Articles by tag: motivate

Articles by tag: motivate

    Robot On a Hoverboard - Try 1

    Robot On a Hoverboard - Try 1 By Caitlin, Max, Tycho, Darshan, Omar, Evan, Ethan, and Jayesh

    Task: Try to drive the hoverboard with the competition bot

    In the middle of Saturday's event we decided it would be a GREAT idea to put the competiton robot on the hoverboard and try to drive it around. Theoretically if we got it centered correctly it could only drive forward and backwards. We could extend the cliff hanger to move our center of gravity forwards, and then retract to bring it back.

    Reflections

    We were able to make the board speed up by tilting the cliff-hanger out and extending it, but we couldn't control it enough to completely stop it or keep it steady. We believe that the robot frame isn't completely rigid and is torquing at the center, making the robot unbalanced left/right. Since it's only slightly off balance we can't really adjust it by hand. It seems doomed to drive in circles forever. We tried to turn the robot to a correct alignment by driving with the main treads a little, but the change in center of gravity was too dramatic. The robot quickly veered into Evan, who was sitting nearby.

    Day 2 of iMake

    Day 2 of iMake By Caitlin, Max, Tycho, and Omar

    Task: Continue presenting at iMake

    Day 1 was a huge success, and we carried that over into the Sunday presentations too. There were a lot of common questions we noticed from Saturday, including levels of robotics competitions and the LEGO EV3 system, and we were able to answer these with more clarity after hearing them so often. A few papers were set up on our table outlining the various FIRST competition levels. These helped us easily reference the multiple acronyms FIRST uses for everything, which can be confusing to anyone who hasn't known and competed under them since they were 11 years old.

    Reflections

    Like Saturday, we interacted with what felt like a constant stream of people. Many were families with kids in elementary and middle school with varying experience in robotics. Some kids had competed in FLL or knew those who had, while others hadn't heard of the systems before. The balancing bot "Gyro Boy" was a good attention grabber when the main FTC bot wasn't doing anything, and it was helpful to compare the two, how Gyro Boy used graphical programming and was completely autonomous, while the main bot used a text language but was controlled by a driver. This almost immediately prompted the kids to ask if they could drive, and Omar showed them the ropes. Younger kids were only shown the drive controls, while the older ones could be taught some of the more interesting tape measure commands. Since the hand was still taped onto the cliff hook many took the opportunity to wave to their siblings and gave high fives to anyone near. However, the robot seemed to be disconnecting more often than it had Saturday, and was hidden to the side so it wouldn't be asked about.

    When we brought out Argos, the color following robot, it seemed like every other volunteer took a minute or two to pick up the target and watch the camera follow the movements. Tycho, Max, and Omar traded off on the controls and occasionally let Argos drive too, in order to show how he could back up when too close, and catch up when lagging. It had taken us the beginning of the day to fix the phone mount, but the extra effort was definitely worth it. However unwieldy Argos may be (he is definitely suited to outdoor/large open area events) he is definitely a crowd pleaser.

    Dallas City of Learning

    Dallas City of Learning By Ethan, Evan, Jayesh, Omar, Caitlin, Max, and Tycho

    Task: Teaching children how to use robots

    On 18 June, we went to the J. Erik Jonsson Library to inspire children to hopefully go into STEM-related careers. We were invited for their annual City of Learning event. We talked to about 200 people about robotics and most loved it - especially children. We showed them Minion, Argos, the ball-flipper, and Geb (the new name for our FTC bot).

    We presented alongside a kids' robotics sponsor and Polyprinter.

    Reflections

    We got a good amount of people and got a good amount of kids interested in our robots. It was fun to talk with the other vendors at the fair, interested parents, and hobbyists.

    Turn Up! at Frontiers of Flight with DCOL

    Turn Up! at Frontiers of Flight with DCOL By Janavi, Darshan, Jayesh, Caitlin, Max, Tycho, Omar, and Austin

    Inspiring 1,000 People to Turn Up with STEM

    Written by Janavi Chadha

    The Dallas City of Learning Organization held a Turn Up event at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, where we staffed the Mobile XPerience (MXP) complete with laptops, 3D printers, and LEGO SumoBots. Outside the vehicle, Caitlin and I taught kids how to create 3D models of houses using SketchUp. Then we let the kids bring their designs to life by designing and 3D-Printing keychains.

    On board Max managed the bank of four 3D printers while Tycho and Austin taught kids to build virtual structures on our Minecraft server with the education version of the software.

    Out to the side of the MXP, we set up a ring for the sumo lego robots to battle in, teaching the kids how robots can be programmed to react to the world around them. Jayesh, Omar and Darshan manned that station and also demonstrated our FTC competition robot.

    Omar ran minion (our robot walking companion) around the museum Pied-Piper fashion, leading kids back to our activity stations in and around the vehicle. On the way he taught kids to operate the robot with its touch and rotation sensor based leash. At one point he took minion over to challenge the airport's 700lb bomb disposal robot. That robot was not impressed.

    A few more pics of the MXP in the museum while we are striking the exhibit:

    Person-hours note: The night before Max and Tycho spent 5 hours getting the vehicle ready.

    Mobile Learning Lab in Action

    Mobile Learning Lab in Action By Caitlin, Max, and Tycho

    Task: Deploy the Mobile Learning Lab to camps and teach kids

    The RV has been fully remodeled and set up with netbooks and 3D printers, so we have been making the rounds and teaching at camps and events. We try to limit the number of kids on board to under 15 or 12 for safety reasons. It'd be nearly impossible to fit more kids and be able to effectively teach.

    Reflections

    When we first drove up to one deployment of the RV there were a lot of kids staring, because honestly who wouldn't; the RV is huge and bright. We couldn't set up fast enough before people wanted to come inside. We split the group into modelling and robotics and got started. In the back, robotics kits were scattered on the floor, and groups of two or three were following a video to build a 5 minute bot (it generally took them longer though). When the bots were built we had a crash course in the EV3 programming environment and helped them think analytically about how they wanted the robots to behave when on different sections of the sumo. We didn't give them a program to use, they told us what to put. The result? An exciting free for all complete with screaming cheers and flipping of bots (video above).

    Max and I led the modelling with the basic "build a house" tutorial below. After they got the hang of that we set the software sizing up so they could make a keychain and print it. Some people got really into their house and ended up emailing the file to themselves to continue later.

    Centurion's Helm of +2 Swankiness

    Centurion's Helm of +2 Swankiness By Max

    Task: Make some Roman helmets for the team

    We’re following a Roman theme this year, but nobody’s gonna know it if we don’t look the part. So, we decided it was time to make some Roman soldier style helmets. The most Roman helmets cover the top of the head with the body of the helm, with two additional plates on hinges that cover the cheeks, a protrusion at the back similar to the bill of a ball cap to protect the back of the neck, and of course the iconic curved crest, which would point forwards on the common soldier’s helmet (if the soldier could afford it) or from side to side on the helmet of a centurion (the best soldier of in a group of 100). While it would be nice to mimic the helmet entirely, we don’t have the time or the funds to do that ourselves, and instead opted for a more homespun version.

    Our helmets each consist of a construction helmet, the sawn-off head of a broom, and a single screw holding the two together. It’s simple, but it’s cheap, easy, and definitely gets the job done.

    Reflections

    The helmet has most of the features of a Roman helmet already, but it is still missing the hinged cheek guards. We likely won’t add hinged ones because they could be distracting to drivers wearing them and they would take too long to build, but I have a plan to cut stationary ones out of foam board and socket them into a pair of empty slots I noticed on the sides of the helmets. Also, Tycho suggested that, at least for the drive team, we could fit a few helmets with safety glasses mounted on hinges to reduce the chance that the drivers accidentally go to the playing field without their protective wear.

    The Imperator Will See You Now

    The Imperator Will See You Now By Max

    Task: Design a new banner

    For the past year or two, we've brought along a big vertical banner to our competitions to help boost our presence and make it easier for judges, other teams, and even members of our own team to find us in the pits or on the field. But the banner we've been using has become outdated: Since last year, members have come and gone, we've decided on a different visual theme, and, of course, we've built an entirely new robot. The time has come to begin again.

    We plan to use the same banner stand as last time (although we've dyed it red to match the helmets) to conserve materials, so the banner will have the same dimensions as before. Since we have the same amount of canvas to work with, the design will also incorporate the same components as the last version:

    • Team number (in Hindu-Arabic and/or Roman numerals)
    • Team name
    • Picture of the robot
    • Picture(s) of team members
    • Sponsor logos (optional)

    With some spare time between meetings, I made a draft layout for the banner in Microsoft OneNote. The previous version wasn't much more than some pictures we found and a couple text boxes thrown onto a plain white background, so I wanted to make this banner look like more thought and effort had been put into its design than last year's. I decided on a red background with black and gold trim designs to better match the Roman theme we're going for, with the team number and name at the top, the robot's picture in the middle, and a grid of our team members at the base. To make it all fit together more smoothly, I also planned to get a green-screened picture of the robot and to make individual charicatures instead of pictures for each team member. See if you can determine who's who in the team pictures on the draft version.

    (there's a picture of it here kbye)

    At the next meet, the team decided that the layout was good to go, so I got to work making a neater version in Adobe Illustrator. With the design complete, you can see how the complete banner looks in Adobe Illustrator below. It'll take a special printer to make it in the correct size, and we'll have to wait a little longer to get access to it, but all in all it should be smooth sailing from now on.

    (aw dayum that's a bootyful banner if i do say so myself)

    Reflections

    The choice to use charicatures of the team members this year on the banner as opposed to a team photo (like we used last year) was one of the most impactful decisions to be made about the subject, but I think that it was the right judgement. Hopefully this can play at least a small part in establishing our presence among the many teams that we will encounter in regionals (and perhaps beyond), but only time will tell how effective the banner can be in competition.

    I Am Become Aquila, Destroyer of Worlds

    I Am Become Aquila, Destroyer of Worlds By Max

    Task: Resurrect the Ancient One

    The Great One, Aqui'la, has slumbered for too long. Since the deity lost Its battle with the accursed Gravitae a year ago, Its physical form has crumbled to pieces, leaving It powerless to bend the world to our will. As the last High Priest and Grand Memer of Its reign, the duty falls to me to return It to Its full power so that It may reign once more. I must do more than rebuild its effigy, however. To ensure It is not defeated by the forces of Physicks once again, the body must be as strong as the mountains, and as inpenetrable as the darkness.

    Time is short; I must work quickly. I have retrieved the bones of the husk which once housed the Great One, and will use the unholy power of the Tri-Dimensional Prynter through which I first summoned it to rebuild the body. The ABS Plastyck, black as night, with which the old bones were once built, shall be the regent with which I will revive It.

    At the stroke of midnight last night, I performed the Ritual of Creo to obtain the designs with which I may summon Aqui'la. With haste, I brought them to the Prynter. As I write these words, the new form takes shape; the barrier between our world and Its wears thin. The Great One draws nearer with each moment. Hark! The Prynter's work has been completed. I go now to piece together the old bones with the new, and conduct Its conciousness into the new form.

    Reflections

    O FORTUNA

    VELUT LUNA

    STATU VARIABILIS

    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:

    Meet me in the pit- Tent and Shields

    Meet me in the pit- Tent and Shields By Austin, Caitlin, Tycho, Omar, Darshan, Jayesh, and Max

    Tent Building

    Since we had the general idea of the shape and size of the actual pit tent, we set out to either build or find a tent that we felt best fit the theme we selected. We chose to start off by trying to build a structure via PVC pipe and a tarp like substance that we could drape over the pipe, we handed off the idea and models to Mr. Virani to have him figure out what PVC requirements we would have to fulfill and the cost to build. While he crunched the numbers a group left the house to see if we could find a suitable material to drape over the structure; Tycho, Mrs. Lux, and I went to a local army surplus store in hopes of finding a parachute like material that we could use, however the only cloth available was a very heavy and expensive canvas that we decided would end up crushing the frame, (we didn’t leave empty handed though since the store had lots of fun items). After returning to the house we had another council with Mr. Virani and decided to consider other options since the PVC and tarp idea required to much effort and too much American currency. Various hardware and surplus store websites later we found a rather unconventional shaped tent used to cover cars that was built in two sections each measuring 8’X9’ at their base, we concluded to buy the tent and use the parts to only build one of the sections, and since the pit measures 9’X9’, use the remaining foot of space in the front for table with room for a TV to play various team promoting videos meant to catch a passerby’s eye.

    Shields

    In terms of the shield, the basic form is completed and ready to be upgraded via LED’s and insignias which will hopefully be mounted before competition. Due to the use of recycled parts the shields are cheap, sturdy, easy to build, and most importantly relatively accurate looking. Expanding on how they were made, the core is old floor tiles from a competition field that have be locked together on one face and had the remaining teeth cut off. To provide structural integrity, old black metal broom handles were attached via zip-ties length wise to the back face of the shield bridging the gap between the two halves. Next more zip-ties were used to create a basic handle design to carry the light shield around. We chose a weathered red duct tape to cover the front face of the shield since it had the appearance of old weathered wood and saved us the pain of having to paint the shield, following the red duct tape the outside edges of the shield were gilded with a nice golden duct tape. To finish off the shield I used a drill press to mount some spare tetrix pieces to the inside of an ikea bowl and pushed the extruding tetrix remnants through the shield and zip-tied them together to keep them from coming out. Oddly enough most of the parts I used were sourced from our robotics “warehouse” and are easy to find or cheap to buy, so building one of these shields on your own would be easy. Not only is the shield light, cheap, and recycled it’s also pretty sturdy, once we had one built we were eager to play with it and made this little video for you to enjoy below.

    Dallas Women in STEM

    Dallas Women in STEM By Caitlin, Tycho, Max, Jayesh, Janavi, Omar, and Austin

    Task: Teach LEGO EV3 and 3D modelling to girls

    Teaching Sumobots at #DallasWEST! #omgrobots #mobiletechxperience #dallascityoflearning

    A post shared by Iron Reign Robotics FTC (@team6832) on

    The Yale club of Dallas organized a STEM event for groups of girls in the city. We took the Mobile Tech XPerience out front for 3D modelling and set up 8 EV3s with laptops and a sumo field inside.

    Programming

    We led 6-8 girls at a time through the EV3 environment to make a basic sumo program, going through a tournament, and then a final grand melee at the end of the sessions. A couple had experience with EV3, more with Vex, but this session was a lot of their first experiences with programming and robots. Tycho taught the thought process of the program as we went through the steps and I presented on a projector as he went, sometimes taking over talking when we needed breaks. The port view in the programming environment was a great tool to explain the color sensor's light intensity measurement as we could just ask everyone to plug in their bots and see how the numbers changed with the environment. The session was too short to really let them explore what they could do in the program, but we did give hints that the Power variable was something they could tweak. The girls that took the risks in their program generally found that option and won the round robin.

    Everyone in the room had a bunch of fun, chaperones included. One girl realized that she had a NXT at home, and now that she knew she could do cool stuff with it, she was excited to try it out. A lot of the teachers asked about the competition levels, and we're hopeful that some of the kids will join a FLL team and the 8th graders going to high school will look for a FTC or FRC team.

    Modelling

    For the first deployment in a while all 4 printers worked! We were able to print every single design from the day. A couple of the laptops don't have the correct export to STL option, but we were able to work around it by grabbing a flash drive and bringing the file over to a different one. The groups in each session were pretty small compared to the waves that normally come by in an expo, so we could spend a good amount of time making sure no-one was lost. Some people grabbed the wrong design when they came back, but we've gotten the swing of things and sent text notifications to the teachers pretty quickly. Since we were parked out front the groups passed us on the way out and picked up their keychains.

    Promote Video 2017

    Promote Video 2017 By Max

    Task: Create a video outlining Iron Reign's outreach

    We have had a lot of interest garnered towards the STEM outreach the team has committed to. When we found that FTC encouraged the creation of a video outlining the STEM outreach we had done, we saw it as an opportunity to show others a general overview of our activities. With Max's excellent voiceover, we made a video talking about how long the team's been at it, the various STEM expos/events we do, and how the problem of summer learning loss lead us to making the Mobile Tech Xperience.

    Reflections

    Making a connection and advancing our community has always been a priority with our team. This video helps give us a short summary to show parents and children the benefit of commiting to the STEM field, specifically in robotics. We started because of two parents who decided to start a robotics team with some energetic middle school 7 years back, and look at us now. We want to tell these interested parents and kids about how their dedication can create something special, and we're doing that by using ourselves and FIRST as examples. We plan to spread this video to those looking to get into FIRST, or even those simply interested in what our team does besides build complicated contraptions.

    YouthSpark with Microsoft

    YouthSpark with Microsoft By Caitlin, Jayesh, Ethan, Evan, Charlotte, Omar, Max, Tycho, Austin, Darshan, and Janavi

    Task: Mobile Tech XPerience's appearance at the Meyerson

    The Meyerson Symphony Center hosted a Microsoft YouthSpark event this Saturday with activities from robotics to VR to 3D printing. We set up the sumo laptops up in the atrium and the 3D in the MXP outside, right next to the Perot tech van. The tech van had most of their setup outside with a smaller piece inside, and we worked pretty well in tandem. (I have it on high authority from a random girl that walked in that ours was cooler)

    Reflections

    The groups of kids coming by were spread out so we couldn't teach a group of 8 all at once like in previous experiences. Thankfully we had BigThought volunteers helping out. We couldn't have done it without the 5 of them. Tycho and I ran through the presentation for them at the beginniile we still thought that's what the plan was going to be, so they knew how to teach it after a few more pointers. Out of necessity it was basically one-on-one teaching, but that meant many of the kids got much more into it than they would have in a larger group. I had one mom comment that this was the most focused she had ever seen her daughter, and a couple of boys tweaked their program so much they ended up winning against everyone except each other. This event definitely got a lot of kids really excited about robotics, and we're hoping they'll look into a team or a club at their schools.

    Keychain modeling went smoothly, and we ended up getting all the models printed or printing before leaving, and most given to a parent or kid at the event. We got addresses for the leftover few and are planning on sending them off within a day or two. A group of friends worked on a collaberative house, one doing the rooms, one the design, one the roof. It turned into a massive house when they had to leave, and we made sure to tell the kids and the parents where to find SketchUp if they looked interested. We had a huge number of kids throughout the day and it was a great event and great group of volunteers to teach with.