|TEAM 4909 - BIONICS|
As build season wraps up, Team 4909 is very excited to show our new robot to sponsors, parents and our supportive community! Every year following build season the team hosts a Robot Reveal Night. During this event, invitees are encouraged to meet the team, our mentors, and also watch our robot in action. This event is an exciting night for all and is a time for everyone to reflect upon the time, effort, and support that it took to accomplish this feat. We also use Robot Reveal Night as a way of showing our humble thanks towards everyone for the essential resources that they provided. From financial support, to helping us build parts needed for the robot, and to nourishment, we would have not been able to build our robot without all of you. Team 4909 is truly grateful for all the support you have given us during the 2018 build season. Please see the attached flyer for more information about Robot Reveal night.
Today represents the last day for us to work on our robot. At midnight tonight, the robot must be placed inside a plastic bag with a labeled zip tie. We can only take the robot out of the bag for a total of 6 hours before our first competition on March 16th - March 18th. We can also take it out to demo for our sponsors and parents. The robot went into the bag ready to go, and we look forward to showing you what it can do at our Robot Reveal Night!
This past Saturday, we participated in a Week 0 build season competition in Bedford, NH. This competition is the only one in the world that has access to the actual field and game elements. In the qualification rounds, we lost our first match, won our second, and lost the third, finishing in 16th place out of 25 teams. For the playoffs, we were selected 6th by team 3467, Windham Windup. The third team in our playoff alliance was team 1519, Mechanical Mayhem. We lost in the quarterfinals, winning one match and losing two. It was a great learning experience and we came away with good insight into the game itself and our robot's capabilities. During the last few days of build season following the competition, we spent time upgrading our climbing mechanism and redesigning our intake to better control and manipulate the cubes. Overall, it was a great day and we'll be ready for our first competition in Reading, MA in a couple weeks.
Name: Jared Alexander
Years on Team: 3
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: Mechanical and electrical engineering, help to build the robot and wire it.
Impact FIRST Has Had on Him: “FIRST has introduced me to new people. I currently talk to people in Ipswich, and we worked with Burlington. In addition, it introduced me to many new colleges and experiences.”
Favorite 4909 Moments: FIRST kickoff in 2016, seeing other people interested in robotics besides the students from my own school that I have been with for the past few months. I also enjoyed it when we opened up the shop to other teams, and we helped them with their robots.
Plans After High School: Attend a four year college, and get my masters/doctorate in education or mechanical/electrical engineering.
Ideal Job: High school physics, science, or math teacher.
Name: Noah Banks
Years on Team: 4
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: Climbing Mechanism and CAD designs.
Impact FIRST has had on him: “Opened my eyes to engineering as a whole. Influence my decisions on college. FIRST has given me more knowledge and taught me things I would have never learned.”
Favorite 4909 Moments: Working on June during one of the competitions. Sending people to set up the banner in the stands before a competition and it ended up being taped upside down. When we lost by three points in Stronghold, that loss brought the team together.
Plans After High School: Wentworth Institute of Technology, with a major in interdisciplinary engineering, with a focus in mechanical engineering and a minor in programming.
Ideal Job: Working at Endeavor robotics as a lead engineer.
Focus on Programming:
Over the past few weeks, our software team has been up to several tasks. We have worked on programming subsystems on our robot. For example, we have just finalized the code for the elevator subsystem on our robot. The basis of this code is to utilize tools such as PID to ensure that the elevator stays at a certain point while counteracting different forces such as gravity, other robots on the field, etc. A PID consists of a proportional, integral, and a derivative element, all of which help with the tuning for motion control of the robot. We recently finished the programming for our LIDAR sensor, which we will use to sense where the cubes are on the playing field. A LIDAR sensor, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a sensing method that uses light in the form of a laser to measure variable distances. This will help our driver in knowing where exactly a cube is, even if there are areas on the field not visible by the driver. We have also continued to actively update and develop our scouting system, The Green Alliance (TGA). See our preseason blog post (http://bit.ly/2CatFh0) for more information about our scouting system.
Other members of the software team have been working on the connection and coordination of Neopixel strips (below) to the robot. NeoPixels are colored strips of LED light that use a single-wire control system. We are using these strips to signal the drive team of certain messages. These include if the robot has attained a game cube or signaling the position of the robot. We are programming these strips to set-up different colors for different signals that will be used during competitions. The software team has also been working on developing a system to indicate the acceleration and overall speed of the robot. We are also working on developing the code for the autonomous motion of the robot used during the first fifteen seconds of matches.
Build Season Competition: "Week 0"
This year, the team is competing in a build season event, informally known as Week 0. It will be taking place at Bedford High School in Bedford, NH on Saturday, February 17th from 8:30am-4pm. This competition does not count towards the team’s official points of the 2018 season. It is an opportunity for us to test our robot on the official playing field and find out what we need to adjust before Stop Build Day on February 20th.
Name: Emma Rugg
Years on Team: 3 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: Build lead: focuses on fabrication, as well as leading design teams
Impact FIRST Has Had on Her: “It is the reason I want to be an engineer and has given me a lot of experience”
Favorite 4909 Moments: “When Jeff wore his goalie outfit and we launched the plastic wiffle balls at him and he deflected them with his hockey stick.”
Plans After High Schools: Going to college to major in mechanical engineering
Ideal Job: Mechanical engineer
Insight Into the Climber Subsystem
Climbing will be a major aspect of this year’s game. During the last thirty seconds of a match, robots attempt to climb onto a horizontal rung that is 13 inches long and seven feet from the ground (below). The goal is to get your robot at least twelve inches off of the floor in order to score points. Due to the complex nature of this task, we have been working on multiple mechanisms to work in tandem with one another. One of these systems is a mechanism designed to aim and propel our climbing hook onto the climbing bar. Once on the bar, we plan on using a winch, similar to previous seasons, in order to lift the robot. To protect and support the robot during its climb, we are installing a brace for safety and stability.
Insight into the Intake and Elevator Subsystems
The elevator will be attached to our chassis and have the cube intake mechanism attached to it. Our cube intake is what we are using to lift and manipulate all game pieces (cube picture to the right). Once the cube is secure, the elevator subsystem will allow us to place them on the switches and scale. We have designed the elevator to place cubes up to eight feet high. Picking up cubes and placing them on the field components as fast as we can will help us attain the most points. We are currently testing both subsystems to ensure that they work together and are able to accomplish the task at hand.
Girl Scouts Update
This past Monday, January 29, we had one of our local Girl Scout troop #76249 to come into our shop. The girls learned about FIRST, our different robots from past years, and ways they can get involved in STEM. Our main goal was to provide the Girl Scouts with more information about what it is like to be on a robotics team and the exciting engineering and technology that is a part of it. While they were at our shop, they learned what a robot is, the different components it is made up of, what algorithms are, how robots communicate with one another through sensors, and some basics about programming. The girls learned basic computer programming and “coded” a dance routine for another group to act out. The girls were also given the opportunity to use Ozobots, a “drag and drop” block program, in order to program their own mini virtual robots. We also encouraged them to join our local FLL, FTC and VEX robotics teams in order to be part of Billerica’s rewarding STEM pipeline. At the end of the night, they were each eligible for one of their robotics patches and are halfway towards receiving another. We hope to host them again in the very near future and would love help them earn the remaining two robotics badges.
Can Tab Drive
The team has started collecting tabs from aluminum cans for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. We asked team members to place their can tabs into a bucket in the shop whenever they consumed soda. We also encouraged them to bring in their tabs from home too. This is such a simple and invaluable task that helps so many in need as Shriners. They can use the tabs by converting them into funds to buy a variety of products such as medical equipment, books and other educational tools for patients, arts and crafts supplies, etc. We are in the process of expanding this drive out of our shop we will shortly have buckets set-up in the high school. In addition, we are working on having collection points at our robotics competitions in order to help Shriners as much as we can. Please see our flyer below and email us at email@example.com if you have tabs that you would like to donate: