On the Saturday of January 31, the FLL Qualifier was hosted in the gymnasium of Central High School. The event was rescheduled from the week before because of the previously predicted snow.
Around 8’o clock, the volunteers had begun to arrive, including many familiar faces among the crowd. The alumni of the team had returned to lend their helping hands. Mr. Ueda was back to coordinate the event. Members of both FTC teams Crimson #6676 and Gold #5320 also volunteered in many positions throughout the event.
As a robot game queuer, the games didn’t start until the afternoon, so I had spent my time helping out with miscellaneous tasks that needed to be done. Eventually, I settled myself down with telling the teams to get ready for their judging session, seeing that it fits with my original job. Thus with every 15 minute, 6 teams must be informed of their judging and be brought up to the correct room.
The game started after the lunch break, with everyone trying to finish up their pizza slices and hoagies. The rounds of game were back to back, and unforeseen delays messed up our schedule again and again. Although one might call it stressful, it was worth it for the successful completion of the event as a whole.
We, the volunteers, lined up and await for the high-fives of the awarded teams. There were cheers and excitements with each announcement of individual winning teams, accompanied by the pun-filled comments from the judges. And there we ended this day of a successfully carried out event.
On January the thirty-first, Central High School hosted the ASPIRA FLL Qualifier. The volunteers and judges donned their uniforms and T-shirts, the concession stand was set up and the judging tables opened their doors. By 7:30 AM, the 15 participating teams had arrived and were situated in their pits, three had not attended. The procession began with “The Star-Spangled Banner” (slightly awkward because the gym lacked a flag). At about 8:30 AM, our master of ceremonies, Evan Aretz, cued the start of the presentation judging by playing the first casual song through the speakers. From this time to 12:45 PM, FLL teams prepared to and presented their opinions on how students should be taught in the 21st century to our judges. At 12:45 PM, the heart and soul of robotics arrived: pizza, approximately 50 boxes of it. At 1:30 PM, matched commenced, and Evan Aretz traded in his position as DJ to provide commentary for the matches. The vacant position was left to the scorekeepers. This commenced two hours of smooth FLL competing. While the judges reviewed the results of the competition, the audience and we, the volunteers, begin a dance party, taking music suggestions from the audience, eating leftover pizza, and enjoying ourselves. At about 4:30 PM, the event coordinator, Mr. Daniel Ueda, returned to announce the winners of the ASPIRA FLL Qualifier. After the announcements, the FLL teams left the tournament with “We are the Champions” by Queen playing behind them.
Congratulations to the participants and winners of today’s qualifying tournament. Good luck to those who are continuing on to the championships. Good job to all the volunteers; we had a few errors, but we solved them effectively and efficiently. To the organizers and sponsors of this event: Thank you for your support of this event. It was a great experience and very enjoyable.
Today, Saturday January 17, the Robolancers were given the wonderful opportunity to work with Springside Chestnut Hill robotics team, 1218 Vulcan Robotics. Today we just wanted to test out our mecanum drive, something the Robolancers have not used since 2010, out on regulation FIRST carpet. Mecanums have a bad reputation, for not being the greatest if you do not practice often. We came to Springside just to test out our drive, and 1218 helped us out the entire time. First, they gave us the opportunity to explore their amazing machine shop. We were instantly amazed; they had a lathe and even a CNC mill and they told us that we were allowed to use it whenever we needed to. Next they showed us their swerve drive that a few of their kids worked on for their senior design project, and it was truly inspirational knowing that students designed and built a fully operational swerve.
Talking about the swerve, we were able to gain insight on mechanical design, FRC sensors, and even programming expertise. Everyone on their team was extremely welcoming, sincere, and graciously shared advice for this current build season. This was probably one of our best days in the build season because we got to see our drive work and had the opportunity to work with one of the best robotics team in MAR. Thank you Springside Chestnut Hill for allowing use to work with you guys!
On September 18 the RoboLancers welcomed the new members of the team at our meeting. Before the meeting, some of our returning team members went around the school and promoted Robotics in hopes we would be able to recruit new members. They went into various classrooms and explained our group, the RoboLancers, to everyone.
The meeting was held in Central’s auditorium. Before the end of school, it was only filled with the returning members of the team, fixing the stage and getting ready for the presentation. But it soon changed as people quickly walked into the room, hoping that they would be able to sign up. There was excitement and eagerness on all of their faces.
The presentation was led by our coach, Mr. Johnson, and other members of the team. They went over what the RoboLancers were all about. They explained what the game for FTC was, the responsibilities of being on the team, and explained what Mechanical, Electrical, Programming, and Marketing were.
After the meeting everyone broke up into smaller groups and showed them where the RoboLancers worked. To break the ice, the groups played various games. When the new members were asked what subgroup they wanted to join, most had an idea of what they wanted to do. They then went into detail about the game, and brainstormed ideas for what the robot would be like.
The promotion for Robotics was a success for there were 112 new members who showed up at the meeting. There are 52 returning members with one or two returning as well. This brings the team to an all-time high of 164. Everyone has high hopes that the game for FTC will be successful.
Arriving at the Robolancers booth at 7:30, I could feel the weather would shape out to be a great day for us. Hank arrived with the robots and booth supplies, and we started to unload everything from the car that was packed ever so meticulously in order to fit everything we needed. After the booth was all set up and more Robolancers started to show up we did some joy-riding with the FRC robot. This carried on till sectors started to arrive, then I was off to the FTC field.
The field was hectic at first, from connection issues to missing supplies to broken robots and impatient lines, Andy, Jonah and I had a lot in our hands. But after sorting everything out the day went smoothly… for a while at least. We were forced to settle with only one robot running to demo at a time to my much pleasure, Crimson was among them. Its late but Crimson worked and unlike gold, we found out that it was quiet childproof.
It was a pleasure explaining the FIRST program and FTC to the interested parents as the kids drove around the field. In the end the line moved smoothly, both Crimson and Gold were being switched in and out of operation and everyone was happy. It’s amazing to see just how smart some of the kids were and interested in robotics.Overall, it was a great day, and hopefully we sparked an interest for some of the kids who visited us.
Ignite Philly, which is part of a worldwide network that entertains and educates people in short five minute bursts, made a $1,000 donation to Central High School’s
robotics team, the RoboLancers, FIRST Team #321. Ignite Philly focuses on people in Philadelphia involved in cool projects.
On March 15th, we headed to Chestnut Hill for the FRC competition with our FRC counterpart of the team. Some of us had to carpool to get there, but when we got there, we were excited for the things to come. Our team worked hard for our robot, and the Robolancers had a great time interacting with other teams, from mascots to chatting during lunch and down time.
Our robot played defense with it’s speed as it tackled robots and denied points for the other team. However, we dropped to the lower ranks as other teams overcame us. Although we are not the best team, we are rapidly improving and even as we dropped down, we still saved face and cheered for the other Alliances and finalists.
Overall we had a great time together, and it was a great event. Together with our teammates, we cheered, laughed, and collected a ton of pins and badges. We won the Judges award, and so Callan, Stanley, and Etienne will be presenting for Chairman’s again next week at Lenape. We’ll be looking forward to things to come, and learning from our mistakes. Some of us are really good dancers too.
This newsletter is dedicated to you because we want to share with you what you have so generously shared with us. By this newsletter, we want to bring to you a little bit of what it means to be a member of this amazing team. We want to fill you in on what we’re doing, provide some of our own personal stories, and share with you our many accomplishments.
As the competitions approach, we would like to cordially invite you to join us at these fun, educational events. Bring family and friends and join us at our two FRC regional qualifying events. The first event is at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (500 W.Willow Grove Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118) from March 14-15, 2014. The second event is at Lenape/Seneca High School (110 Carranza Road, Tabernacle, NJ 08088) from March 22-23, 2014. Don’t forget to wear crimson and gold, our team colors. We look forward to seeing you there!
In addition, both of our FTC teams will be advancing to the PA FTC Championship Tournament to be held at Millersville University (Millersville, PA 17551) on March 1, 2014. We also would like to invite you to come out and support us at that event as well.
In the meantime, please read more about how we have been preparing for the competitions by enjoying this edition of the RoboLancers’ Roundtable. We hope you enjoy reading about our learning, progress, and fun times, which without your support we would not be able to accomplish.