This past Saturday’s kickoff event marked the beginning of our 2021 build season! Since the FIRST season will be different from last year, the team did not hold kickoff in person, as we have done in previous years. Instead, all team members, along with mentors and alumni, watched the FIRST Robotics Infinite Recharge Kickoff Livestream on a zoom call together. Due to the abrupt ending of last year’s game, FIRST made the tough decision not to release a new game this year. Instead, they released an updated version of last year’s competition with new challenges that can be done virtually.
The team split up into different breakout rooms, one with new members and one with veteran members. Mentors were divided equally among each group to help ensure the conversations ran smoothly. In each room, the groups discussed the necessary information about the game. The new members went over the 2021 Infinite Recharge game manual. Together we read the layout of the game rules and how it would work. We then took turns reading the game’s objective and discussed essential vocabulary like power cells (balls), ‘power port,’ and shield generator (structure to climb on). Additionally, the new members read about safety rules and appropriate behavior at events. On the other hand, the veteran group analyzed a summary of the changes put into effect this season. After that, we looked over the three new challenges FIRST will be offering for the 2021 season (explained down below) and discussed the potential ones we will be competing in. Finally, the veteran members did a brief overview of how awards were adapted for this season.
Game Design Challenge: The Game Design Challenge allows teams to compete against each other by creating a FIRST Robotics Competition game design. Each year FIRST presents a new game design to the community to be played worldwide. This year, teams will have the chance to create their own game concept. Teams will present their plans to the judges, determining whether they will move on to the competition’s next stage. Game creations or elements from winning teams could be used in future years! This challenge is an excellent alternative for teams who must meet virtually.
Infinite Recharge at Home: Infinite Recharge at Home is a challenge with two ways for teams to engage: Compete for judged awards or compete in a Skills competition. In the judged awards process, teams can participate in an interview with a panel of FIRST Robotics Competition judges. The interview will consist of a presentation covering specifics about the robot and design process, followed by the judges’ questions. The Skills Competition consists of 5 challenges inspired by Infinite Recharge. Teams will attempt shooting challenges with their robot, as well as other various ‘skills challenges.’ Each team is awarded points towards their overall score for the challenges they choose to compete in.
Innovation Challenge: The Innovation Challenge allows teams to invent a robot to solve a real-world issue identified by the team. Using STEM and FIRST’s Game Changers, teams are asked to design a robot to develop a solution for the situation they identify. In addition to aligning with FIRST’s Game Changers, this problem/solution should push society forward and include physical and/or mental health improvements. Teams will craft a business model and develop a pitch to present to FIRST judges, all for a chance to be invited to the FIRST Global Innovation Awards. At the Awards, teams will participate in workshops, receive mentorship, and show off their inventions.
Team 4909 is back to work for the 2020-2021 season! We began meeting regularly as a group in the beginning of November. This year, we have 19 returning members on the team. We are holding meetings and collaborating both virtually and in person. Although this year is different, we are working hard and adapting to all the changes that have been, and continue to be made. As of now, we are holding off on recruiting new members until our current members are able to adjust with the new protocols and it is safe to increase our numbers. We are excited to begin onboarding new members very shortly. We just recently registered for the 2020-2021 FIRST Robotics competition season and couldn’t be more excited! After doing very well throughout last year's short, but exciting season, we, along with all the FRC teams, were heartbroken when the season ended abruptly. Before the shutdown we were fortunate enough to compete in, and win, the Granite State District Event in Salem, NH. This year, due to the pandemic, things will be run a little differently, but we are excited to pick up where we left off last year. FIRST, keeping the safety of those involved as their number one priority, is not offering any in person events to register for at this time. Instead, they have offered teams the opportunity to continue developing skills by adding spin-off challenges of last year's game. We have the opportunity to participate remotely through three FIRST remote challenges: Design Challenge, Innovation Challenge, and the Infinite Recharge at Home Challenge. Listed below are details about what each group has been working on the last three weeks. No matter what this year will look like, we are excited to be together again doing what we love and sharing the message of FIRST. Thank you for all your support!
Software: Updating, rewriting, and testing code from last year's robot to get it ready for the FIRST Challenges that will be released in January.
Mechanical: Re familiarizing with CAD, and continuing ongoing CAD challenges as well as touching up last year’s robot.
Safety: The team has expanded their safety program and has drafted a set of Covid-19 guidelines to keep all members safe during in person meetings, which you can learn more about in our safety section on our website.
Team Operations: Updating the website, and working on this year’s awards and sponsorships. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for more updates and information on the team's success and ways to support us.
Come support Team 4909 at our MOOYAH fundraiser in Billerica MA. The team is excited to work with MOOYAH because they have made contactless ordering easy with the app, and all these purchases now count towards the fundraiser. The steps to enter the promo code into the app are linked below. Orders placed on the app are also eligible for delivery. If you are dining in, or ordering in person simply mention Team 4909 or show the flyer to the employee assisting you. We hope to see lots of orders placed using our code or mentioning the team!
Our 2020 Robot Reveal 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 “Mantis” in action. The night consisted of our team leads highlighting their specific responsibilites including managing the build process, building of the 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; the intake, the elevator, the indexer, the turret, the shooter, and the climber. Once we finished talking about the robot, we conducted a robot demonstration by simulating an official match. We successfully scored power cells into the power ports and hung on the shield generator by climbing (see videos below). We thank all of you who attended and appreciate your support! Please see below for some pictures from the event.
This past weekend, Team 4909 traveled to Salem, NH to attend the Granite State District Event. The team arrived at Salem High School on Thursday to get their robot inspected and set up the team's pit. The pit is where the team keeps their robot between matches and is also where they hold all of their tools and spare parts.
The competition officially began last Friday with 40 teams from New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont participating. Matches are played with a “Blue” alliance of 3 teams competing against a “Red” alliance of 3 teams. All alliances are randomly assigned and alliance configurations are different from match to match. Each team plays 12 qualification matches over the course of two days. After the team’s first 9 matches on Friday, they were in 2nd place. On Saturday, they played their last 3 qualification matches and ended up in 3rd place!
The elimination rounds began with the top 8 seeded teams picking 2 other teams for their playoff alliance. In regards to alliances, because of the team’s success in qualifying matches, they were given the opportunity to be an alliance captain for the 3rd seed! Using their Green Alliance scouting system, 4909 Bionics was able to distinguish which teams would be the best fit for their alliance. They selected Team 501, the PowerKnights, from Manchester, NH and Team 7822, Generals Robotics, from South Hamilton, MA. While the team believes they selected an excellent alliance, one of the robots from their alliance experienced trouble with their climber. 4909 Bionics helped them fix it and within an hour and a half, their alliance partner’s climber was in good shape. With a working climber, the team’s alliance was able to do a triple climb on the shield generator and they scored many points in each match, helping them advance to finals! The final match consisted of the fifth seed alliance competing against 4909’s alliance, the third seed. After a nerve-wrecking match, Team 4909 pulled through and won the District Event by just five points! As a member of the New England district, Team 4909 is ranked 1 having earned 74 points! This event was one of the most successful competitions that the Bionics attended to date!
Also, a junior on the team, Matthew Young, was named as a Dean’s List Finalist who will compete at the New England District Championships. 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.” This is the second year in a row that 4909 has had a member selected for Dean's List, and the team is proud to have such amazing members such as Matthew!
The team’s next competition is the NE District Greater Boston Event, which will take place from March 27-29 at Revere High School in Revere, MA. The team is excited to compete again and hopes that you will join them!
As our Build Season comes to a close, the team is excited to announce our 2020 Robot Reveal Night! This event will be held on March 3rd at 7 PM in the Billerica Memorial High School's Blackbox Theater. An invitation is attached below with some more information. Please be sure to RSVP!
Name: Avani Agrawal
Title: Team Operations Lead
Years on Team: 4 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “managing awards, team communications, fundraising, outreach, finances, sponsorship, and volunteering”
Impact FIRST has had: “FIRST provided me with the opportunity to broaden my horizons through Business Management. I became more confident in my ability to speak to judges and made lifelong friends along the way.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Winning the Engineering Inspiration Award in 2019”
Plans After High School: Go to college and medical school Ideal Job: Surgeon and researcher
Week 0 Competition Details:
This Saturday, 2/15/20, the whole team will participate in week zero. It is held at Bishop Guertin High School and the team will be competing with 27 other teams. Week zero is a scrimmage competition for teams to see how their robot would stand against others. How well a team does at this competition will not contribute to the “standing” of a team. This competition is also a way for teams to get ideas from other teams that the team might use to improve the robot.
This week, Team Operations has been hard at work with preparing for week zero, the first competition of the season. The team also helped packed the binders and safety equipment for the competition so we can give the proper presentation for the judges which they also prepared what they were going to say to them.
This week, the engineering team’s focused on finalizing each of the systems. The climbing mechanism was completed in the allotted time, but it has not been attached to the robot yet. The team hopes to accomplish this by their first competition. The intake mechanism has successfully been assembled and is attached to the robot. Currently, the team is exploring ways in which to prop it up while int he teleop-period. The team also made minor modifications to the turret and indexer mechanisms. The main modification to the turret mechanism was replacing the Lexan hood with a metal one. Doing so provided consistent shots. They modified the indexer by changing the shape of the spacers in order to prevent the poly cord from slipping off.
This week, the software team's efforts revolved around gearing up the robot for competition. We worked on shooting accurately and quickly as well as working out the inefficiencies of our ball-feeding mechanism. Overall, our main priority was integrating the various systems of the robot. Hopefully, with the robot nearly come together, we'll be ready to succeed in Week 1 of competitions soon!