Friday, July 29, 2011

Lycos Robotics Club 2010-11 Season Summary, Part 1

We made it through our first season of the FIRST Robotics competition with the Vista Ridge Robotics Club at the end of May. From the time that Bryce heard about the robotics club at a district school open house in the fall of 2009 and saw the robot that they were building for that year’s competition, he wanted to join and be a part of it. The engineering academy program and the robotics club were the big reasons that we decided to send him to Vista Ridge High School even though it isn’t our neighborhood school.

The club season kicks into high gear at the beginning of January when FIRST announces what the competition challenge is for the year. This is a big deal with groups from the area meeting at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to hear the challenge specifications via a nationally broadcast video. The kids then have 6 weeks to design and build a robot that can accomplish the designated tasks in a 2 minute and 15 second period.


This year’s challenge was named “Logo Motion” and there were 3 parts to it:
1. Autonomous period where the robot is programmed to hang a gold tube, called the ‘uber tube’, by itself. The drivers are not allowed to even touch the controls of the robot. If an uber tube is hung, then any tube hung on top of it during the second part of the challenge receives double points. This section lasts 15 seconds.
2. Driver period where the robot is controlled by a driver and has 2 minutes to hang as many red, white and blue tubes as they can on any of the 3 tiers of pegs. The top row of pegs was worth 3 points, the middle row 2 points, and the bottom row 1 point. If one of each of the 3 color tubes were hung in the order to make the FIRST logo, then the score for the row was  doubled, and then doubled again if there was an uber tube in place as well.
3. Minibot period ended the competition and the teams had the last 30 seconds of the match to deploy a minibot and have it climb one of four 9 foot tall poles. The first minibot to reach the top and activate the sensors received 30 points, second place 20 points, and third place 10 points.

It is an intense 6 weeks, with 3 hour build sessions Monday through Thursday after school or in the evening, and a 6 hour session on Saturdays. Mark was a mentor for the club this year and attended the evening and weekend sessions to help the kids design and build their robot. He took on the minibot project in particular, spending most of his time working on that part of the robot. Bryce chose to be a part of the CAD team and helped design and draw parts that need to be manufactured for the robot.

“Bag and Tag” day was February 22, and no work was allowed on the robot after that until they unpacked it in the pit area of the regional competition the club was attending. We celebrated the end of build season with a potluck and a robot viewing to which family members and representatives from the corporate sponsors were invited. At the end of the evening the robot was sealed in a large plastic bag in the engineering lab where it waited until the Denver regional competition weekend in April. 2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-1  2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-11 2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-12 2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-13 2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-16 2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-18 2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-19 2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-62011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-24 2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-25 2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-27
Mark helped a lot with the minibot this year. Many parts were manufactured on our dining room table during the month of February. Brad was the student who headed up that aspect of the robot and worked with him the most. The minibot was nicknamed “Sheila”.
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“Minibot Land”2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-31
Bagged and Tagged, and waiting for April to come.2011_0222_Bryce-RoboticsClub-32

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