This past weekend, Team 4909, Bionics, competed at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and represented Billerica at FIRST Robotics’ New England District Championship. This was Team 4909’s 6th attendance to the District Championship and Bionics is the only 6th-year team to achieve this feat. At the end of the competition, the team ranked in 25th place at the event out of 64 teams, and ultimately allowed the team to be ranked 24th in all of New England. This prestigious rank has allowed Team 4909 to receive the opportunity to compete at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Detroit, Michigan. This is the team’s 3rd trip to the World Championship where they will compete alongside some of the best teams all around the world! Seeing as that the team only found out at the end of the District Championship event (April 13th) and that the competition in Detroit will begin on the 24th, this gives the team very little time to raise money in order to attend! Therefore, we are graciously accepting all donations at our EDCO online link and we are asking for our supporters to participate in our Bake Sale Raffle and our Scratch Ticket Raffle (the links and associated PDFs will be provided at the bottom of this post, are on the team website’s home page, and are on all of the team’s social media platforms). We thank you for all of your help and be on the lookout for a blog post soon regarding the results of our team’s participation at the FIRST Robotics World Championship!
This past weekend, Team 4909 competed at the Greater Boston District Event that occurred in Revere, MA from 3/21 to 3/24. This event was one for the history books, as it was one of the most successful competitions that the Bionics attended till date. In regards to alliances, because of our success in the qualifying matches, we were given the opportunity to be an alliance captain for the second seed! Unfortunately though, we lost in the finals against the first seed, but this is the most successful the team has ever been in its 6 years of existence during the playoffs/eliminations. Not to mention, Team 4909 took home quite a few awards this last competition! First, we all got medals for being finalists with our alliance for the overall district event. We also got the Safety Award sponsored by Underwater Laboratories for things such as overall pit safety and the safety manual that was devised by the team. Team 4909 also got the District Engineering Inspiration Award which is given to the team, after judging interviews, that judges believe to be the best team that is spreading the ideals of FIRST and STEM in their community. Now, we have the opportunity to compete for this award at the New England District Championships that is coming up! Also, a junior on our team, Avani Agrawal, was named as a Dean’s List Finalist who will compete at the New England District Championships. Also after judging and being nominated by the team, according to FIRST, Dean’s List Finalist recognition is given to students who “demonstrated leadership and commitment to the FIRST Core Value and interest in and passion for a long term commitment to FIRST.” Overall, it was a successful event. Next stop: NE District Championships from April 10-13 at WPI.
Our first FIRST competition of the season is taking place on March 16-17 in Reading, MA. We would love to see you all there supporting us! As always, admission to these events are free. Here is the schedule for this weekend’s events:
Saturday, March 16:
-Opening ceremony: 10:30 a.m.
-Qualification matches: 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 17:
-Opening ceremony: 9:00 a.m.
-Qualification matches: 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
-Alliance Selection: 12:30 p.m.
-Playoffs / elimination rounds: 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
-Awards: 5:00 p.m.
For more information about the event, click here
To watch us compete on live stream, visit https://www.twitch.tv/nefirst_blue
Our 2019 Robot Reveal night was a success! Many of our friends, families, and sponsors took time out of their day to hear an overview of build season and see our robot “Apollo” in action. The night consisted of our team leads highlighting their specific responsibilities including managing the build process, building of the subsystems, programming the robot, and a team operations update. The audience was able to gain insight into what it takes to build the robot and each of our subsystems subsystems; the hatch panel intake, the elevator, and the cargo intake. Once we finished talking about the robot, we conducted a robot demonstration by simulating an official match. We successfully scored multiple hatch panels and cargo pieces. We even completed a level two HAB climb! We thank all of you who attended and appreciate your support! Please see below for some pictures from the event.
Last Tuesday marked the end of the 2019 Build Season! At midnight, the robot had been placed inside a plastic bag with a labeled zip tie. Now, we can only take the robot out of the bag for a total of 6 hours before our first competition. We can also take it out to demo for our sponsors and parents.
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 2019 build season. Please see the attached flyer for more information about Robot Reveal night.
Name: Sreyas Yennampelli
Title: Team Ops Deputy
Years on Team: 4 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Team operations with focuses on the team business plan and awards.”
Impact FIRST has had: “Allowed me to understand breadth of business and the understanding of technology in the 21st century.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Qualifying for worlds in 2018”
Plans After High School: Major in Biology and Minor in Business Administration
Ideal Job: Doctor
This week the team worked on finalizing the robot. With only 4 days until we have to stop building, most of the time was spent putting the finishing touches on the robot and programming. On the mechanical side, we finished the elevator mechanism and worked out the kinks on our cargo intake and hatch panel intake. Programming spent their time finalizing the software to control all the subsystems of the robot. This included stabilizing the elevator arms to reduce bouncing, fine tuning the software to make the robot run more smoothly and accurately, and program the climbing software. The team has also started driving and testing the robot sub-systems to identify areas of strength and weakness.
The software team is currently working with the mechanical team on the placement of on-board sensors and cameras to ensure the drivers have the visibility and tools needed when driving and maneuvering the robot.
Name: Dylan Walker
Title: Team Member (Software)
Years on Team: 2nd year
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Involved with software, and helps with general programming and coding/problem solving.”
Impact FIRST has had: “Learned how to complete tasks in a group and made new friends.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Fixed the autonomous code during the last week of the build season.”
Plans After High School: Go to college for applied mathematics and aerospace engineering.
Ideal Job: NASA aerospace engineer or mathematician
This week, all build leads and their groups converged with the robot leads to work on the main robot. The battery box was first moved due to an issue we discovered, where another component of the robot would interfere with it. Then, we figured out how to string our elevator to generate the type of motion we wanted. We attached the cargo and hatch panel manipulators together and mounted them to the robot using linking arms. We assembled lots of gearboxes and attached motors, pulleys, belts, chains, and sprockets. We moved our electronics on our modular board to be more space efficient. We moved our motor controllers on a separate modular board to fit better and allow space for elevator motors. This was done after figuring out where to mount the elevator motors. We also made and mounted bumper brackets to allow the robot to be protected during game-play. Finally, we fabricated the designed “stilts”, or the back poles that lift up our robot to allow us to get onto a tall step, in addition to our elevator.
Over the past week, the software team has been relentlessly working on finishing up programming the remaining subsytems for the robot. This includes the elevator,
the elevator arm, and the climbing mechanism as well. Also, we have been testing various cameras and programs in order to get vision processing, real-time camera analysis, working as well. Finally, as previous subsystems have been completed by the mechanical team, we have been testing them.
Name: Timothy Wallace
Title: Team Member (Mechanical)
Years on Team: 1st Year
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Actively involved in the build process of the robot.”
Impact FIRST has had: “I have found a group of kids that feels like a family and they share my passions.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Making new connections with the other students on the team. It has only been a year and I have met so many new people.”
Plans After High School: To attend college and receive a major in mechanical engineering.
Ideal Job: Research and Development or Design and Development.