Longfellow Science Night

On February 15 we attended the Longfellow Science Night. We attended this event the previous year and were invited back. We brought our robot and the lander to use to make the kids engaged and interested. Once we were all the set up, the kids began pouring in to drive the robot. We made everyone take turns and use the robot. The kids had to pick up two gold minerals and then score them into the lander. Although we were afraid that the kids would break the robot, we had confident in our robust design. As the kids had fun driving the robot, we spoke with the parents about First and how it inspires us to pursue careers in the STEM field. Several parents asked how their child could become involved in First. We informed them that they could try either find an existing First Lego League team or create one.

Emilio allowing a kid to drive the robot while others wait in line.

Longfellow After School Program

On February 14, we went to Longfellow elementary school in hopes of attending their science night. After unfortunately finding out that we came a day early, we were a little bummed out. But as we walked around we noticed that the kids that stayed for their after school program were all intrigued by our robot. We asked the after school counselors if we could show the robot off to the kids and allow them to drive it. They enthusiastically accepted and gathered the kids for a surprises presentation. We gave a presentation on what First Tech Challenge is and how it improves our interest in the STEM field. After answering a few questions, we allowed the kids to drive our robot so they could engage and develop a more profound interest in robotics considering that our robot is practically one big, fun toy.

Emilio explaining the robot to a parent and kids.

Once all the kids were gone, we spoke with the counselors about robotics and how they would like to start a summer program concentrating on the STEM field. We gladly offered our guidance for the summer and recommended that they buy LEGO robotics kits considering their simplicity and how it might set the school up to create an FLL team.

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

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.

Mock Judging

We did mock judging for preparation for real Judging. Before we entered the mock judging, we organized ourselves to speak in a certain order and practiced our lines. Overall the judging went pretty well, but we learned some key lessons. One of these lessons is that we have to include concrete examples in all of our talks.

Takeaways:

  • Stand closer to the judges
  • Give more concrete examples
  • Be prepared!
  • Help other people on our team if they get stuck

iRobot Visit

We went to the IRobot, the company that makes the Roomba, to learn more about design, CADing, software. We got to see hands-on how iRobot makes such amazing and functional robots, and will heed their advice.

For instance, we noticed that IRobot would also use 3d printers for several applications on their robot. After viewing their numerous applications, we reflected on the ways that we would print parts rather than cut them using a laser printer in hopes of saving material.

In addition, they do their programming step by step, in an additive process. These both are things that we can learn from in the future. We are very thankful of this learning opportunity, and will try to carry on some of the techniques that Robot showed us.

Arroyo Vista Elementary School

On January 22, Jonah and Jessica went to Arroyo Vista Elementary School in South Pasadena and represented Suit Bots along with other robotics teams to educate the youth about robotic opportunities. We brought out demo bot and began by setting up three of our team’s poster. Right as we began to drive the robot. Crowds of children gathered, curious and engaged. As we allowed the first child to drive the remote, a line gathered quickly. Some were shy and at first unwilling to drive but eventually they got comfortable and actually had a lot of fun. Kids were jumping around the robot and playing games.

During this time, one of us would accompany the child while the other spoke to the parent. We introduced them to FLL and encouraged them to find out more information on the First website. We arrived around 6 and spent two hours talking to dozens of parents and packed up at 8 after the last robot driver was done.

Judging Presentation Strategy

Today we went over what we have accomplished so far in regards to the awards. We came up with a thesis statement for each award category and several speaking points for each.

Connect

  • JPL and IRobot visits
  • Mr. Feldmen from JPL spoke with us about a design process
  • Mr. Feldmen and Ray Ray came in and reviewed our design
  • Alumni help from Brian
  • Lightgear laser cut some parts

Motivate

  • Plymouth demo
  • Helped local teams with programming
  • Helped clifton with hook
  • Monrovia Days demo
  • Arroyo Science Night demo

Control

  • Tensor flow
  • Controls for dumper attitude
  • Sonar for walls
  • External camera

Design

  • JPL Design process
  • Prototypes
  • Fusion 360
  • Laser cut prorotuping
  • Tabletop review
  • Innovative components

Innovate

  • Wood frame-light/cheap/easy
  • Compliant Wheels-Crater
  • One way latch hook-allows simple drive train, no servos, simple use
  • Coin sorter-fewer servos, simple, fast depositing, score from multiple positions

Taking stock of our accomplishments for the year in terms of FTC awards

Plymouth Outreach Demo

Members: Emilio, Ryan, and Mary Jo

Today we visited Plymouth Elementary here in Monrovia, CA and showed off our Mecanum chassis to the kids. We also allowed many of the kids to drive the robots around so they could see what it’s like and know how enjoyable it is. Crowds of children rushed over when we brought out the robots. Loki, another robots team at Monrovia High School also brought their Mecanum chassis as well. While we had people supervising the children, we explained to the parents the benefits of First and encouraged them to get their kids involved in First. We introduced them to joining First Lego League and going to the First website to find out more information. We also explained that Monrovia middle school and Monrovia high school had great teams that their children could eventually be involved in to learn new things.

Season Goals with New Team Members

Today we discussed the team’s goals for the year, leadership positions and rules. This was the first meeting in which many of the team members were present. We started the meeting with introduction so that everyone could get to know each other. Then we began to deliberate our regulations and objectives for the season.

We re-affirmed that our goals for the year are:

  • Win the Bryson Cup in our league meets
  • Be the Final Boss at the LA Regional Championship
  • Play in the elimination matches at Worlds

We decided upon leadership roles after Mr. Porter described the responsibilities of each. The results are as follow

Captain (Engineering Notebook) – Emilio

The captain is the member of the team who makes very sure that the Engineering Notebook is current and high quality.

Business Lead – Kristoffer

Te business lead coordinates the rest of the team’s efforts to
secure funding. They have final say over whether or not we buy
more parts, over t-shirt purchases, etc.

Mechanical Lead – Chase

The Mechanical Lead makes sure that we remain a CAD-first team.
They own the Fusion 360 model and make sure that everybody, from
time to time, contributes to it.

Programming Lead – Jonah

The Suit Bots expectation is to have a full autonomous ready by meet
zero. The programming lead ensures that our teleop and autonomous
are ready for competition.

Video Lead – Emily

This lead is responsible for our Promote award submission, a video
reveal (or joke reveal video) if we choose to do one, and any other
vlogging the team may choose to do.

Electronics Lead – Andrew

The electronics lead makes sure that the robot is wired properly and
has all of the sensors it needs to run a successful autonomous.

Communications Lead – Jessica

Responsible for the Suit Bots’ web page and social media presence.
Works with the mechanical lead to make sure that any SBKOP components
are available for other teams to download.

Outreach Lead – Outstanding

The outreach lead ensures that we develop and maintain a suitable
schedule of outreach events, of both the learning (Connect) and
teaching (Motivate) variety.

Not only did we establish goals for the team, but also for individual members as well. These included every team member learning how to do a bit of every step in the design and creation of a fully running robot. Subjects like CAD, java programming, and 3-D printing are included. We also set expectations for each of the team members that we would follow either by the deadline or throughout the robotics season.

Goals and expectations for Suitbots and team members.