On Saturday morning our team met up in the LGI room at the McKenzie Center of Innovation and Technology. Our entire team and the rest of FIRST Robotics were eager to see the release of this year’s game. Then the video came on the stream; our eyes were wide with excitement. The reveal of this years game was here: FIRST Steamworks. This year’s game (with no surprise) has to do with the theme of Steampunk. Your robot has to get fuel (balls that are kind of like large wiffel balls) inside a boiler to power your Airship, deliver gears to the airship, where a Human Player helps make the rotors turn for the Airship to lift off! At the end of the match, robots can use ropes to lift themselves off the group for bonus points. It sounds simply, but in reality it’s not.
During the stream some great quotes were said by great people. A few Examples : “You need to study learning…thinking about your own thinking is one of the ways you can separate emotional & rational process.” -Dr. Flowers, “What’s so unbelievable is that this is believable. Whatever is in your imagination can become a reality.” – Dean Kamen, and our personal favorite, “Don’t be afraid to be a punk...” We see what you did there Dean Kamen.
After the stream, our team immediately started to study the manual. Our Kickoff strategy: know the rules first, then develop possible game strategy. No talking about robot design. We didn’t go without a fuel break though! The mixture of pizza and thinking is always the best way to brainstorm.
While going through the manual, one of our Student Captains walked us through the field layout. Soon after, we broke up into little groups to each develop our own game strategy. Our team brainstormed many ideal strategies for this year’s game, but to prove which one was the best was a tough one. Each of the small groups had to compete against each other in the STEAMWORKS HUMAN SIMULATION! This simulation let our small groups try out each of their strategies to see which one was effective. It seemed like most of them were very effective. Off to a good start! After discussing in the small groups, we all came together to talk about prioritizing our robot strategy for this years game. Even better is that FIRST Robotics chose a neon game piece…clearly our team image is inspiring.
All in all, we seem to have a excellent team this year, and we are very excited to see what we can design for this year’s robot, and can’t wait to compete. We couldn’t ask for a better team, student captains, or mentors.
You don’t have to be good at building robots to be on a robotics team. There are a variety of people that make up any team. There are the programmers, the mechanically inclined, the ones who love to document, and the mentors. The members on the team are a diverse group of people. We have a good ethnic diversity and quite a few females on the team. We try to include the females in the machining and building aspects (hard skills) and the males with the documenting (soft skills).
I joined the team with a small background in engineering and it didn’t take long for me to get acclimated with how things worked in the shop. I have learned how to use a mill and lathe, how to CAD (Computer aided Design), and I’ve improved my time management, communication skills, and leadership skills. I’ve learned a lot from being on the team and I’ve even taught others how to use some of the machinery.
I have made a lot of friends on the team and I have friends that are on other teams. I enjoy being able to go to a competition and learning how other teams design and build their robots, so that I can then implement that knowledge into future robots. I have met amazing people through robotics that I probably would never have met if I hadn’t been on the team.
I have matured and am learning real world skills that I can implement into almost any job. Going to competitions and helping out by volunteering or helping with setup and tear-down, I have built relationships with almost all of the volunteers. I have shown that I am hard-working and always ready to help if I’m needed. Some of the volunteers work for a company called AndyMark Inc, and they’ve seen how much I love robotics and how hard-working I am. They’ve expressed interest in hiring me after I graduate from high school.
So there are a lot of opportunities and things you can learn and accomplish from being in robotics. You don’t have know anything about building robots before joining a team, you just have to be willing to learn and work with others. There are so many hard and soft skills you will get that will help you all throughout your life. I would recommend that you at least go and try it out and see if it’s for you. I can say that it’s not for everyone and it can be hard at times but you can always find someone that is willing to help with whatever problems you might have. Being in robotics is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and it could also be great for you.
– Alexis H.
Our blog is now working, which is a great improvement, since it took me over an hour to complete. The calendar is under maintenance, but enjoy our new website guys and gals!
Every year on October 24th the team hosts a picnic at McKenzie Career Center, and every year it’s just as much fun as the last one. On our “Kil-A-Bytes Day” picnic we cook hot dogs, roast marshmallows, and just have fun around a bonfire. This builds stronger friendships between the students and mentors to strengthen our team.
We are currently overhauling our entire website. Please be patient as new students are learning how to use WordPress and overall website designing.