Panel Review

Today we reviewed our panel interview with the JPL Social Media Manager Stephanie Smith. First, we began be stating our one liners that we had previously prepared for the panel interview. After doing so for each award, she would ask us questions regarding each aspect. Examples included Emilio giving the one liner for design and then Stephanie questioning what exactly the design process was. After we explained, she recommended that visuals were quite distracting and told us to explain the process first and then have the focus pulled into the posters. Next, we started to go more into depth about our Connect since it was an award we really wished to try to strengthen. Not only did we pull out concrete events like the table top reviews, iRobot, and plenty others. Stephanie was impressed by how we covered so many aspects of each award and recommended that we had a solid event to tie back to when the judges questioned us. While, the team listed out the examples, our mentor, Mr. Porter wrote them down. (That will be attached below) Among the awards we explicitly listed were Design, Motivate, Connect, Innovate, and Control. Overall, Stephanie helped us greatly narrow down exactly what we wanted to say and helped organize and prepare us for the regional interview.

Panel and One Liner review

Adding lights to our Robot

Today we decided to start the process of adding lights to our robot. We felt that the lights would add both aesthetic effect as well as aid our drivers during tele-op. To boost the effect of the LED’s on our robot, we cut a 1/16 sheet of poly carbonate with one of the protective sheets still on. This sheet is used on top of the bot. The sheet has two features with one being how it refracts the light from the LED’s making the colors more visible in bright lights and the other being how if a mineral fell onto our bot it would slide off rather than being stuck on top. One feature the lights will have are that when there are two minerals in our sorter, a pressure pad in a position where only the second mineral could touch will detect that. The lights will change color when this happens, notifying our driver that we have collected two and that he can now proceed to score them. The second feature the lights will have is that over time the lights will change color to show how close we are to endgame.

PID Controller Conference Call

Today we had a conference call with one of our alumni, Fletcher Porter. Fletcher previously took a class on PID controllers and was happy to spread his knowledge on them. We contacted Fletcher in hopes that he would help us solve our overshooting issue on the arm. Our main issue with the arm is that it keeps traveling past its target position. This issue causes much grief during competition because it makes our driver miscalculate and sometimes even lose the minerals in the sorter.

Jonah writing notes for the PID conference call

Fletcher started off by explaining what PID controllers are. PID stands for Proportional, Integral, Derivative. These are tools the controller uses to compile past (using the integral), present (using the current position proportional to the target), and future (using linear approximation) data to move the arm as precisely as we can. Using a PID controller will negate this issue we have with the arm and improve our performance.

Notes we took during the PID conference call

Scrimmage Matches and Notebook Work

Today, we had a practice match with the other top teams in the league including: Kings and Queens, Golden Gears, Hippie Bots, and Brainstormz. At the beginning of the day, we had to resolve several issues with the robot that were stopping us from being able to score. These issues were all results from the build day last Saturday. One issue was that the hook was pushed to far back thanks to tension-er. Although the easier solution seemed to be simply loosing the tension, we found we were not able to do this because it would result in us being lower than the 4 required inches at the beginning of autonomous. Our solution was to add standoffs to the hook, making them stick out half an inch farther than originally. This actually allowed us to hook on much more easily than before because we no longer have to be flush up against the wall in order to hook on. We also made a few adjustments to the arm and brought it back to its full efficiency.

After making the robot ready for competition, we began to run a few scrimmage runs with the other teams. First, we practiced with the Kings and Queens and scored a total of 35 minerals, a huge milestone for both of us. Next, we played with Brainstormz were we scored a total of 27 minerals. Then, we took on Brainstormz in a one on one twice, scoring 16 minerals but ended up disconnecting in the second run. Once we fixed the problem, we went one v one with Hippie Bots three times. First we scored 16 minerals, then 23 minerals (a personal best), and finally 22 minerals.

Scrimmage robots hanging and ready to go

Jessica and Andrew worked on organizing the notebook and getting all of our sketches to be included. They focused on making many of the initial entrees longer are more detailed because there were many times where we had very superficial explanations.