RoboLancers Quarter 2

The RoboLancers FTC teams have made changes to their robots and some even have a few victories under their belt. These teams will compete hard in POWERPLAY. There have been many events the teams have attended including, but not limited to, Workshops, Scrimmages, and Qualifiers. Most notably, Crimson placed second during its scrimmage with 17 total FTC teams. This was a great display of Crimson’s robot and its capabilities. Additionally, Crimson’s portfolio was considered by the judges potentially for a Connect Award. Kale’s programmers have finished their autonomous parking with custom sleeved cones and the mechanical side has made great progress with their robot. Gold has a camera on their robot, finished the coding along with it, and have made great progress on their robot’s mechanical aspects. The FRC team is working very hard during build season now that Kickoff has passed. They have their robot’s design done, and are continuing onto the building. The programmers are testing different sensors, making the grabber autonomous even during teleop, and the coding for autonomous is working. FRC is working hard and has made great strides. FRC mechanical is suffering from a supply shortage.

FRC Kickoff 2023

On Saturday, January 7th 2022 came together for FRC kickoff. On the first day of kickoff FRC was waiting with anticipation for the countdown and were watching the Robolancers youtube channel. When the video of the game started people were already focused, analyzing it, and writing notes on their computers. People on twitch could  ask questions and the composers would answer them. When team 321 received the encryption code to read the game manual they were assigned into groups to read specific sections. At lunch the FRC team participated in fun activities including football and soccer, but there was pineapple pizza unfortunately. There was a robot possessing only wheels and no intake that demonstrated how the charge station worked. The team put key information into a google doc, then discussed game strategy and ideas afterwards. The consensus was to go for ranking points which determine your rank on the leader board. For the second day of kickoff the FRC team continued to discuss and plan their game strategy. Subgroups were made to break down the workload for the arm, claw, chassis, etc. The programmers also had subgroups for the limelight, sensors, etc. Overall, the teams worked hard and have planned their game strategy to hopefully win!

Hard at work studying the manual and talking strategy at Penn Engineering

FTC Scrimmage 2023

On Friday, January 6th 2022 three of the six FTC teams, Crimson, Gold, and Aubergine, came together for a scrimmage. These teams worked together to get to where they are now. Seeing how the teams have changed their robots and worked on their flaws from the workshop last year, shows how they have overcome obstacles as a team to grow and become better. FTC team Gold had a few technological difficulties. According to Gold captain Anne-Louise Bouyer, “We had a lot of challenges. As a team we were doing pretty good from the start. However, when the robot broke towards the end, then, I believe that we lost our shot” (Anne-Louise Bouyer FTC Gold Captain). The main challenge Gold faced was when the brackets connecting the linear slides to the chassis snapped in half, however they have managed to connect everything back together and their robot is functioning better now. Gold placed thirteen out of the seventeen teams that came. Aubergine member Kiva Huxen believes that, “I think Aubergine did pretty well. For the first game we were working as a push bot, and I think the team is working better because overall the communication has improved” (Kiva Huxen Aubergine Member). Aubergine was a push bot at the start because the linear slides and motor were not working, so they needed to take out the bracket and sonic hub. Finally, Crimson placed second out of all seventeen teams and did the best out of three teams. According to Remi Iqbal, “Right before the winning alliance game, Kai tripped on the robot and broke the servos, which made the final game challenging. Crimson became an effective push bot despite these challenges” (Remi Iqbal Crimson Member). Overall, these three teams have grown and changed since the FTC Workshop last year, and are ready to keep doing better!

FTC Drive It! 2022

 One of the more prevalent issues presented at Drive It was inspection. Some of the teams did not pass inspection the first time around, however, they redeemed themselves by altering their robots and passing inspection. During Drive It most of the teams started by preparing their robot for inspection and giving it some final touches. With Kale, their robot’s claw was sizable and protruding out, so they had to work together to reposition it to still be on the robot, but still within the size requirement of 18 by 18 by 18 inches. For Cobalt, their team did not perform as well as they hoped for. They actually passed inspection the first time through their hard work, however during their practice match they drove well, but their linear slide’s coding was not finished, and the claw could not still grip while it came back. They hope to work on better communication between both mechanical and programming members going forward, though there was not one side to blame as both parties worked hard. In my experience working as a volunteer for Drive It, I believe it to be a very rewarding experience as I can see how the events work behind the scenes, and I can make the event more fun for a lot of the other Robolancers and other robotics teams.

Ramp Riot 2022

Ramp Riot posed numerous challenges to both our FRC and FTC teams. Although we were not put under the best circumstances, the event was a learning experience and helped the growth of both teams. The FTC team Crimson was uncertain about the penalty rules, but they managed to set themselves apart by being the most effective push bot. Their robot did not have linear slides, so they played mainly defense. The FTC team Aubergine had a port problem and the controller for the robot was messed up, however, they were able to fix it. The other FTC teams also had problems and worked very hard to overcome them. These circumstances were less than ideal, but they proved to be a learning experience that the teams can move past. For the FRC team, there were instances in which one of the robot’s hooks broke, as well as the limelight sensor that turned on in the middle of the match which messed up its shooting trajectory. In addition, one of the controller’s switches was switched on the wrong side, and one of the wires was unplugged. The Robolancers FRC team worked hard during their matches, and in the end, they won the Gardener Award because of the team’s contribution to the community. Even though there were issues in the FRC and FTC teams at Ramp Riot, this is a great opportunity for learning, and in the future, they can exceed the standards they set. 

Springside Chestnut Hill 2022

This past weekend, March 18-20, the RoboLancers participated in the Springside Chestnut Hill District Event, our first on-season FRC event in three years. The team has changed a lot since our pre-pandemic days, but we came into the event with our usual loud cheer and determined performance.

For Mr. Johnson, finally going to an on-season FRC event after three long years felt, “so good.” He had missed the excitement of full events, but was not ready for the feeling of the Monday after events. That sentiment seems to be reflected in the tired faces of the RoboLancers who came on both Saturday and Sunday.

This post–pandemic return was also very exciting for the seniors of the RoboLancers. Phong, a senior, said it was great to be actually competing this time instead of just watching. Three years ago, he was a member of an FTC team cheering from the stands, but this year, he was in the middle of the action as a part of the drive team.

Our drive team and robot had a great performance at SCH. There were definitely bumps in the road, but overall, we performed better than expected. At least, that’s the opinion of drive team member Daniel. We were the first-pick alliance partner for the 6th alliance during the Playoffs. Similarly, our Chairman’s presentation also went well.

SCH was the first FRC event for a number of RoboLancers. Jason, a first-year RoboLancer and current member of Cobalt, compared this event to the FTC events he had competed in. He said that SCH was a lot more hype, had a lot more people, and was a lot more fun. He enjoyed that each team had their own chants, and that the event on the whole was like FTC events on a bigger and larger scale.

One RoboLancer, Tom, volunteered at the event. He described volunteering as being pretty okay. He appreciated that volunteering gave him an opportunity to step away from the stands for some time to recharge before the next RoboLancers’ match. He was determined to stay lively and energetic while cheering our drive team on.

We did not win any of the team awards, but our Vice-President, Maja, was one of two Dean’s List semi-finalists at the event. Maja said that winning the award felt very good, but it was also overwhelming.

Now, the RoboLancers are gearing up for our next event at Bensalem on April 1-3. Our drive team will be busy practicing to make our performance more consistent.

The entire day was filled with awesome moments, but certain ones stick out. Cheering in the stands, playing outside with other teams after lunch, and the excitement of the first match. These are moments that will turn into cherished memories.

FTC Philadelphia Qualifier 2022 and Future Plans

On February 5, our three RoboLancers FTC teams competed in this season’s Philadelphia Qualifier. RoboLancer participants and volunteers of the event have described the day as, “unexpected” or even “wack.” After the Qualification Matches, Crimson was ranked first, Gold was ranked fifth, and Cobalt was ranked seventh. Crimson chose Gold as their Alliance partner, and Gold accepted. Then, through a series of alliance formations, Cobalt became an alliance captain and chose 8730 RoboGriffins as their alliance partner. The Crimson-Gold alliance were eliminated in the semi-finals while the Cobalt-RoboGriffins alliance did not make it past the finals. 

Crimson and Gold’s robots began to experience technical difficulties near the end of the event while Cobalt’s performance became better at the end. 

Crimson won the Design Award, Cobalt won the Innovate Award, and Gold was the runner up for the Think Award.  

None of the teams are going to States, but that does not mean that their work is over. All three teams will be competing in RoboLancers hosted “RoboRumble/RoboJawn” in May. In the time until then, each of the teams will continue to improve their robots.

Cobalt burning bright with the RoboGriffins
The Crimson Brotherhood
Many shades of yellow working on their Gold-bot

Check out all of our FTC Philly Qualifier 2022 Photos

I asked members of all three FTC teams how they felt about the Qualifier. Lily, Captain of Gold, said that she felt “dis-appointed” because they put a lot of effort this season but did not win any awards. This disappointment was echoed by her teammates, Yona and Fion. They felt like they should have planned better instead of shoving everything back to the last moment. Moving forward, Gold will use better foresight to continue improving their robot. Some of the goals are creating a better game plan for the drivers, making sure the intake meets the size requirements, and writing a better autonomous code. 

Crimson member Austin felt disappointed and a bit mad, but his main takeaway is that losses happen and “it is what it is.” They will focus on improving by working on capping, adding sensors to the intake, and programming their camera to read barcodes. 

Jason, a member of Cobalt, felt frustrated because they were close to making it to States but lost the final match. He’s disappointed, but wants to congratulate the winner, 16800 Trial and Terror. Moving forward, Cobalt will be working on color sensors for their intake box and perfecting the autonomous code. They want to make a magnetic capping feature, an idea that came from watching Fright Frenzy robot reveals and Isriah, one of their coaches. 

Gold, Crimson, and Cobalt still have a lot to learn and a lot to work on before the end of their first year of FTC.

Boot Camp 2021

If you want to explore mechanics, engineering, programming, electronics, team management, or discover where your passion for robotics lies as a part of the largest association of Central High School, then the RoboLancers team is for you! As evidenced by the overwhelming success of this year’s RoboLancers induction, this 2021 season has kicked off as possibly the greatest robotics experience at Central High School! Doubtful? Why not ask the nearly 100 students of various backgrounds and grade levels who have found their spot in RoboLancers, fresh from Bootcamp!

The RoboLancers Boot Camp – now thankfully in person – gave all students interested in robotics a taste in the many subgroups of RoboLancers and their work within the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) seasons. But firstly, all students were taught proper safety procedures regarding using any equipment related to RoboLancers work and especially how to safely use the professional machinery in Central’s very own workplace. Afterward, new students were introduced to the three main aspects of RoboLancers: Mechanical, Programming, and Business.

Despite the costly and limited supplies to create legitimate FRC and FTC robots for Boot Camp, students still enjoyed the making of their own designs with rubber-band based cars. Students designed and created their own vehicles in the Mechanical class of makeshift parts powered by the satisfying fling of rubber bands. During Business, students learned the importance of managing the RoboLancers’ funds (as well as the collection of said money), social media, and reputation. And lastly, students learned the basics of Javascript coding via the Programming class.

New members doing a design challenge at recruitment!

Check out our boot camp resources: http://robolancers.com/boot-camp/

FTC States 2020

Last year, members of Gold and Crimson decided that instead of moving to FRC, they wanted to do another year of FTC. They united to create Central High School’s first FTC team for returning Robolancers members, Team 16941, Wrench Toast. Wrench Toast’s team goal is to both create a custom-designed competitive robot by using CAD and machining most of their parts.

This year’s Robolancers’ FTC coach is Sabrina. She’s a former Robolancer, and currently a college student studying social studies and secondary education and at Temple University. Wrench Toast members describe her as funny, smart, caring, and all around amazing. She’s dedicated to helping this year’s FTC members to work together and reach their full potential. 

Sabrina as a Game Announcer at the Philadelphia Qualifier

The season for the team started in September, and they immediately started designing and planning at Kickoff. Their robot has come a long way since that Saturday. Wrench Toast’s black-and-yellow robot is well-rounded and can complete many tasks. Impressively, it can stack up to 9 blocks. During autonomous, it can bring over one block and park. The highest score Wrench Toast got during the qualification matches was 101.

Black and Yellow

Wrench Toast’s first scheduled qualifier was on January 18th, the South Central Qualifier. Unfortunately, the bus never came, and the team, along with Crimson, Gold, and other Robolancers, were out in the freezing weather for around an hour. Despite this setback, Wrench Toast still went to the Blue and White Qualifier the next day.

Their next qualifier was on February 8, the Philadelphia Qualifier. Wrench Toast ended the qualifying matches ranked first, and chose to be in an alliance with Team 8730, the Robogriffins, and Team 12308, the Bodine Ambassadors, and they became the winning alliance. Wrench Toast also won the Collins Aerospace Innovate Award, and came second place for the Design Award.

DSC_0838
The three teams on the Philadelphia Qualifier 2020 Winning Alliance
DSC_0822
Members of Wrench Toast with the secret to their success, Stuffed Remy.

A few weeks later, on February 29th, Wrench Toast boarded a bus (that came on time) to York, PA for States. They ranked 7th after the qualification matches, and were second pick in an alliance with Team 6045, TwoBar, and Team 2818, G-force. They ended the event as division semi-finalists. Excitingly, team captain, Maria was chosen as one of Pennsylvania’s Dean’s List Finalists, the first one from our school as far as we can remember. 

Congratulations to Wrench Toast for an amazing season and robot, Maria for her advancement, and Sabrina for being a great and supportive coach. (May the FIRST be with you all)