Articles by tag: business

Articles by tag: business

    Outreach and Sponsors

    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

    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.

    First Official Practice of the Season

    First Official Practice of the Season By Omar, Caitlin, Jayesh, Darshan, Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Max, and Tycho

    Task: Pull ourselves together for the new season

    At this practice, our goal was to get everybody familliar with this year's game, Velocity Vortex, and to brainstorm some ideas for this year's robot. Some organization also needed to be done in terms of parts (everything is everywhere and nowhere at the same time) and also in terms of this year's meeting structure. Last year was somewhat unfocused and chaotic and we need to get a better grasp of things.

    Reflections

    We managed to get a decent amount done today. Jayesh described our new meeting structure: we begin with a group discussion of what we'd be doing that day, then would separate and work, then around mid-meeting we'd eat some food and while doing so talk about what we've done, then separate again and continue working. Hopefully we're able to stick to this schedule.

    Jayesh and I also made a small table of possible wheel base options, such as using either Mecanum wheels or returning to the omni-wheels of yore. Evan and Darshan disassembled the mountain from last year's field and put it outside near our tent. We discussed several things, such as some interesting rules about how our robot will not be able to grasp onto any part of the center structure, and therefore could not stop it from rotating by doing so. We also discussed League play, and it's advantages/disadvantages. A large weakness of ours is lack of testing, and these League meets would definitely let us get some more practice in before the big qualifiers.

    Evan and Tycho both tried to explain designs for this year's robot that they'd thought up. Evan, by using some loopholes in the rules, designed the premise for a robot that would park itself right in front of our Corner Vortex, having with it at least two Particles, and would cycle them through the Vortex over and over again. Even though each Particle that goes through would only be worth a point, Evan argues that these will add up since his design will be quick at cycling. Tycho's idea focuses instead on the Center Vortex; he explained that his robot would have ball intakes on opposite sides of the robot so direction wouldn't matter (unlike last year's robot, Geb), and would have some sort of mechanism in the center of the robot that would shoot Particles up and through the Center Vortex. So far, most of us are aligning more on Tycho's side of the design wars, but Evan's persistence might win us over. Who knows.

    One other thing Jayesh, Evan and I decided on (question mark?) is a general plan for this year's autonomous that we 100% need to work on to be successful: the robot will hit the beacon buttons, then move to the center of the field, hit the cap ball out of the center, then park in the center (not neccessarily fully). We thought this was realistically possible given the time that we have until competition.

    Budgeting With Team 3734

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

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

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