First day of FRC robotics

Today is out first day of the robotics competition.  There is still a lot of work that needs to be done.For starters, the robots drive system needs to be rebuilt.  What happened when we shipped the robot was they were unable to find the right size gears.  Second the intake system needs to be taken apart and have is belts put on.  Finally the bbad needs to be installed (we just finished machining 2 days ago).
Once the mechanical team finished the electrical and programming team get to go to work.  The robot has not even begin to be weired.  Additionally programming team has written a bunch of code hopping that robot will work, but because the robot was “finished” only minutes before we bagged it there was no chance to test.
All in all, if the robot I’d working by the end of Thursday, it is going to require a miracle.

Reflections on FRC world

So this was my first time at FRC world.  It ended up being a lot of fun, and was very enjoyable to be able to interact with other FRC teams, and see a lot of the booths that were from the various suppliers of FRC materials.

First off, congrats to our admin team for winning the entrepreneurship award.  This just shows how much time has gone into this.  Something that winning this award made me realize was that there are hundreds of teams that were at world, and that they were representing thousands of teams.  Just being one of the few special teams that have won an award on the world stage, is a great accomplishment.
Something that did happen at world, was there was a lot of talk with regards to what will happen next year with our team.  We are planning to do a lot of major overhauls to the build side of our team, so that we can produce a quality robot.  There are a few plans floating around right now with regards to the issue, and I think that if we are able to implement some of them that we should be in good shape.

Some of the plans that we came up with that are somewhat interesting.

  1. Build a second robot and practice driving
  2. Start a lot of researched based projects
    1. The first idea is a variable controlled pneumatic system
    2. Kinect integrated into the control system
    3. full on autonomous robot (more just the idea of having the sensor feed back developed)
  3. Build a number of robots during the off-season
  4. Train more members to be able to machine the parts

FRC world 2011

This coming weekend is the FRC 2011 world robotics competition.  After this, the 2011 FRC season will be over.  We are hoping to do decently well, as we feel that our robot can perform, but the question is going to be how it holds up against the other world-class robots.

While this will make the sad end of 2011 FRC, it will also mark the beginning of next cycle for our team when it comes to FRC robotics.  Next year we are already planning to get a lot more training in for everyone on the team.  It should be interesting to see everyone getting trained at all the various parts of the build season.  This should differ greatly from what we had this year with a few main people doing large chucks of the work.

I am hoping that next year will be able to be a lot of fun, as there are some thing that should be different from this year.  The first is being that we (as a team) are wishing to build more practice bots during the off-season.  Our goal is three different drive systems and then articulations to go along with said drive systems.  As the current programming leader, I would also like to see more people getting on the programming side of the robot.  I have big dreams with wanting to see a robot that could drive itself completely autonomously.  I am currently thinking that a xbox kinect could be used as the primary sensor for the system.  When in an indoor condition, the kinect is able to give distance data up to 27 meters away, which would be more than enough for decent robot control.  The kinect also packs a decent resolution camera into it.  The main problem with the kinect is that it is USB, and the cRIO has no interfaces for USB.  So my current plan is to use a pc104 like board with USB and ethernet to interface between the two devices.  This second processing unit could also serve as a video co processor on the robot possibly providing a lot more computational power.

First frc robotics competition of the year

This masks the end of the first frc robotics regional.  There are two sides to this update.  The first being that the robot is working a million times better than when we shipped it, but we still have a long way to go.
We only scored one of the rings on the pegs, this was for a few reasons, the first being that we did not have the arm working till later on Friday, the second was that many of our alliances wanted up to just play defense.
We also received a  big hit in the face when it came to the mini-bot.  We found that the bot was not as fast as we thought it was when compared to other mini bots, but we have a good idea of how to fix it, so it will become a competitive mini-bot by the next regional.

2011 FRC game

So this is the start of the 2011 FRC game.  We are about 4 days into the season right now, and if our team stays on schedule, which it seems that it will, then we should start CADing the robot today.

Being the programming leader of the team, my main responsibilities at this point is to start getting the systems ready, so that when the robot is built it can be quickly programmed, and to also start programming when we start to know the design of the robot.

Seeing that the first task of prepping the system should not end up taking that long, this should give me the chance to help with the mini bot.  Having been concerned for the building of the minibot, and the only leader figure without major responsibility at the present moment/Experience with FTC.  I should be able to start CADing the minibot soon with the rest of the team.  I think that the minibot is going to become less about making one design and being able to stick with it, but after initial CADs, being able to quickly go through design changes, to try and knock a few seconds off the climb and deploy time of the minibot.

In all I think that this is going to be a good season of FRC, the major problem is going to come down to if we are able to get the robot done with enough time so that we can practice driving it.  This is going to end up being a critical portion of our success, along with the time to test and “debug” the system.

Rov regional

Today was the rov regional. I was amazed that we were able to get first place. (Good job everyone) we have a lot more work to get through before the international competion in Hawaii.
We are wanting to rebuild the whole robot before we end up going. Hopefully this next time we can have a better control system to show off. I am really hoping to get the victors to be able to get fine motor cotrol. But I am not sure how well running the motors at half power on the rov will work. As the system seemed to lack a good deal of responseness when working with the switches.

Feeling a little better about rov

I am now (11 pm) leaving Laurns house as we are done for the night with rov. I feel a littler better about the state of the rob as we were able to drive it around today. This was the first time that we have tested in a pool with the control system and not a moment too late with the robotics competition this Saturday.
We are going to need to spend a lot more time working on it as now.
I think one thing to remember is that we blew a 20 amp fuse at 12 volts and used aluminum foil to be able to run the system but it worked

The state of ROV to come

This coming weekend is the ROV competition. I do not feel that our team is remotely ready, we could use another weekend. We have not even tested and the control system is not 100%. The victors (the one part for the control system that I am trying to get from robotics) are not working. I have 5 and I am sure that 2 are broken. I am not sure about the other 3, but we need to get 5 to run the system. And that is without any backup. So if anything breaks we will be screwed.

We are also the first team to go in the day which means that there will be no time at the robotics competition if worst comes to worst and we need to make a change to the system.

I have been really feeling the stress from ROV myself as I am the only one working on the control system and the problems with the victors have been a really hair puller. Along with having the lack of a control system I am also somewhat having to deal with cameras getting put on to the system. Then to top if off, two of the people that do a good deal of the work on the physical ROV will not be able to go. So if anything was to break we are going to then end up in a real mess.

Vex world 2010

This last weekend was the vex robotics world. Our school sent 3 of our best teams. I am happy to say that my team (687D) was our schools best. We were really thinking that we would get in to the finals as we were talking a decent amount to the top eight teams.
I think that in our two other teams (687B & 687K) are fired up for the next year of robotics.
We will be back. We will chose from the top eight. And we will win.

FRC 2010 opening

Yesterday was the opening of the FRC 2010 robotics competition.  The game this year is center around socker for the main purpose of being easy for people that have not study the game (parents and and people that just want to watch) be able to follow it.

I think that one problem with this game is that the rule are a little to limiting and so that there is really one or two types of robots that are really going to work for this competition, and so ever team will have some variation of a theme.

Cams middle school vex competition

Today was the cams vex compition for the middle school teams that wee mentored by the cams robotics team. I would like to say that there were many teams out there (39 teams), and that without these teams we would not have had the great turnout. I would last like to say that being the MC for most of the day was a lot of fun and compaired to last years middle school compition.

Also today we had two cams teams that went to antother compition, from what I hear one team was knocked out in the qualifying round but wine the programming chalange.

Cams Vex Regional

Today my team did a great job at the Cams vex regional.  We were the first place team out.  And the head of the first place alliance.

687D (my team): head of the top alliance and going to world

687B: Second place on alliance and also going to world

569C (I think this is right but do not quote me): Third place of alliance, also won the programming and driving challenge.

687K: won the excellence award and will also be coming to world.

Cams Robotics