Walking into the Revere High School on the morning of March 25th, Billerica’s favorite robot, “Equinox”, had a brand new addition: a fully-functional cube shooter. Equinox now had the capability to now intake the cube game pieces and shoot them to their desired node during a match. Though we lost some matches, our victories ultimately landed us in 10th place by the time alliance selections came around.
During alliance selections, we were the first pick of the fourth seed captained by Team 4041, the Iron Tigers. Team 5735 Control Freaks were also invited to join our alliance, which they accepted.
The playoff tournament was thrilling, as the top teams of the competition took to the field to battle for the top spot. As the matches began, we scored a win against the 5th seed, but lost to the 1st seed in our next match, placing us in the lower bracket of the tournament. Tensions rising, the team entered the next match against the 2nd seed. Unfortunately, we lost the match 144-129 and were eliminated from the competition.
RIDE was the Bionics’ first official competition of the season, having won a pre-season event hosted by Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, NH just a few weeks ago.
The gym at Ponaganset High School was packed Saturday and Sunday with tech-savvy teens, encouraging coaches, and vivacious volunteers, all watching the playing field as robots raced to score points. These robots, designed and built by the high school students, operate in autonomous and remote control modes, picking up and placing game pieces in precise locations in the game field. To score extra points, the robots can balance on a rocking platform called a “charging station”.
The second day also had some lows and highs for Billerica’s favorite robot. Near the end of a match, Equinox tipped over, damaging the robot. “It was a really scary moment,” said team captain Anuva Agrawal. “But it was great that we could count on our pit crew to fix the robot quickly for the next match.” The team discovered that a communications problem with the field delayed control commands, causing the robot to jerk forward unexpectedly and fall. The FIRST head referee allowed a rematch, which the Bionics’ alliance won 105 to 84, putting Billerica in 5th place for the playoff tournament.
The playoff tournament was thrilling at the top teams took to the field. The Bionics allied with two other teams to score a win in their first tournament match. Unfortunately, they lost their next two matches, eliminating them from the competition.
RIDE was an exciting event for humans and robots alike. The Billerica Bionics team is looking forward to the next competition on March 25th and 26th at Revere High School in Revere, MA. Attendance is free, and all are invited to attend and cheer on the team. “This was a tough competition,” said team member Abhinaba Goswami. “We’re going to do even better in the next game.”
To stay updated on the latest Team 4909 - Billerica Bionics news, please follow @team4909 on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, or go to team4909.org.
Week 6 RecapRead Now
Members began the week by working on code for the intake, wrist, and claw systems. The intake system contains spinning rollers that allow the operator to take in game pieces while the claw simultaneously manipulates these pieces to score. By moving the claw up and down, the wrist apparatus acts as a bridge between these two systems, allowing the robot to score quickly and efficiently.
Members continued testing the mechanism while integrating it with the other subsystems in preparation for the Week 0 Event at the end of the week.
Over the final week of Build Season, members of the intake subgroup conducted preliminary tests of durability, speed, and efficiency with the system mounted on the robot for the first time. As the week progressed, students had to work around small problems, such as imprecision in certain areas. After Week 0, the group plans to continue testing and perfecting the mechanism before the team’s first district event.
2023 week 0 competitionRead Now
Tomorrow our team is going to Bishop Guertin High School to compete at "Week 0"! Week 0 is a pre-season competition where we will get to play the CHARGED UP game for the first time ever! The day's tentative schedule is shown below:
8:30 - Opening Ceremonies
8:45 - Qualifying Matches
11:30 - Alliance Selection
12:15 - Playoff Matches
3:30 - Closing Ceremonies
Make sure to stream the competition on Twitch tomorrow and keep up with our progress!
Senior SpotlightRead Now
Name: Karan Rana
Title: Build Lead
Years on the Team: 2 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: "Helping lead the elevator team. Being a build lead I get to help lead a team of students to design and manufacture the elevator subsystem."
Team 4909's Impact: "It's been able to teach me a lot about engineering more than any class would have. It has also taught me about leadership and I gained experience leading others to achieve something."
Plans after High School: "Continue to study engineering and pursue a career in engineering specifically robotics."
What FIRST Means to you: "FIRST is a group of people dedicated to a greater goal of being able to compete in competitions as a group. It also teaches individuals to collectively find priorities and solutions to challenges."
Favorite 4909 Memory: "Being able to the robot climb for the first time last season and celebrating the achievements with my teammates."
Ideal Job: "A leader in engineering projects specifically in robotics."
Senior SpotlightRead Now
Name: Ishaan Patel
Title: Software Team Member
Years on the Team: 2 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: "I am a member of the software team. I work with vision by coding cameras to help the robot identify and react to key landmarks on the game field."
Team 4909's Impact: "Team 4909 has allowed me to work closely with others. I was able to develop friendships and expand our knowledge by teaching one another. It has also allowed me to see the design and building process in a new way. I was able to get more hands-on experience than I have had in any other class."
Plans after High School: "I want to pursue a field in computer science and minor in mechanical engineering."
What FIRST Means to you: "FIRST means cooperating with other people and combining strengths to accomplish a shared goal."
Favorite 4909 Memory: "Working on the shooter prototype for the robot during the RAPID REACT season and being able to see my limelight help the prototype shoot successfully leading up to the final product."
Ideal Job: "Computer scientist specifically with AI."
Weeks 4-5 recapRead Now
The group has also been working to create a scouting app which will be used to collect data during competitions. The goal of this is to streamline the data-collection process for the team’s scouts, aiding in strategy during final matches.
During Week 4, the intake subsystem group continued working on their prototypes, aiming to finalize a design. After choosing a design, they continued work on the CAD, perfecting it before adding it to a main CAD assembly. This assembly is going to be used to better understand how the intake, elevator, and end–effector subsystems will interact with each other and understand any problems that may arise once they are mounted on the final robot.
The elevator has officially been mounted on the robot! Members of the lift/extend/launch subgroup are adding final touches to the first iteration of the design. These include hard stops, which ensure the elevator goes to the height determined by CAD. An E-chain protects the wiring for the end-effector that will be placed at the end of the elevator. During this process, students learned that the down pulleys were too close together causing for one to be taut while the other wasn’t when the system was extended. When non-extended, the same issue occurred but with opposite pulleys. To solve this, members removed one of the down pulleys so now it runs with only one down pulley. These were the latest design changes made.
Members of the operations team worked on multiple projects over the last two weeks. They made the most progress on this season’s business plan, finalizing many details and sending a draft to mentors for review. Students also finished planning for their upcoming Scratch Ticket Raffle, choosing dates for selling tickets and drawing winners. Their time was also spent creating promotional material about the 2023 New England Robotics Derby, intended for distribution at competitions. On February 10th, they hosted an incredibly successful ‘Hour of Code’ program, where they introduced elementary school students to block-based coding through simplistic games. The event also included a detailed shop tour and a robot demonstration featuring Pandora, the team’s competition robot for the 2021-2022 season.
Senior SpotlightRead Now
Name: Craig Fiorino
Title: Design and Mechanical Team Member
Years on Team: 2 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities on team: "I spend the majority of my time working on designing prototypes and refining CAD models."
Team impact: "I have focused on including the younger students on the team as well as being a good middle-person and team communicator."
Plans after High School: Bachelor's degree in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering
Dream Job: "Work in the design department for a major car or motorcycle manufacturer"
Favorite team memory: "Making pasta in the hotel room at district championships."
WEEK 3 RECAPRead Now
The second group moved ahead with the manufacturing, assembling and testing of the intake prototype. It was mounted to a swerve chassis with the goal of observing its behavior at high speeds. After testing, students decided the configuration of double rollers on the system were not up to their standards. Along with mechanical issues, the group also discovered dead spots where the system was not touching the cone at all. Over the next week, students will be fine-tuning and fixing any other problems that may rise with the system.
Students worked on finalizing a design and basic geometry for the end-effector. The system will be placed on a pivot and attached to the elevator to properly perform the handoff between the two.
This week began with the build leads delegating the necessary work to subgroups within the subsystem. Among these subgroups, the first focused on organizing the CAD and assembly. The second worked on routing and talked through gear ratios. The third group started work on a bearing block. Members regrouped in the middle of the week to create a prototype for testing different aspects of the design. These tests proved to be incredibly successful, and worked to boost the morale of the team. As the week progressed, these subgroups continued working on their respective projects, making sure the final products were functioning as intended.
The software group finished autonomous pathing and continued making progress with AprilTag tracking. Students finished the drivetrain simulation and are in the process of transporting different drivetrain code to test on the robot. Members built a second robot to aid with testing prototypes.
Team Operations spent time completing this season’s Business Plan and Safety Manual this week. They also finished pending tasks for the upcoming ‘Hour of Code’ program and a robot demonstration at the Billerica Council on Aging. Members ended the week by updating the team’s competition banner and brainstorming for this season’s button design.
Senior SpotlightRead Now
Name: Miranda Hodgkins
Title: Mechanical Team Member
Years on the Team: 1 Year
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: "I am mainly on mechanical but I jump around doing different things."
Team 4909's Impact: "Being involved in robotics has taught me that I can do the things that I never thought I could do before. Its been really inspiring and empowering experience working with other people who are just as motivated and determined as I am."
Plans after High School: "Although I am a STEM nerd, I plan to go to school to study cello performance and music education. Hopefully after that, I will go back to study journalism to be a music journalist."
What FIRST Means to you: "FIRST means opportunity to me. They open a lot of opportunities not just for myself but women in general. Women are given more opportunities in the STEM world with FIRST being introduced so early to the field."
Favorite 4909 Memory: Attending N.E.R.D 2022 and celebrating winning 0th place.
Ideal Job: "Music Journalist."
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