driver’s station, he looked up (at where the team was), turned to Jonah, and said, “look at all of the people cheering for us.” He said it with such a big smile, and we’re a pretty big team, mind you. *laughs* I plan on getting some Drive Team cheers together for the upcoming season so our Drive Team knows just how much we truly do appreciate them.

– What was it like in the pit at Ramp Riot?

EA: Crowded. Tried my best to keep everything moving. “Aggressively coordinate.” Our team is pretty solid so I didn’t have to do anything.

BM: It was exciting. It was nice to be working as the technical lead, especially after having been working as the lead’s assistant.

JG: It was good. Being able to tinker with the robot.. *thumbs up*

CB: The Ramp Riot drive team experience was really good. All of the teams were excited that this was the last competition of the year. It wasn’t nearly as intense as during the normal season. This being our last competition we didn’t have much to work on in the pit.

– What was it like being Head Scout and really getting into the game and the competition?

AA: It gave me some experience. I feel that I will be very ready come 2016. We’ll be working further on our scouting techniques, and I will be completely revamping our scouting system.

Our team has plenty of time on our hands until 2016’s FRC game Stronghold is released. The RoboLancers have been tinkering away on a similar robot from a past game. Updates soon to come!

Ramp Riot 11/14/2015

On November 14, 2015, the RoboLancers went to Ramp Riot. There were two activities: the FRC competition and the FTC scrimmages. When we first arrived, everyone went to the bleachers in the gym where the FRC games would be held. We looked at other FRC teams’ robots, and compared their designs to our team’s 321 robot. Some of the new team members went to the FTC area to scout out the other FTC teams. They asked about team designs and their strategies. We went between the FTC and FRC areas, looking at how the featured FTC games played out, and which teams could do the best; earn the most points. We also watched the 321 FRC team during their matches. Our team, as well as others, cheered for each team and alliance, all the way until the finals. Team 321 made it until the semi-finals, but we still cheered for team 225. Overall, it was an exciting and fun event!

Ramp Riot

On November 14, 2015, the Central High School RoboLancers went to Ramp Riot. It was a joint FRC and FTC competition and scrimmage. For FRC, this was the last Recycle Rush event. (It was the last competition for the FRC 2015 year.) This game was interesting but not the best. In my opinion, games with direct/physical competition between the opposing teams are better. Recycle Rush was an offense game; no defense. For FTC, this event was a showcase of the teams’ robots up until this point, as the FTC 2015-2016 season has just begun. It was interesting to see the other teams’ approaches towards the various challenges that this game presents. Surprisingly, we found that one of the FTC teams even designed and built the same type of manipulator as us!