Iron Reign

Welcome to Iron Reign

Iron Reign @ Science and Engineering Magnet

Team 6832 Members:

  • Dylan Chorley
  • Evan Daane
  • Trace Hamada
  • Ethan Helfman
  • Alisa Lin
  • Omar Ramirez
  • Caitlin Rogers
  • Jayesh Sharma
  • Darshan Patel
  • Maximillian Virani
  • Tycho Virani

Articles by section: business

Earth Day Texas 2015 at Fair Park

25 Apr 2015
Earth Day Texas 2015 at Fair Park By Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Omar, Jayesh, and Darshan

Task: Represent SEM and STEM at Earth Day 2015

Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles came by our booth where we were representing our Science and Engineering Magnet High School and sharing our STEM message with the community. Ms. Huitt, our principal was also there. Unfortunately we forgot to take any video while inside. Above Tycho is visiting with the solar car team from Ben Barber Tech in Mansfield.

Reflections

Traffic was not great where our booth was, but we still got a lot of interest in our robot. We brought a subset of the field so that we could demonstrate better, and we linked the robot to the earth day theme by portraying the balls as debris that needs to be cleared after an environmental disaster.

Discovery Faire at the Dallas Downtown Library

20 Jun 2015
Discovery Faire at the Dallas Downtown Library By Caitlin, Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Max, and Tycho

Task: Present at the Dallas City of Learning Discovery Faire

"Kids are invited to “Turn Up!” to make, create, craft, play and learn at the Dallas Public Library on Saturday June 20. The Dallas City of Learning free family event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. on various floors at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St."
Quote from Dallas City News Article

Iron Reign was one of many presenters at the Discovery Faire, showing various robots to curious kids and parents. We were on the top floor, and after rolling up assorted robots from the team's past years, we were set up across from Polyprinter people. Although it took a while for visitors to make their way up to us, we were working with and talking to a large crowd at the peak.

Reflections

We set up multiple places for people to interact with. In the right-hand corner of our area we had a sumo field with 2 or 3 smaller lego robots running. On our main table we had our coca-cola cube 3d printer we won from an earlier grant, and the beginning of Argos was set up. Currently Argos uses color blob detection to follow a selected color from an android phone. Right now the phone is mounted on two servos and swivels in the direction of the color. Minion, our robotic "dog" was being driven by Tycho and was going around the whole area. A lot of kids wanted to try driving him around, and Tycho attempted to teach them the leash based controls.

The main attraction was our season robot, which was set up with a few foam tiles, a rolling goal, and a bunch of plastic balls in a box. We followed he path of the balls through the beater bar, into the chute, up the ski lift, and off the backboard into the tall rolling goal. We seemed to do better here than in any previous competition! A crowd of kids surrounded the robot, and while it was originally being driven around, we decided to keep it stationary later, only running the collection and scoring motors. It was hard to keep their hands away from the ski lift, something that could be broken easily, and that could potentially hook onto sweaters or necklaces. We told them to roll the balls towards the beater bar and watch as they travelled up and (hopefully) into the goals. They seemed really interested and engaged as we got a combo going, and started cheering as goals were made.

A lot of parents came by the booth, and we were distributing fliers and information for our high school, The Science and Engineering Magnet. Many asked question about the curriculum, entrance requirements, and robotics opportunities there. Parents of younger children asked for suggestions on how to become involved in robotics with their kids, and we suggested looking for FLL teams in their middle schools and scouting troops.

Moonday 2015 at Frontiers of Flight Museum

18 Jul 2015
Moonday 2015 at Frontiers of Flight Museum By Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Omar, and Jayesh

Task: Represent SEM and STEM at Moonday 2015

The Frontiers of Flight Museum hosts an event every year called Moon Day that exhibits a lot of STEM topics to anyone who drops by. Iron Reign always has a booth with DPRG and exhibits most of the previous robots and topics that we've been involved in. This year we showed off Argos and Kibosh in particular, also having GyroBoy as an example based off our presentation given to the DPRG just the previous week. We had our booth where we presented our robots and also had a seperate team walking around, showing off Argos and Minion. We were able to talk to many people, both young and old, and we impressed upon these people the importance of what we're doing and how the STEM fields could affect them. We impressed a couple engineers that came over with one of them exclaiming: "Man, kids used to mess with their dolls and toys, you guys do things that we weren't able to until late college!"

Reflections

Our opportunity to talk to both kids and adults experienced in the STEM fields, and leave an impression on both, is something that has come to define this team. To get kids excited about what we do and start getting them to see if they have any interest, helps us prepare them for their future in their early age. Meanwhile, to be able to learn from other engineers and take advice from their experience helps prepare us for our future.

Intro to Gyros

22 Jul 2015
Intro to Gyros By Caitlin, Tycho, Max, Omar, and Jayesh and Darshan

Task: Share what we've learned about motion sensing

On July 11th we gave a talk for a classroom full of adult members of the Dallas Personal Robotics Group (DPRG) where we shared what we've learned and are still learning about motion sensors, particularly gyros. The talk took place at the Dallas Makerspace. Our thanks to DPRG, Steve and Doug for hosting us and recording and editing the video. The presentation slides can be downloaded here. We hope this helps other FTC teams who are exploring the same subject.

Reflections

We are fairly happy with how the presentation went. We made a few mistakes and omissions in our talk and could improve our delivery. We should probably have added one last slide of "dos and don'ts" to make it simpler for teams that are just starting with gyros, so we'll do that in a follow-up post.

Our assessment of the quality of the gyro in the 2nd gen Moto G isn't a first hand assessment, as we don't actually own a Moto G. But if you Google the gyro on the Moto G you'll see stuff like this: https://www.reddit.com/r/GoogleCardboard/comments/2syeb2/moto_2nd_gen_gyroscope_fix_request/

So it seems that using this phone with Google Cardboard leads to a very jerky experience that probably means difficulty using it on a robot. But it's also possible that the gyro is fine and it's the built-in sensor fusion with the accelerometers and magnetometers that is the problem. We are interested in feedback from other teams that have this phone to see what they think of its gyro. We know of at least one other team that is planning to test this phone's gyro.

We are also interested in feedback from other teams on which external gyro they plan to use. The easy choice is the hitechnic gyro that we've mostly used in the past. But the truth is that it is a very drifty gyro and there are probably better choices out there now. We are looking at a few ourselves and plan to post the results.

We estimate we've put about 90 person hours over 3 meets and a lot of homework into this presentation. And that doesn't count the time we've put into actually learning how to use gyros from sensing through to control. If we'd spent even half that time working on our FTC judging presentation last year we'd be in much better shape. We learned of some teams at the South Super Regional that spent much more time practicing their presentations. We have to learn how to set aside time in the weeks leading up to competition when our focus has been only on the robot.

Mayor's Back to School Fair 2015 and Dallas City of Learning at Fair Park

07 Aug 2015
Mayor's Back to School Fair 2015 and Dallas City of Learning at Fair Park By Jayesh, Max, Tycho, Omar, Darshan

Task: Share STEM opportunities with returning Dallas ISD Students

On August 7, 2015 we tried to inspire returning DISD students to think of themselves as budding engineers and scientists. At the Mayor's Back to School Fair and as guests of Dallas City of Learning, we demonstrated our creations to Mayor Rawlings and hundreds of kids. Many students learned to operate the robots and learned about robotics opportunities available to them at all levels in Dallas ISD.

Reflections

We were in the historic Women's Building at Fair Park. It's a beautiful building, but foot traffic was not great since it was separated from the main buildings. The kids who did come through still got a kick out of Kibosh. We had it slowed down so they could control and play with it directly. Mayor Rawlings was really nice and seemed genuinely intersested in what we were doing and especially that we were doing so much over the summer. He is really concerned about summer learning loss and that's part of why he is backing the Dallas City of Learning initiative. Omar spent a lot of time touring the building with Argos and even taught Mayor Rawlings how to operate it. And our story did get featured in the school's first newsletter this year.

Learn About GitHub

08 Aug 2015
Learn About GitHub by Max, Tycho, Jayesh, Caitlin, Ethan, Trace, and Alisa

Task: Learning more about Git and GitHub.

We've been using GitHub to host this website and to version our robot code since last year. Max, Tycho, Jayesh, Caitlyn, Ethan, Trace, and Alisa attended. Steve Edwards, a member of DPRG, taught us about Git, which is a distributed version control utility that allows there to be a central version of a program while someone may be editing their own local version on their computer. Github is a website that hosts repositories for free.

Reflections

We've been using GitHub for about a year. This website is powered by GitHub pages, and we also have a robot source code repository. But we've mostly been using GitHub for Windows, and today's talk revealed what it was doing for us under the hood. We now have a greater appreciation for GitHub, but it was interesting to see what was happening underneath GitHub for Windows. We clearly still have a lot to learn.

Labor Day Meeting

07 Sep 2015
Labor Day Meeting By Caitlin, Jayesh, Darshan, Alisa, Omar, Max, Tycho

Task: Learn about OpModes

Today, we reviewed opmodes in the FTC API and how to register new opmodes. We also learned about the differences between regular, linear and synchronous (from SwerveRobotics) opmodes.

Task: Review Blogs/Journal

Our Blog == our Journal. What we also did today was quickly review how to create blog entries so we can do that more frequently this year. We also tried to catch up on our lengthy backlog of journal articles. We were very busy with outreach this summer and haven't had a chance to write up most of those events.

Reflections

With the new game being released this coming Saturday, we should soon be able to try and figure out what kind of robot we'll need to create and how to approach the problem both code-wise and machine-wise.

The linear opmode works as a simple sequence of instructions, while a regular opmode is more event driven but still simplified kind of the way that arduinos work where some lower level task manager is responsible for calling our main loop and making sure that communications with the hardware devices happens between those loop calls. Synchronous opmodes are provided by the SwerveRoboticsLibrary and are similar to the linear opmode, but seem to have some advantages. There needs to be a lot of work in order for all of us to really understand all of this code in the new environment before we'll be able to use it well, but in time we'll learn. I hope.

FTC Kickoff 2015

19 Sep 2015
FTC Kickoff 2015 By Jayesh, Omar, Max, Tycho, Evan, Ethan

Task: Attend FTC kickoff and assist newer teams in understanding task ahead of him

We were invited by team Technical Dificulties invited Iron Reign to attend first FTC kickoff for our region ever. With the Technical Difficulties coach leading the discussion, everything relating to the game and coopertition in North Texas was discussed. Technical Difficulties, with some input from us and a few other veteranss, was able to assist the rookie teams with understanding the task of the FTC challenge this year. Questions asked included the challenge, possible loopholes, rules and regulations, and award chances and how to possible obtain them.

Reflections

Iron Reign has always made a priority of assisting the newer teams in FTC and even FLL to understand the competition they are entering and the responsibilities they will undertake in this year and beyond. Many people came up to us asking about build strategies and even basics like understanding javascript. There will be future workshops invloving programming and building that we may attend to learn and spread our own knowledge on the subject matter.

Money Please

10 Oct 2015
Money Please By Evan

Task:

At the strategy meet we had, I brought up how we need money to get sensors so we can detect our heading and position. At the current moment we spend about 3000 dollars a year on parts and sensors and we only get a 1000 dollar grant to pay for them. We have to compensate the rest with our own cash stash. So this year we are going to seek out donors for our cause. I made a list consisting of some potential people who might have interest putting their name on the side of our bot.

Reflections:

Necesito mucho dinero.

Create a List of Blog Tags

17 Oct 2015
Create a List of Blog Tags By Caitlin

Task: Make a list of tags for blog entries

We've been tagging each blog post as we write them according to topics we think they fall into, but there's been no standard for what to choose from. For example, what I tag as "Mechanical" Omar tags as "Build." When we get some scripting done on the blog to separate according to topic we will need consistency between everybody.

Reflections

So far these are the tags chosen to represent main topics and types of posts:
@Team members: comment tag suggestions at the bottom of this article or in the group chat

  • Business - almost ALL outreach is under this tag too. grants won and companies talked too
  • Outreach - giving to the community, The team went out to an event, taught something, mentored a group etc
  • Mechanical - physically working on the robot or designs for that (omar's used "build" in the past, similar to that)
  • Software - programming, talking about sensors or something
  • Design - robot design (including arrangement of parts and wires), Creo mostly though
  • Organization - logistics about arrangement of tools, workspace stuff, may overlap with a lot of others
  • Journal - for when you've gotta get meta and blog about blogging
  • Tips - tips and tricks, something we think should be shared with other teams
  • Private - posts that contain trade secrets or something we don't want to share. won't be shown on the main blog page
  • Video - video is embedded somewhere in the post
Scripting will be used later to get some navigation / searching by topic, but we still need to go through previous entries from this season and replace old tags.

SEM Open House 2015

11 Nov 2015
SEM Open House 2015 By Jayesh, Caitlin, Omar, Max, Tycho, Darshan

Task: Publicize our school and team + showcase the benefits of robotics

Iron Reign was once again invited to attend our school's open house and present our robotics group and speak about what we have and will do. We mainly focsused our topics on the transition between middle school level robotics and high school level. The topics covered included the overall engineering and computer programmming that we undergo as a part of FTC. The classes that these possible future students would undertake as a part of SEM such as Physics and Computer Science would function as a baseline in the challenges presented in FTC and the main focus of our presentation was to hopefully show these possible prospects that what they learn in class would actually be utilized in their everyday life.

Reflections

With the discussions we had with the people in the crowd and leadership of our school, we garnered a lot of attention towards our team and robotics in general. Many people who hadn't had a lot of personal experience with robotics were mostly attracted to the dynamics of the robots as they moved around and showed of their basic motor functions. Other people who were engineers and researchers were impressed with our technical level at our age. Many people exclaimed how it's good that we're taing full advantage of our opportunnites as they never had these opportunites at their age. These open houses let us see how we were before starting FTC seriously, and these opportunities have helped us for our likely futures in the STEM fields.

Meeting other Teams at the Scrimmage

14 Nov 2015
Meeting other Teams at the Scrimmage By Caitlin, Omar, Darshan, Jayesh, Tycho, Max, Evan

Task: Get a feel for where we are and the progress of other teams

Whether or not we were allowed to compete, we felt that it would be worthwhile to go to the scrimmage, if only to see how we compared to other teams. Climbing the mountain is the hardest mechanical design challenge so far, and we were able to see their solutions.

Reflections

Many teams had treads like ours, with different arrangements of idlers, while other teams had completely different solutions. RoBo Bison Team #8811 had a particularly ingenious way of moving up the churros.

Team #8514 used a wheel design that we had discarded early in the design process, with surprising results. Their front wheels were omni wheels, and their back wheels were ridged for more traction. once they got high enough on the mid-zone, they used their claw arm to reach higher and pull themselves up.

"I specifically asked if they had problems with falling sideways down the mountain, and they did say that they had to be careful to drive up at an angle as close to 90 degrees as they could.

One team had programming trouble, and a few of our members went over to help with their problems. They were using app-inventor, which made it a little hard to and had a well known problem with their wifi-conectThis team ended up taking home a trophy at the competition

Researching Awards

22 Nov 2015
Researching Awards By Caitlin

Task: Research and understand the various awards

We rarely prepare enough for awards, usually hoping the practice before that we've done enough to be in the running. Last year we won the PTC Creo award at one competition, but that was a one time deal. This year we can prepare our journal in such a way to make it easier for judges to find what they're looking for when deciding.

Reflections

Out of the 9 awards, 7 are given at every tournament. These main 7 are Inspire, Think, Connect, Innovate, PTC Design, Motivate, and Control. Following are summaries/key points of the main 7 awards.
Inspire

  • Good Engineering section, Team section, Business and strategy section
  • good reliable robot in general
  • professional
Think
  • Detailed notebook with drawings
  • Notebook must recount lessons/journey/experiences of team
  • Entries giving lessons on underlying math and science concepts
Connect
  • Notebook business and strategic section. Contains fundraising, sustainability timelines, outreach, and community service goals
  • actively engaging in the engineering commnuity
Innovate
  • design process and design solution
  • elegant and unique design
  • efficient design
PTC Design
  • detailed design drawings
  • functional and aesthetic design
Motivate
  • Be an ambassador for FIRST
  • recruit others who might not be active in STEM
  • EVERY team member must participate
  • Each member must present
  • Creatively market the team
Control
  • Must fill out application sheet
  • Engineering section
  • uses intelligent coding
  • @ Iron Reign members: Pose and color blob would give an advantage

Most of these awards hinge on us being able to effectively present our achievements to judges, with a well organized engineering notebook. Our tagging system will make it easy to categorize posts based on what award they fall under, I just need to add sorting pages for these 7 new tags. Then we can print out extra engineering notebooks dedicated to each award. When added, we will go through previous posts and tag based on the relevant award category. All the more reason to get this done quickly, the posts are piling up.

Business Planning

05 Dec 2015
Business Planning By Alisa

Task: Making a Business Sponsorship Template

I worked on making a rough draft of a sponsorship template. This template will be used to email companies to ask for their sponsorship. I have a list of companies that have a high chance of sponsoring us. I found several more to add to the list Evan started last week. I also added sponsorship levels to increase interest for the companies: Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Copper, Steel, Iron. Different levels through our list imply greater rights and priveleges in accordance to money donated.

Reflections

Our team is hoping to fix up some flaws of the template, so we can start using it to ask companies for their sponsorship. We are short of money and in the future, we will look for other ways to gain sponsorship money. This will help iron Reign continue its operations in both competition and extracurricular state. We are quickly growing out of the pure robotics team and growing into an organization.

Outreach and Sponsors

20 Aug 2016
Outreach and Sponsors By Caitlin, Darshan, Jayesh, Omar, Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Tycho, and Max

Task: Analyze how finances effect recognition

It's always a challenge to convince sponsors that we are a worthy team for their grants, visibility in FIRST and the public makes it easier. Teams whose schools have the finances and space to host a tournament are recognized by their peers and even get a boost to Regionals. However, our space is limited, and we wouldn't be able to pull off a quality event if we tried to host. Because of this our opportunities to get noticed by frequent veteran judges are limited, and we step up in outreach to make up for this.

Working with the Mobile Tech XPerience has been a huge amount of fun and a great learning experience, while being extremely visible to say the least. The MXP works to provide equal access to STEM technology to disadvantaged neighborhoods, and we teach modeling and NXT robotics. We get first shot at staffing the vehicle because of how closely we worked with them in the creation. The team was recognized in a CW33 Class Act for our efforts, and this is an incredible help to our sponsorship efforts. We want to tell potential sponsors that Iron Reign is a team that will put everything into getting out and interacting, and we have the evidence to show that.

MXP Transportation

10 Sep 2016
MXP Transportation By Darshan, Caitlin, Jayesh, Omar, Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Tycho, and Max

Oh the places you'll go!

We attend many events throughout the DFW area, taking our robot and whatever else we need along with us. This has often puts a strain in how much we can actually bring with us to FIRST events and STEM events in general. Over this past summer the team helped refurbish an old 90s RV to use as a Mobile Tech XPerience to drive around and help bring STEM to kids. Since the team put in the work to revamp the RV and worked so closely with the nonprofits involved, Big Thought gave us first dibs at using it when it's not out on deployments during the weekends. The MXP gives us a way to transport us and our materials to places that would otherwise seem unlikely. We can also use the MXP in collaboration with DISD to fund trips out of state and other competitions.

With the MXP at our disposal, bringing it to events can not only provide benefits to ourselves but also to other kids and teams. Plus it looks cool.

Budgeting With Team 3734

24 Sep 2016
Budgeting With Team 3734 By Ethan, Evan, and Austin

Task: Create a Budget Sheet for the 2016-2017 Season

As always, Iron Reign needs more money. We are a title 1 school in a cash-strapped district with over 60% of students qualfying for free lunch. So, this year, we decided to *actually* make a spreadsheet to track what we need and how much it'll cost. Coincidentally, our sister team, Imperial Robotics made one too. Also, this year, we're going to share a practice field at our school, SEM. So, we've combined our costs into one spreadsheet for potential sponsors. We are considering these grants:

Reflections

We really need to start applying for grants - many of them have already started accepting applications or are about to. Considering that our estimated costs for this year are >$2500, these grants are extremely important to us. You can help us today by clicking the donate money up top!

Applying for Grants

23 Oct 2016
Applying for Grants By Charlotte and Evan

Task: Applying for Grants

As the season begins, we have started to apply for grants. Grants are important to us because 68% of students in our home school receive free-or-reduced lunch, and we are underfunded by the district. It is our responsibility to seek the money required for our team to thrive.
Here is an excerpt from a letter we sent to a local business:

"Unfortunately time is money and the time it takes us to contribute to each of these events costs us dollars we don’t have. We all love teaching young children who are interested in robotics and technology and we hope what they receive is beyond value. But we also need to raise our competitive game and new parts cost money. When jerry rigging and reusing parts unsuited for the job, we waste time that could be used to make more progress and continue the advancement of our robot. As we continuously refine our design, new parts are needed and some need to be replaced as we strive for an efficient and reliable entry. The other piece of the financial puzzle is transportation costs. This year we plan to take part in multiple competitions including out-of-state competitions in order to deepen our competitive potential and improve our chances of advancing to the next level. Competition expenses beyond the standard local track are some of the hardest expenses to fund."

Reflections

In the future, we wish to reach out to more businesses for grant opportunities. We have already applied to the FTC grant and others, and we have set up a Paypal page where anyone can donate any amount of money. For example, you can donate

A Thank-You to Tetrix

12 Nov 2016
A Thank-You to Tetrix By Ethan and Evan

Task: To create a thank-you video to Pitsco

We entered a contest to win a pack of Tetrix parts on Twitter, and we won! You can also enter the contest by following these instructions

So, as a thank-you to them, we made this:

Bake Sale

13 Jan 2017
Bake Sale By Darshan, Caitlin, Evan, Jayesh, Omar, and Janavi

Task: Plan Bake Sale

During our winter break, we worked on our robot, but we also planned to gain funding for our continued progression. We had applied for multiple grants but we thought crowd souring would be also be beneficial. One way we thought we could accomplish this was through a bake sale at our school. We found out that we are not recognized as a nonprofit by the IRS which means we can't do fundraising through companies like Chipotle. We also have a PayPal, but online funding can also be very tricky. At this point we've planned out who's bringing what to sell. Although our date hasn't been confirmed, we have planned for the 19th or 20th of January.

Reflections

We realize that funding is obviously a major part of running our robotics team. Doing things such as this bake sale throughout the season could help put a dent in our tab.

To Do List Update

11 Feb 2017
To Do List Update By Tycho, Max, Jayesh, Omar, Janavi, and Evan

Task: Update our To Do List

Sensors

  • CDIM #2 on right side
  • color and distance sensors on right side
  • ultrasonic sensors
  • can we get rid of distance sensors?
  • omnidirectional travel sensor based on trackball
  • omnidirectional travel sensor based on I2c mouse

Autonomous

  • simplify approach path to wall
  • simplify beacon detection
  • second beacon
  • compute distance before slowing down
  • alt config to bypass a non-working beacon if it's the first
  • pointed at gap between beacons, drive until touching, square with imu, check / adjust distance with ultrasonic

Authonomous with Vision

  • More team members than Tycho study Fixit3491 videos 4 thru 7
  • Integrate OpenCV 3.2 back into app
  • done
  • Integrate Vuforia sample
  • done
  • Get image from Vuforia into OpenCV
  • in progress
  • stuck with bug
  • Camera mount tweaking to get best vision line
  • Does wide angle work with Vuforia configuration
  • Real Vuforia based auto navigation
  • OpenCV beacon analysis from Vuforia beacon localization

Particle Launcher / Flywheel + Rail Type

  • New grippy custom printed flywheel design
  • complete
  • Custom flywheel printed and assembled
  • done
  • 3 versions
  • nylon, open ninjaflex, dense ninjaflex
  • Rail design - done
  • Rail print - done
  • High speed motors - aquired
  • Frame and mount rails, flywheel and motor - in progress
  • Particle Release Gate and Servo mounting
  • Presentation narrative and blog updates - tie in with earlier design iterations

Cap Ball Fork Lift

  • Replace lift spool with double lift+retract spool made from Tetrix track guide wheels
  • Add slides for fork support
  • Add pulleys for retract spool
  • Add deployment servo
  • Fabricate folding fork
  • Figure out fork release by hyperextension
  • Can we retract cleanly?
  • Can we refold? CR servo reeling in a refold line might do the trick.
  • Code to support these capabilities

Journal / Blog Improvements - ADD STUFF HERE

Awards Guidance Sheets - ADD STUFF HERE

Presentation - ADD STUFF HERE

Robot Reveal Video V1 - Shot List

  • Intro Sequence - half second shots of robot driving into frame from overhead, right side, front
  • Mecanum Freedom - high overhead shot of robot going forward, strafing, diagonal, turning
  • Particle Collector - close up short shots of collector running from side and from front
  • Particle Collector - Pulling in a particle - muliple angles (can one of these be done with a dolly shot of moving particle?)
  • Particle POV - camera on mat - robot strafes into view, engages collector and drives over camera until camera is at accumulator lift
  • Particle Collector - shot from under the robot sitting on polycarb, camera under the polycarb at the rear of the robot lookup up, seeing a particle pulled in, guided by funnel and loaded into accumulator
  • Particle Collector - Automatic Opposing Alliance Particle Rejection
  • Particle Collector - Machine Vision Based Automatic Tracking and Collecting Behavior
  • Particle POV - running up accumulator lift - not sure if this is possible without animation
  • Shooting - with flywheel - wide shot of 4 balls coming out
  • Shooting - close up of Particle Release Gate
  • Shooting - close up of Particles cycling through Launcher while off of robot
  • Shooting - close up of Particles landing in the vortex or on an accuracy marker
  • Cap Ball Lift Deployment
  • Cap Ball Lift Capture
  • Cap Ball Lift Raising
  • Cap Ball Lift Depositing
  • Cap Ball Lift Retracting
  • IMU Close up + 90 degree turn + station keeping behavior(on black turntable; make shot from above)
  • Navigation - Calibrated Odometry in both normal drive and strafing
  • Combined high accuracy Heading and Odometry with Trig = absolute field position (close up of telemetry, plus overhead view of a navigation sequence)
  • Autonomous - high speed of entire sequence - replace with machine vision version when available
  • Autonomous - machine vision localization of beacon targets - phone camera capture
  • Autonomous - beacon isolation and analysis - phone camera capture

Connect Reveal Video - Shot List

  • MXP Crane Shot Opening Sequence - what if? theme
  • MXP Walk through - adjusted BT script
  • MXP construction effort
  • MXP outreach event visual scrap book

Connect Reveal Video - Team

  • Who is on this team? Evan leads?
  • Script Team
  • Voiceovers
  • Existing Video Review
  • New shots and slides
  • Editing

  • Inspire Award

    25 Feb 2017
    Inspire Award By Tycho, Jayesh, Caitlin, Omar, Max, Darshan, Evan, Ethan, Janavi, and Charlotte

    1st Place at North Texas Regional Championship

    Iron Reign members left to right are Ethan Helfman (Build, Communications), Janavi Chada (Programming, Communications), Tycho Virani (Programming Lead, Main Driver), Jayesh Sharma (Business Lead, Build, Communications), Darshan Patel (Build), Caitlin Rogers (Communications Lead, Logistics, Business) and Charlotte Leakey (Programming, Logistics), with Evan Daane (from BTW, Build, Photography) in repose. Not shown: Max Virani (Design Lead, Programming), Omar Ramirez (Build Lead) and Rohit Shankar (Programming).

    Wow, we did it. I mean, we were going for it, but wow - we did it! Out of 118 teams competing in our region, we got 1st Place Inspire (Top Award) at our regional championship! We finally earned the coveted Inspire Banner. We've been building toward this for 7 years! Ever since we started as an FLL team.

    Our total awards included Inspire 1st, Finalist Alliance 2nd, Motivate 2nd, Connect 3rd, Innovate 3rd.

    Not going to Disney World yet

    We are now qualified for the Texas State UIL Robotics Championship and the 12 State South Super Regionals. And we are preparing with the goal of making it to the World Championship. We have an extended season and while some of us have been to super regionals before, this is the first time the whole team gets to go. Our coffers are empty, we need a whole new round of fundraising to keep up the progress for the extended season. We need your help! Please consider contributing to support our extended season and help us represent North Texas at Supers.

    In case you don't know how the game works, it's broken into a 30 second autonomous phase followed by a 2 minute driver controlled period. Two alliances of two robots each compete in each match. Here is our division winning match with alliance mates Technibots. Autonomous:

    And Tele-Op:

    Super Regionals Booth Design

    04 Mar 2017
    Super Regionals Booth Design By Caitlin, Austin, and Omar

    Task: Design a theme and layout for super regional pits

    A year or two ago Imperial advanced to Super Regionals, bringing along a few Iron Reign members. While teams get excited and have a lot of fun at Regionals, it's nothing compared to the displays found at super regionals. We've grown into our cyber-Roman theme this season, and Omar is currently working on a logo to match our new color and feel. Hats won't be enough at this level though, we've got to step it up a notch! Austin and I first looked for a base image, first looking up Roman forts, then moving to campsites. The forts weren't as recognizable, and the tents could be set up much easier. We drew most of our inspiration for the booth theme from the image above, credit to Gaius Hibernicus on Flickr.

    Having a recognizable theme is important on two points: scouting and sponsors. Sponsors are more likely to be generous if we can point to a display and show them that people will look at our setup and see their names on it. It's the way to thank them for their generosity in the season. When scouting, you want to be remembered. A forgettable team isn't chosen. Super Regionals usually has teams that have already made alliances over the season, so if you aren't one of those, you've got to stand out in both the game and in the pits.

    Reflections

    Oddly, this competition has a pit size of 9'x9', not the usual 10'x10', so we will be designing to that measurement, and hopefully expanding it later. Austin designed a base frame structure in SketchUp and I started making models of our carts, banners, and tables to be arranged after. We need enough sign space to display our Inspire banner, sponsors, school banner, and team aquila. The robot cart needs a clear path to the workspace area, and we need space up front for pins, a display with our outreach and robot reveal running, and a trophy display. I've made models for these because we already have them, and have begun the shuffling and brainstorming.

    Austin created a Roman style shield in a record time, using old field mats as the core and sawed off broom handles (left over from the hats) to keep them stiff. We ran out of daylight to scrub them clean of dirt, but did that this practice. When we were sure the tape would adhere he covered the front in red duct tape with a gold border. He also mounted an IKEA bowl to the front as decoration, and is planning to round the corners off so he can mount a LED strip along the edge. It already looks really impressive, and we have more materials to make a second if we keep the pace up.

    The structural design of the tent was adjusted for simplicity's sake; we're making a cube as large as the competition allows, and hanging tan fabric/ripstop nylon along the different sides to create the tent shape. The PVC supports are going to be wrapped in a worn/tea-stained look material to keep it unified. Our two smaller rolling carts will have our front displays, and since they have shelving, they can serve as storage for the boxes that don't need to get pulled out as often during the competition. We can mount a shield to the front if we want to cover them up. The Inspire banner is bright enough that it can likely be seen easily from the back or side of the tent, the school banner will go across the top above everything, and the aquila will likely go in the front on the left, beside the displays.

    To Do List

    10 Mar 2017
    To Do List By Janavi, Tycho, Max, Jayesh, Omar, Caitlin, Austin, and Darshan

    Task: Update our To Do List

    Sensors

    • CDIM #2 on right side
    • color and distance sensors on right side -done
    • ultrasonic sensors
    • can we get rid of distance sensors?-done
    • omnidirectional travel sensor based on trackball- not high priority
    • omnidirectional travel sensor based on I2c mouse- not high priority

    Autonomous

    • simplify beacon detection
    • second beacon
    • compute distance before slowing down
    • alt config to bypass a non-working beacon if it's the first
    • pointed at gap between beacons, drive until touching, square with imu, check / adjust distance with ultrasonic

    Authonomous with Vision

    • More team members than Tycho study Fixit3491 videos 4 thru 7
    • Integrate OpenCV 3.2 back into app-done
    • Integrate Vuforia sample -done
    • Get image from Vuforia into OpenCV -done
    • Camera mount tweaking to get best vision line
    • test + upgrade to faster phones for better video processing - done
    • Does wide angle work with Vuforia configuration
    • Real Vuforia based auto navigation
    • OpenCV beacon analysis from Vuforia beacon localization

    Particle Launcher / Flywheel + Rail Type

    • New grippy custom printed flywheel design
    • complete
    • Custom flywheel printed and assembled
    • done
    • 3 versions
    • nylon, open ninjaflex, dense ninjaflex
    • Rail design - done
    • Rail print - done
    • High speed motors - aquired
    • Frame and mount rails, flywheel and motor - done
    • Particle Release Gate and Servo mounting- done
    • Presentation narrative and blog updates - done

    Cap Ball Fork Lift

    • Replace lift spool with double lift+retract spool made from Tetrix track guide wheels- done
    • Add slides for fork support- done
    • Add pulleys for retract spool- done
    • Add deployment servo
    • Fabricate folding fork
    • Figure out fork release by hyperextension- done
    • Can we retract cleanly? -done
    • Can we refold? CR servo reeling in a refold line might do the trick.
    • Code to support these capabilities

    Journal / Blog Improvements -

    • lift and improving it
    • making the new side guards
    • assembling the canopy
    • robot reveal

      Awards Guidance Sheets

    • control award
    • fire beats cd

      Presentation - ADD STUFF HERE

    • pratice it!!!
    • increase info- mabye???
    • add charlotte and austin to the presentation

      Robot Reveal Video V1 - Shot List

      • Intro Sequence - half second shots of robot driving into frame from overhead, right side, front d
      • Mecanum Freedom - high overhead shot of robot going forward, strafing, diagonal, turning d
      • Particle Collector - close up short shots of collector running from side and from front d
      • Particle Collector - Pulling in a particle - muliple angles (can one of these be done with a dolly shot of moving particle?) d
      • Particle POV - camera on mat - robot strafes into view, engages collector and drives over camera until camera is at accumulator lift d
      • Particle Collector - shot from under the robot sitting on polycarb, camera under the polycarb at the rear of the robot lookup up, seeing a particle pulled in, guided by funnel and loaded into accumulator
      • Particle Collector - Automatic Opposing Alliance Particle Rejection
      • Particle Collector - Machine Vision Based Automatic Tracking and Collecting Behavior
      • Particle POV - running up accumulator lift - not sure if this is possible without animation
      • Shooting - with flywheel - wide shot of 4 balls coming out
      • Shooting - close up of Particle Release Gate d
      • Shooting - close up of Particles cycling through Launcher while off of robot
      • Shooting - close up of Particles landing in the vortex or on an accuracy marker
      • Cap Ball Lift Deployment
      • Cap Ball Lift Capture
      • Cap Ball Lift Raising
      • Cap Ball Lift Depositing
      • Cap Ball Lift Retracting
      • IMU Close up + 90 degree turn + station keeping behavior(on black turntable; make shot from above)
      • Navigation - Calibrated Odometry in both normal drive and strafing
      • Combined high accuracy Heading and Odometry with Trig = absolute field position (close up of telemetry, plus overhead view of a navigation sequence)
      • Autonomous - high speed of entire sequence - replace with machine vision version when available
      • Autonomous - machine vision localization of beacon targets - phone camera capture
      • Autonomous - beacon isolation and analysis - phone camera capture

      Connect Reveal Video - Shot List

      • MXP Crane Shot Opening Sequence - what if? theme
      • MXP Walk through - adjusted BT script
      • MXP construction effort
      • MXP outreach event visual scrap book

      Connect Reveal Video - Team

    • Who is on this team? Evan leads?
    • Script Team
    • Voiceovers
    • Existing Video Review
    • New shots and slides
    • Editing

    AmeriCorps Partnership

    01 Sep 2017
    AmeriCorps Partnership By Ethan

    Task: Detail our AmeriCorps partnership

    Together with BigThought, we were able to find another programmatic sponsor: the US Government. For those of y'all who don't know, AmeriCorps is a federally run program that encourages civil service. Most 501(c)(3)s are able to apply to be AmeriCorps partners, and BigThought was one of them. Because of this, over the summer, we were able to gain volunteers directly sponsored by the American government, two alumni (Jayesh and Caitlin) included. This was an amazing experience for Iron Reign, as we have now had partners of all types, from public to private, from local to federal. As well, this has further increased the visibilty of the MXP, having it recognized on the federal level.

    Texas Workforce Commission Grant

    13 Oct 2017
    Texas Workforce Commission Grant By Ethan

    FIRST in Texas and the TWC grant

    In Texas, a government labor agency called the Texas Workforce Commission gives a yearly grant to people who apply through FIRST in Texas. We got it last year and stopped by their headquarters to say thanks while in Austin. This year, we got it again. The grant can go towards any robot/tournament related expense. This $550 will cover our first tournament and a few REV parts.

    FIRST in Texas also supports tournament fees for teams that advance beyond the Regional level. Thanks to them our tournament fees for the Super Regional Trip and the Worlds trip are covered, saving us $1,500. We'd like to give a huge thanks to the TWC and FIRST in Texas!

    DISD Sponsorship

    03 Nov 2017
    DISD Sponsorship By Ethan

    DISD's sponsorship of Iron Reign

    As referenced in another blog post, we recently went to a DISD Coaches' meeting. Shortly after the meeting, we were confirmed to be the host of the DISD Townview Qualifier. So, DISD was able to send us a free full-size field to build and use until the qualifier. As well, since we are one of the first teams within DISD to use the REV system, we were also sent $2600+ of REV parts in order to demonstrate REV parts to other DISD teams and teach them how to use them. This was the fruit of our prior efforts to get noticed by DISD. Since we went as a team to the DISD meeting, we were able to differentiate ourselves, our team, and our work ethic from other area teams so that we could recieve a larger grant.

    Reflections

    This was an amazing oppurtunity for Iron Reign. Not only did this reduce our costs for running the team this year, it also allowed us to host a tournament. It covered most of our part expenses for the next year except for new batteries and some tournament fees.

    DISD Scrimmage

    07 Nov 2017
    DISD Scrimmage By Charlotte, Janavi, Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Austin, Karina, Kenna, and Abhi

    Task: Run and compete at the DISD Scrimmage

    Today we helped run and participated in a scrimmage at the Davis Ellis Field House. Iron Reign will be hosting a qualifier in December at Townview, our home school. This scrimmage served as a practice for the preparation and execution of an FTC event. We were able to learn the best way to assemble the field, run the scoring and game software, and properly announce rounds and other information teams may need. As we should, we set up an inspection table where members of our team used the FTC approved inspection checklist to properly assess the robots of other teams along with our own robot. This is a skill that we will need to use when performing inspections during our qualifier. Additionally, we had to figure the software required to run the audio behind matches and fill in the scoring data, and having done this now will save us a lot of time during the qualifier that we are going to host.

    We also learned how important it is to create an itinerary for your team and try to keep everyone moving at the needed pace. During this scrimmage we were only able to complete 8 out of 12 matches due to this being some teams first match ever and some issues with teams not arriving, or not having been registered beforehand. But this provided us with a great experience and lots of information, we will take all of the things we learned after helping run this scrimmage and apply it to the qualifier we are hosting in December.

    This scrimmage was our second of the season, and while part of the team was focused on announcing, scoring, and field setup, the others worked on improving the robot and pinpointing key issues to solve before our first qualifier this Saturday the 11th at Greenhill. Also, the drive team got the necessary practice for skills that they need for upcoming competitions, like setting up WiFi direct connections between our phones and recognizing when batteries had low or sufficient voltages, skills that don’t seem very difficult but are very important for those working hands-on the robot during competitions. Also, with the removal of the “wiggle test” this year, we have to adapt and become very prepared before each match so that we can make the smooth transition that is required from autonomous period to tele-op. Although we have spent a lot of time doing drive practice on the field that we were gifted, driving under pressure in a competitive environment with other teams in our district is when we are able to decipher the most prominent problems with our robot. An example of this is our autonomous program: running it seems like second nature when we are practicing alone, but when we are with other teams there are more factors to consider, like whether our autonomous program is compatible with theirs, etc. Scrimmages are a perfect opportunity to figure out what issues we have and how to solve them, and this time we were also able to get the practice we so needed running an FTC qualifier.

    BigThought and Dallas City of Learning Sponsorship

    08 Nov 2017
    BigThought and Dallas City of Learning Sponsorship By Ethan

    Task: Recount our sponsorship with BigThought

    We have two kinds of sponsorships, money-based and programmatic. Our partnership with BigThought is the latter. For those who don't live in the greater Dallas area, BigThought is a local nonprofit that strives to provide STEM and Arts education to children so that the oppurtunity gap can be closed. As you probably know by now, *last* season we converted an RV into a Mobile Learning Lab. This year had been about substaining it and keeping it running.

    To fund our Lab and get contract it to local events, we partnered with BigThought and created a program to serve underserved communities to spark an interest in STEM. They provide extra volunteers when our team isn't enough, as well as the logistics for registering to work at events. Through them, other companies also give grants to our RV. For example, Best Buy heard about our initiative and funded the technology for our RV: 4 3D printers, 30 laptops, and 10 EV3s. All of these helps our mission to assist underserved communities.

    Business and Strategic Plan Pt. 1

    09 Nov 2017
    Business and Strategic Plan Pt. 1 By Ethan

    Download PDF here

    Intro

    Iron Reign has existed, in one form or another, for the past eight years. We have competed in FLL, Google Lunar X Prize Challenge, and now, FTC.

    While our team originated at WB Travis Vanguard and Academy, we are now hosted by the School of Science and Engineering at Townview, in DISD. Despite our school being 66% economically disadvantaged and being Title 1, our school consistently ranks in the top 10 nationwide. As well, our school has numerous other award winning extracurricular, including CX Debate, Math/Science UIL, and more.

     

    A History of Iron Reign

    Iron Reign has been a team for eight years. We initially started as an FLL team, plateauing in regionals every year we competed. We also did Google’s Lunar X Prize program every Summer, achieving finalist status in 2011 and 2012. Upon moving to high school, we started doing FTC, as FRC was too cost-prohibitive to be parent-run.

    We have been an FTC team for 6 years, advancing further and further each year. Last year, we got to the South Super Regionals, qualifying by winning the North Texas Inspire Award. In Georgia, we were the first alternative for Worlds if another team dropped out due to cost.

    Also in FTC, we compete in the Texas UIL State Championships. For those unfamiliar with UIL, it is the main organizational committee for all public school academic and athletic events. Through UIL, we helped compete in the first test program for the UIL Robotics program and since then have competed in every subsequent tournament.

     

    Outreach

    Iron Reign spends a large amount of time on outreach. This year alone, we have put in 500 man-hours and created 2800 individual connections to people in our community. Our goal of this outreach is to reach disadvantaged children who would not normally have the opportunity to participate in STEM programs in order to spark their interest in STEM for future learning. Some of our major outreach events include presenting at the National Science Teachers’ Association Convention in Florida, hoping to inspire people in other regions to adopt our methods of outreach. We volunteered at a Microsoft youth convention to spread STEM awareness, as well as volunteering throughout our school district.

    We also volunteer for FIRST. We have hosted a scrimmage for our entire school district, DISD (one of the largest school districts in the country), and are hosting a qualifier for the North Texas region in December. We also instruct parents and educators on how to start a FIRST team when volunteering, as Iron Reign itself was started by parents at WB Travis.

    Our outreach stands out from other teams through our mode of presentation. Last year, we renovated a 90’s Seaview Skyline RV, took out the “home” components, and turned it into a mobile tech lab to read underprivileged demographics within our community. Our RV currently holds 4 3D Printers, 30+ computers, 3 widescreen TVs, and 1 microwave. Our current curriculum consists of teaching kids 3D modelling in the back of the RV, using Google Sketchup, as it is free and available to any family with a computer. We usually help them design keychains, as they are memorable, but don’t take excessive time to print on our printers. In the front, we teach kids how to use EV3 robots and teach them how to use the EV3 programming language to compete in a sumo-bot competition. We also give advice to parents and educators on how to start FIRST teams. To fill and staff the RV, we have received grants from Best Buy to purchase the 3D printers and laptops, grants from non-profits such as BigThought and Dallas City of Learning to fund the building and upkeep of the RV, and staffing from BigThought and AmeriCorps, as well as our own team. The AmeriCorps staffing is especially notable, as it is a US Federal Government program to support civil service within communities.

    When not in outreach service, we can transform our RV into tournament mode. We have taken numerous long-distance road trips aboard our RV, with locations such as Austin, Arkansas, and Florida. We substitute the laptops for bandsaws and drill presses, use the flat screens to program, and bring our higher-quality personal 3D printer. At tournaments, we encourage other teams to board our RV, not only to encourage them to start their own similar programs, but also to help them with mechanical and building issues.

     

    Business and Funding

    Normally, Iron Reign does not get major funding. However, this year, we have seen our funding, sponsorships, and grants increase exponentially. Currently, those include:

    ·         BigThought - RV materials, staffing, and upkeep

    ·         Dallas City of Learning (DCOL) – RV materials and upkeep

    ·         Best Buy – 4x3D Printers, Laptops for RV

    ·         AmeriCorps – RV staffing

    ·         DISD STEM - $3000 of REV parts and 2 full practice fields

    ·         Dallas Makerspace – Access to machining tools

    ·         DPRG – Robot assistance

    ·         FIRST – Tournament fees

    ·         Texas Workforce Commission – Grant

    We are always seeking out new sources of funding.  In the past, we have applied for prior grants by sending letters to STEM-curious companies in the Dallas area. For example, we have previously applied for a $4000 Orix grant, a STEM foundation dedicated to spreading STEM to the underserved. Also, recently, we received an additional grant from Best Buy for our distinguished service to the underprivileged within the Dallas area.

    In previous years, we have lacked the ability to get significant transportation fondant to tournaments. However, through our partnership with DISD, we have solved that problem. And when DISD is unable to provide transportation due to short notice, we can provide our own transportation due to our building of the RV.

     

    Reference Business Letter from Last Season

    Dear Orix,

    Iron Reign Robotics, a robotics team of 7 years, is competing in the 2016/17 First Tech Challenge Velocity Vortex game. We are based out of the School of Science and Engineering (SEM) in Dallas which is a title one school.

    The population of the public school is racially diverse and 68 percent of the students are on free-or-reduced lunch. In spite of our economic challenges, SEM is regularly considered the school that offers students the most growth in the entire district (highest effectiveness index) and is regularly in the top 10 in many national rankings. But as the second robotics team to be formed at this Dallas ISD Magnet, we are underfunded by the district and need to reach out to organizations that are investing in the long-term future of our community.

    Each year we deepen our advanced robotics skills, improve our ability to organize around common team goals, and learn how to better communicate with technical professionals so that we will prepared make an impact as we continue through college and eventually join the workforce. Last year our team made it to the Regional Championship during the FTC season and then proceeded on to the UIL State Robotics Championship in Austin during the summer. This year, with your support, we are striving to make it to the 12-state super regional in Georgia and go from there to the World-wide competition in Houston.

    Yet we spend a significant amount of our efforts investing in younger students outside the team. We work very hard to let young students in North Texas know about the opportunities in STEM education. We mentor students in elementary and middle schools. We regularly participate in a series of STEM outreach events to help younger students think of themselves as future scientists, engineers and technical professionals. This includes presenting at events like the Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair, Earth Day Texas, and Moon day at the Frontiers of Flight Museum just to name a few. Last year (2015/16) our outreach involvement amounted to 400 team person-hours in service to 2,200 people. We are unaware of any other FTC team in our region that does as much outreach as we do.

    This year we’ve stepped those numbers up to over 500 person-hours serving over 2,000 people so far just this summer. This was because we took on a project to renovate an RV to create a mobile learning laboratory for the Dallas City of Learning. Not only did we turn the interior into a mobile technical classroom with 3D printers, but many team members volunteered to teach robotics and 3D modelling and printing on board while volunteering for AmeriCorps with Big Thought this summer. The team was featured as a “Class Act” on TV channel CW33 because of this effort.

    Unfortunately, time is money and the time it takes us to contribute to each of these events costs us dollars we don’t have. We all love teaching young children who are interested in robotics and technology and we hope what they receive is beyond value. But we also need to raise our competitive game and new parts cost money. When jerry rigging and reusing parts unsuited for the job, we waste time that could be used to make more progress and continue the advancement of our robot. As we continuously refine our design, new parts are needed and some need to be replaced as we strive for an efficient and reliable entry. The other piece of the financial puzzle is transportation costs. This year we plan to take part in multiple competitions including out-of-state competitions in order to deepen our competitive potential and improve our chances of advancing to the next level. Competition expenses beyond the standard local track are some of the hardest expenses to fund.

    We are asking for $4,000 to help us continue our journey into robotics and we hope that Orix can become a major supporter of our team while we continue to invest in the futures of many more students in North Texas. We would love a chance to visit with you, show you our robot in its current form, and discover together how much our mission and your focus areas have in common. Please let us know how to schedule that time. Until then, you can access much more information about Iron Reign on our team blog: http://www.ironreignrobotics.com/

                                                                                                                    Warmest Regards,

                                                                                                                    Iron Reign

    Looking Back, Moving Forward

    In the past, sustainability has not been a major concern of Iron Reign’s. We’ve essentially had the same team for seven years. This year, our eighth, we’ve finally lost members through graduation. As a result, we’ve had to substantially reconsider our approach to recruitment and how to manage our changing team.

    We already have another team in our school, team 3734 Imperial Robotics. 3734 is an entirely different team, with different sponsors, members, robots, journal, outreach, and codebase. That being said, we recruit the more accomplished members of that team. The teams’ relationship is most similar to the difference between a Junior Varsity team and a Varsity team.

    We tend to recruit based on robotics experience, but having robotics experience alone is not a guarantee of joining our team. Iron Reign has a specific culture, and we tend to recruit people whose personalities fit our culture. We also do not accept people who only want to join robotics as a resume booster. While robotics is indeed a resume booster, and we allow every member to claim co-captain on their college applications, members of Iron Reign ought to join out of their genuine passion for robotics, not because of it getting them ahead in the rat race of college applications.

    Since this year was the first year in which we lost a substantial number of our teammates, we had to learn how to effectively transfer knowledge. First, we were losing our master of 3D modelling, Max, so we had two members, Abhi and Charlotte, learn under his wing throughout last season. Because of that effort, they have now designed a variety of parts on our robot. For the blog and engineering journal, Ethan learned under Caitlin’s tutelage how to use Jekyll, Shopify, and manage the blog. This year, we face difficulties, as we will lose our lead programmer, Tycho, for next season. To combat that, our members Abhi and Janavi, are learning the intricacies of our codebase that we’ve kept since we first started using Java.

     

    Game Strategy

    This year, we were faced with a conundrum. The central question was this – “Should we focus on scoring the cryptoboxes, relic, or jewel?”. We settled on the order of Cryptobox > Relic > Jewel.

    Our game strategy was based off of the fact that we could build a robot which could score one block initially, and easily score a column, giving us 40+ points right off the bat. As well, the cryptobox process is simplistic enough that we could get to the balance stone to gain even more points in the endgame, without doing any point-risky challenges such as the Relic.

    When we finish the cryptobox designs and autonomous, our next goal is the Jewel. The Jewel challenge is simplistic enough that it could be done in 1-2 meetings without interfering with any other design processes. Our current planned design process is first to create an arm with a color sensor attached like most teams, but eventually we plan to remove that color sensor and identify the Jewel only by OpenCV.

    Finally, our last area of focus is scoring the Relic. Scoring the Relic involves a high degree of difficulty, and the risk grows when you consider that you have to score the Relic upright in order to gain the most points. As well, building an arm that can score the Relic while still staying within the 18x18x18 size limits increases the design difficulty of the robot.

    Building

    This year, Iron Reign has drastically changed how it builds its parts. In previous years, we have relied on primary Tetrix parts, utilizing AndyMark parts for the drivetrain and other moving areas. However, we happened to gain access to a motherlode of REV parts, which drastically changes our designs from previous years.

    The biggest change enabling innovation is our newfound use of REV rails within our robot. REV rails allow for basically unlimited mount points for parts so that we are afforded maximum flexibility in our designs, comparable to the flexibility of 3D printing.

    As well, for this year’s robot chassis, we have decided to take the use of REV parts even further, and use the REV Power Distribution Module and both Expansion Hubs. The reason for this change is twofold. First, we experienced significant connection and static issues last year with our robot, partially due to excess static buildup from our mecanum wheels. So far, we have not experienced any of those issues using REV modules, even though we are using the same base chassis. Second, the REV hubs allow us to add more features on to our robot, such as LED strips and extra servos, that allow us to signal our team as well as create more innovative components of our robot.

    We also utilize a variety of 3D printed parts on our robot. While we use less 3D printed parts than previous years, that is due to the particular challenges of this year. Our parts are modelled in PTC Creo, and we have recently switched over from Creo V.3 to Creo V.4 so that we can use the more advanced features included in the new program. Our personal 3D printer can handle a variety of materials, and we have used nylon, ABS, Filoflex, and Ninjaflex in prior designs to fit various needs. In our current robot, we have settled on using nylon. Nylon has four qualities that make it more advantageous than other materials. First, nylon is less brittle and prone to breaking than materials such as ABS. Second, nylon achieves comparatively high print quality on our robot as compared to Filoflex and Ninjaflex. Third, nylon has enough give so that it doesn’t break, but is strong enough to withstand the forces felt in everyday use of our robot. Finally, nylon can be dyed so that we can give our parts a distinguishing color, a quality that we have taken advantage of in prior seasons.

    An example of these 3D printed parts are our wheel guards. In testing, our mecanum drive train tended to cut up the cryptoboxes when we drove up against them. As a result, we designed various wheel guards and tested them. We also made mockups with various materials such as cardboard, to minimize design time and waste parts. We settled on a U-shaped design to prevent damage to the boxes and other field elements, while not sacrificing mobility. Then, to guarantee nothing went wrong, we iterated through various heights of the U-shape so that they would not cut into the mats or bump into other robots

    Programming

    Iron Reign has generated a substantial codebase over the years. Initially, Iron Reign programmed in RobotC. However, when robot phones started becoming the main form of control, we transferred our codebase into Java. We use the Android Studio IDE to code our robot.

    Our most notable programming achievement has been the integration of machine vision and augmented reality libraries into our code. Currently, we use Vuforia in conjunction with OpenCV to identify and score field elements in autonomous, as well as assist in scoring elements during TeleOp. Both Vuforia and OpenCV are industrial-level technologies that we have integrated into our codebase. Vuforia in particular is currently owned by PTC, one of the sponsors of FIRST.

    Another notable programming achievement is our Pose class. We use the class to determine our robot’s current position on the field using trigonometric functions. While this class currently need updating for the new season, it can still be used for any small-scale operations on the field.

    Design Process

    Iron Reign uses two design processes in conjunction with each other to create efficient and reliable parts. First, we use the Kaizen design process, also used in industrial corporations such as Toyota. The philosophy behind Kaizen is the idea of continual improvement, that there is always some modification to each system on our robot that will make it more efficient or more reliable. As well, design competitions are a focal point of Iron Reign’s design process. In these design competitions, team members choose their favored designs that all complete some field challenge, and build them individually. Upon completion of each mechanism, the designs are tested against each other, considering weight, maneuverability, reliability, and efficiency.

    An example of these design processes working in conjunction is the process of designing our cryptobox intake system. Evan had the idea to build an arm-style grabber seen on many current competition robots. His design, however, included shorter arms for space’s sake and a more compact lift system than normal. Austin decided to build a unique conveyor-belt system which used friction to hold blocks in space and move them vertically. Through the competition, we determined that Evan’s design was more efficient and took up less space than Austin, so we settle on his design, adding in a linear slide for lifting at the end of the process. Then, Kaizen comes in. Through firsthand experience in scrimmages, we learned that the grabber system isn’t as reliable as we thought when first testing. So, we have designed a new grabber system that moves like the arms did previously, but also rotate with soft spikes attached to hold blocks with friction better without damaging them.

     

     

    Budget

    Bought:

    REV Minibot Kit

    2

    125

    250

    REV Slim Batteries

    2

    50

    100

    Axles

    4

    10

    40

    Drivers

    2

    5

    10

    Nyloc Parts

    4

    5

    20

    Step Drill

    2

    5

    10

    Shaft Collars

    4

    7

    28

    Tetrix Competition Set

    1

    580

    580

    Control and Communication

    2

    265

    530

    REV Hubs

    4

    150

    600

    Motors

    14

    28

    392

    Encoder Cables

    14

    5

    70

    Soft Tiles

    28

    5

    140

    Tile Bags

    2

    60

    120

    Full Field

    2

    480

    960

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Total

     

     

    3850

     

    Wishlist:

    Per Team - 6832

    FTC Control and Communications Set

    265

    0

    0

    https://ftc.pitsco.com/Control_Set

    Electronics Set

    150

    0

    0

    https://ftc.pitsco.com/Electronics_Set

    Build System: Competition Set - Tetrix [not recommended]

    580

    0

    0

    https://ftc.pitsco.com/Competition_Set

    Build System: FTC Starter Kit - REV

    475

    1

    475

    http://www.revrobotics.com/REV-45-1170/

    2nd REV Robotics Expansion Hub

    150

    1

    150

    http://www.revrobotics.com/REV-31-1153/

    Batteries

    50

    2

    100

    http://www.revrobotics.com/rev-31-1302/

    Batteries, Tetrix form factor

    50

    0

    0

    https://www.tetrixrobotics.com/Controllers-and-Electrical/Power-Accessories/TETRIX-12-Volt-Rechargeable-NiMH-Battery-Pack

    Servo Power Module

    40

    1

    40

    http://www.revrobotics.com/rev-11-1144/

    HD Hex Motor

    30

    4

    120

    http://www.revrobotics.com/rev-41-1301/

    NeverRest Motor

    28

    0

    0

    http://www.andymark.com/NeveRest-p/am-neverest.htm

    Lexan - 3 x 4 sheet - 3/32

    87

    1

    87

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/LEXAN-48-in-x-36-in-x-093-in-Polycarbonate-Sheet-GE-38/202038065

    FIRST Season Registration

    275

    0

    0

    https://my.firstinspires.org/Teams

    Per School - Science and Engineering

    Game Set - Full Field

    480

    1

    480

    http://www.andymark.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AM-3600

    Game Set - Half Field

    270

    0

    0

    http://www.andymark.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AM-3600

    Game Set - Quarter Field

    159

    0

    0

    http://www.andymark.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AM-3600

    Soft Tiles Game Surface

    230

    1

    230

    http://www.andymark.com/product-p/am-softtiles.htm

    Field Perimeter Kit

    595

    1

    595

    http://www.andymark.com/FTC-Perimeter-p/am-0481a.htm

    Tape Set

    50

    1

    50

    http://www.andymark.com/product-p/am-3600_tape.htm

     

    Best Buy Event

    14 Dec 2017
    Best Buy Event By Ethan

    Task: Attend a Best Buy event and accpet an award

    We have been using our Mobile Learning Lab for about a year now. Initally, we were given a grant by Best Buy to get electronics and printers for the RV. Today, we attended a Best Buy event to recognize our outstanding service, and recieved a further $10,000 grant. On top of that, we signed a contract to expand our efforts to a year round program, signing onto 50+ events a year. Through this, we have finally achieved our goal - making the RV substainable, even without Iron Reign.

    Business Plan Updates

    30 Dec 2017
    Business Plan Updates By Ethan

    Task: Update the Business/Strategic Plan

    See the first post with the full text here.

    Cumulative Updates to 12/31/2017

    MXP

    Update (10 November 2017): The Mobile Tech Experience program described above received a grant from Best Buy for its outstanding performance, and to fund more outreach events and upkeep of the MXP. The company that schedules MXP deployments, BigThought, also signed onto a year-round deployment schedule for the MXP.

    General Fixes

    • Removed acronyms
    • General spelling/grammar
    • Added explanations
    • Fixed tables
    • Added volunteer information
    • Added extra detail

    Download the pdf here.

    Talking to REV

    06 Jan 2018
    Talking to REV By Austin and Tycho

    Task: Talk to REV about our REVolution System

    On an excursion to the Rev Headquarters located conveniently in North Dallas, to pick up a few extra servos and other miscellaneous parts we decided to bring a couple of our 3D printed REVolution parts to show to the founder of Rev. if you aren’t familiar with our REVolution system, essentially what it is, is a way to turn Rev extrusion rails into axels to be used for more robust and modular axels. These new printable parts can be seen in their corresponding blog post and can be found on Thingiverse along with instructions.

    After waiting for Rev’s founder to see us, we had the chance to demonstrate the new parts we had come up with. The REVolution system peaked his interest and he would like to follow up at some point to possibly work on making the parts and selling them as part of the Rev product line. While you won’t be able to find our parts anytime soon, you can look for them in the future since Rev is currently working on a few other priorities.

    Part 2

    We want to have further talks with REV about mass-producing these parts, as we believe that these could benefit teams everywhere and allow their designs to be more flexible. As well, we plan to further develop our REVolution system so that it has greater functionality.

    DISD STEM Expo Preparation

    10 Jan 2018
    DISD STEM Expo Preparation By Charlotte

    Task: Prepare for DISD STEM Expo

    Next Saturday, Iron Reign will be participating in the DISD STEM Expo for our second year. As we did last year, we are bringing our Mobile Learning Experience to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and will serve children in our community to spark an interest in STEM fields and learning. Dallas City of Learning, the non-profit that schedules the Mobile Learning Experience, runs a featured exhibit in the expo, so we expect lots of traffic to our vehicle. Additionally, we have partnered with Best Buy, who is providing 12 volunteers including store employees and geek squad members to work with us on the vehicle. This will be immensely helpful as these extra sets of hands will allow for more kids to be served.

    For our presentation, we are going to have the usual two components, sumo robots and 3D printed keychains. We will teach the kids how to program our pre-built Lego sumo robots in Lego Mindstorms, the same program used in FLL. This is usually our best opportunity to promote First and tell families of kids who enjoyed working with the robots how they can start a team or join an existing one. Also, on our vehicle we have four functional 3D printers and plenty of laptops with Google SketchUp pre-installed, and with these we teach kids how to design and print their very own keychain with their names on it or anything else they would like. Because of our extra volunteers and the size of the event, we expect to have lots of kids coming through our vehicle and participating in these activities.

    Meeting with Advanced Waterjet Cutting

    22 Feb 2018
    Meeting with Advanced Waterjet Cutting By Tycho and Austin

    Advanced Waterjet Cutting

    Today we visited the Advanced Waterjet Cutting office and spoke to Sal Copado and Chris regarding our side shield designs. We had called a couple days in advance to set up this meeting, and we brought both our robot and our Mobile Learning Lab to demo. They were impressed by our work and were happy to support a local team competing at the Supers level. Sal agreed to cut out the side shields for our robot, though because of their heavy work backlog, they said that the side shields would not be complete until next Wednesday. While this is before Supers, we decided to go to the Dallas Makerspace to laser cut the design out of high density fiberboard so that we can start assembly based on the new design during our Saturday meeting and the following evenings. These cut-outs are pictured below.

    After the demo of our robot, we discussed the design of the side shields. At first they assumed that we needed assistance in putting together the design, but we had already prepared a design and had it ready for the meeting. After having a look at it, they identified a mistake that we had made. We are used to designing files for manufacturing - mostly on our 3D printer. We typically include machine adjustments into our designs so we can upload them right to the machines. For example we adjust our designs to compensate for 1st layer spreading or for material expansion into small holes. In designing our side shields for waterjet machines, we figured out the kerf we needed to work with and made adjustments accordingly. They saw this and said that there was no need for these adjustments, as they recommend that they make those adjustments themselves due to the variance in kerf for the different machines they use. They can cut industrial sized parts with either their waterjet or their laser for finer tolerances. We told them we wanted them cut out of 1/8" thick 6061-T6 aluminum and they confirmed that this was a good choice. The final files we sent them include designs for our side shields, mounting plates for our new 6in Mechanum wheels, and internal wheel mounts. We're basically covering the cost of the material and they are covering all other expenses.

    Next Steps

    We hope to pick up the new parts next Wednesday and get them on the robot that evening. We would also like to return with the full team to AWC and get a tour of their manufacturing facilities and machine shop. But we'll need to look for a student holiday to get that done since we're always at school during their opening hours. We'd also like to show them the updated robot and see if they have any ideas for further improvements.

    Designing the Tent

    04 Mar 2018
    Designing the Tent By Janavi and Kenna

    Task:

    So, its Supers time again! And that means its time to design our tents and pick a theme for ourselves. Last year, when Iron Reign went to Supers for the first time, we got to see all of the other teams' displays; before, we had only been to regional level competitions and weren't ready for the displays at Supers. We saw the coolest tents and got some really cool trinkets. For example, one team from Louisiana passed out miniature Tabasco bottles and another team laser cut wood into the FTC logo.

    We need to make sure that our tent has a good design and we have memorable trinkets to pass out, if we have a recognizable team it will help us with scouting and sponsors. If we can show sponsors that their name will be on our display then they are more likely to either continue supporting our team or think about starting. And for scouting we are more likely to get chosen for an alliance if we have a memorable robot performance and pit.

    This is what our tent looked like last year at Supers, we plan to take this design and improve upon it based on the feedback we received.

    Next Steps:

    So, I decided to create a 3D model of what our tent might look like, taking measurements of the carts, banners, and tables, so that we can make sure that we not only have space for all of the items we intend to place in our pit, (Inspire banner, sponsors, school banner,team aquila, carts, banners, tables, etc.) but we also need enough space to move around in our area. I used SketchUp to create the model, photos are below.

    Last year, Austin created a Roman-style shield with old field mats as the plating and sawed off broom handles (left over from the hats) to keep them stiff. We plan to use those again this year keeping with our Roman theme. We also plan to add to this by hopefully creating another (hopefully lighter) shield to carry around; this way we will be recognizable for both our helmets and shields.

    Trinkets:

    Kenna and I worked together last Saturday to create business cards and design wooden coins that we would laser cut out of wood. We decided that we really needed to advertise about 4 main things:

    • Our team logo with our name and team number
    • Our game stats
    • Info about the MXP
    • Social Media accounts and our website

    So, after thinking about all of this and looking at other teams' cards and trinkets, we came up with this design for the business cards. For the wooden coins, we put our logo on one side and for the other we put our social media info.

    Update:

    Getting everything printed out was quite a hassle. First we sent the cards to get printed out three days before we left, already cutting it close and then due to some error the order was cancelled. Then, after getting the error sorted out, we got 1,000 bushiness cards printed out in 24 hours.

    Then for the laser cutting of the coins, we realized that it would take around 8 hours to complete and since we don't have access to a laser cutter at school, one of us would have to go to the nearby maker space and wait 8 hours for it to finsh. Since it was right before the completion, and we needed to spend our time focusing on the robot, so we decided to 3-D print the coins and pass them out. This worked wonderfully and since we brought along the R.V. any time we ran low we could print out more on board.

    Other teams loved our merch and we got to see some other great trinkets, one team from Louisiana gave out miniature Tabasco bottles, and another gave us a laser cut horseshoe game for luck!

    CNC Machine Rehab 1

    01 Jul 2018
    CNC Machine Rehab 1 By Ethan and Charlotte

    Task: Refurbish an Apple II CNC Mill and Lathe Set

    We were helping our school's FRC team clean out their parts closet, which hadn't been cleaned in 10-ish years. Under the layers and layers of FRC junk, we found an Apple II-operated Patterson/Paxton CNC Milling Set. These were meant to run off of a long-since-gone Apple II in a classroom setting. But, it had long been auctioned off, leaving the set useless. But, Iron Reign, as a collective of hoarders, decided to bring these machines over to the house to refurbish.

    The first idea we looked at was emulating the Apple II with an Arduino, as seen here. However, this implementation didn't have the response rate needed for an accurate CNC machine, so we scrapped it. Then, we found this post. The problem that people mainly encounter is that, for some strange reason, Paxton\Patterson used a proprietary parallel port pinout, and deviating from that pinout (read: using a standard parallel cord) would fry the optidriver board in the machine. So, we bought a ethernet-to-parallel port jumper box (UC300eth).

    We then sliced a parallel cable in half, and rewired the wires to the pins, treating the left column of that of the port numbers on the board and the right as the pin numbers of the cables.



    We then made a power supply for the UC300eth. We attempted to use a 10V DC power supply, and use a voltage splitter. Unfortunately, the power spiked, and probably fried the UC300.

    Next Steps

    We need to buy a new UC300 board and hook it up to a laptop with Mach3 to test the power.

    Contact Us

    E-Mail: ironreignrobotics@gmail.com Website: In the address bar