Last year was a very successful year for Team 4909! After doing very well throughout their entire season, we qualified and attended the First World Championship in Detroit, MI. This year the team is excited to be working in BMHS’s high-tech robotics lab. The team has also recruited many new members from the 8th and 9th grades, as well as new students from upper classes. Last year, they had approximately 15 returning members and gained approximately 25 additional ones this year. It brings the team from under 25 members last season to over 40 this season!
Currently, Team 4909 is training the newer members for the upcoming season, “Infinite Recharge”, which kicks off on January 4th. To help them prepare, the team attended Battle of the Bay in Alton, NH. We made it all the way to the finals as the seventh seed alliance competing against the first seed alliance. Unfortunately, our alliance team did not win but it was a great experience for everyone who attended. The event allowed all new members to feel the thrill of being at a FIRST event.
In addition to competitions, the team had been hard at work to finish the calendar raffle fundraiser. Drawings began on November 1st and went throughout the entire month. The team posted all the winners on their social media accounts. Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to everyone who supported us by buying tickets!
Team Operations is currently working on the Woodie Flowers Award, this upcoming season’s business plan, updating our website, and finance reports. 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.
The mechanical team has successfully built a T-Shirt launcher for the school's annual Thanksgiving Game Pep Rally. It was very popular among the students and was an exciting addition. It was also a great way to train new members and give them tons of hands-on experience before the start of the build season.
The team has been working on preseason-design-challenges similar to last year. The leads put the members into groups and gave them a design challenge. With guidance from the upperclassmen, all of the groups have to design, CAD, and present their ideas to the rest of the team. They received both positive and negative feedback on their designs to get them into the FIRST mindset. We are really looking forward to the kickoff this Saturday and the rest of the year!
We are holding another fundraiser: a scratch ticket raffle! Dates, times, and locations for where tickets will be sold are coming soon. Keep your eye out!
Monday: no meeting
Tuesday: 5:30 - 9:30
Thursday: no meeting
Sunday: no meeting
This year, we qualified for the FIRST World Championship in Detroit, as the 26th seed in the New England District. The World Championship was a really exciting experience. The first day we arrived, we unpacked the vans and set up our pit. After our pit setup and robot inspection, we started to check all our systems and make sure we were ready for qualifications the next day. We played a few practice matches and then went back to the hotel. The next day, we played in our first few qualification matches of The World Championship. After our 3rd qualification match, we held the 26th position. Later in the day we lost a few more matches and ended 44th out of 64. The next day, we kept on fighting and gained a ranking points that kept our place at 42nd. The next day was alliance selections. We waited, hoping we would get picked and finally we did! Team 3620 picked us for their alliance. It was really exciting to know we made eliminations. Though we lost during the elimination rounds, we had made it farther than the team ever has. This experience is something that we will never forget!
One of our team members who is a senior also gave a personal statement as to what the competition meant to him:
"As a senior who had the opportunity to compete with Team 4909 at the FRC World Championship 2019 in Detroit, I’m thankful for the endless opportunities this team has given me.
While we’ve always been a tight knit team, this championship was different. We grew closer, shattered our goals immensely, built the best robot we’ve ever built and competed like we’ve never done before.
Not only did we make it to the world stage, we had an amazing run throughout the qualification matches, and went into not one, but two, tiebreaker matches in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. I vividly remember sitting in the field-side seating with our mentor Blake during the playoffs, and both of us were intently watching our unbelievably close matches, until we lost the second tiebreaker by a mere few points.
Maybe the books may have said we lost, but I can say with confidence that was not what I saw on that field. Our drive team took it in stride— while their first move was to pack up, their next move was to discuss with other teams on implementing more robust and complex mechanisms for next season to mitigate the shortfalls we faced this year, ranging from swerve drives to CVTs (continuous variable transmissions). The championship may have ended as a loss, but it’s lit an undeniable fire in the underclassmen.
Coupled with the new resources that Mr. Flood has negotiated for us, including CNC Mills and more 3D Printers, I’m eager to see what Team 4909 does in the future.
From the moment that I was an eighth grader witnessing the team demo their robots during freshman orientation to being on the field at worlds, the team has continued on on its upward trend. It’s for this reason, I’m planning to come back to mentor on Team 4909 to pay it forward."
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 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.
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
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