NY Tech Valley Regional
Mar 31, 2017 8:00 AM:
Apr 10, 2017 7:00 AM:
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History Main | 2000: CO-OPERTITION FIRST | 2001: DIABOLICAL DYNAMICS | 2002: ZONE ZEAL | 2003: STACK ATTACK | 2004: FIRST FRENZY - RAISING THE BAR | 2005: TRIPLE PLAY | 2006: AIM HIGH | 2007: RACK 'N' ROLL | 2008: OVERDRIVE | 2009: LUNACY® | 2010: BREAKAWAY | 2011: LOGOMOTION | 2012: REBOUND Rumble | 2013: ULTIMATE ASCENT | 2014: AERIAL ASSIST | 2015: Recycle Rush | 2016: Stronghold | 2017: Steamworks
2007: RACK ’N’ ROLL
We had another bumper crop of Freshmen this year and after being somewhat overwhelmed at the meetings we
decided to split them into groups to better
rotate them through introductory training sessions in Mechanical, Programming/Control System, Pneumatic,
Electrical, and driving practice. We're giving them a flavor of the different types of technical jobs at the
weekly meetings, so they can find out what interests them the most.
A Car Wash was organized and run by the students with the proceeds going to purchase hand tools. Beautiful weather and dirty cars went together for a profitable event. Tools were reorganized this year to put a stocked toolbox on each of our color coded work benches.
We kicked off with a float in the Homecoming parade. We decided to use our 2005 robot with it's very long arm to wave a couple of team banners. Collin Clifford volunteered his jeep to pull the trailer and we hung the long team banners from it, but his parents drove, since Collin and several others were marching with the band. We followed close behind the band and the Thespians, with more of our teammates, were just behind us. One of our Vice Presidents, Shawn Mooney, was Homecoming King, but he would rather have been marching with us! The little children got candy along the route and Mr. Tiu on his skate board threw candy to some of his students. The Booster Club, courtesy of Mrs. Thornton with sales help from the whole Bixson family, sold chocolate lollipops.
We started the new season with a win at the Deer Park Invitational off-season event on October 14. We hosted a shadow student from Westhampton as a member of our team at the event this year. We brought an extra robot in case enough shadow students appeared to form a complete team, but we didn't have enough. Lots of conflicts with the date this year -- PSATs, football, and the school play rehearsal. Some last minute attrition left us with 8 teams competing, and we were on the field pretty much every match. For each match we played rookie drivers to get them some experience on the field and some were pretty good. Some accidentally shot in goals for the other side - that happens when you forget to turn auto tracking off when playing defense. Every team played in the end by making Finals two alliances of four teams each with one team on a side sitting out each round, then being swapped in for the next match. Like we did for FIRST games a few years ago. The top two seeded teams (#1 Port Washington & #2 Bayshore) picked with Team 1803 Port Washington, selecting the winning alliance of Team 358 Hauppauge, Team 527 Plainedge, and Team 1546 Baldwin to play.
Safe Halloween was a big hit again on October 28. The weather outside was a little stormy, but floods of small children arrived in the high school Commons to play the games, have their face painted, and get oodles and oodles of candy! We partitioned off a corner for the 2004 robot to play catch with the kids, protected by two walls and a row of tables. The littlest ones were helped by their parents to stand on the table and toss poof balls into a bin the robot held in it's claws. The robot edged up to the wee ones to help them get the ball in, but dodged much more actively for the older children. There's still a lot of life in the old girl!
Brunswick Eruption was great fun as always. Targeting didn't work with the NASA version of the green target lights, but every team was in the same boat, comparing notes from match-to-match trying different combinations to make it work. It just gave the human shooters more to do! For us it wasn't a good omen when we started alone on the field against three great teams in our very first match. We finished in dead last place in the rankings, but were still a popular alliance pick. Chosen by the 6th Alliance formed by Cold Fusion Team 1279, Immaculata High School from Somerville, NJ, and joined by Team 1302, Pope John XXIII Regional High School from Sparta, NJ. We took it as far as 3-matches in the semi-finals with tough play by all the teams. Welds were snapping and replaced with zip-ties, but we finally fell after a vigorous defense of our goal and we lost our head :) as the shooter rolled away from it's mount.
We didn't finish empty handed, however, we missed the presentation of a special "Alumni Award Tiki" as we were loading our equipment, but we went up after the Closing ceremonies to thank Team 25 and everyone who made this off-season event so special.
Our annual Oldies Concert ( another double night event this year) was again an outstanding success. We had lots of parent and student help working the concession stand and running the 50/50 raffle. We gave robotics teamshirts to the Nelson brothers and they signed one of our T-shirts in return. The Nelson's have always shown an interest in our robots and what we do.
We held a well-attended Programming Workshop series for all Long Island Teams through the Fall: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and a KOP Special a week after kickoff to go over anything new teams have to handle in 2007. Members of ten to twelve Long Island teams attended averageing a little more than 30 people per session. It was less a workshop and more of a survey of programming, sensors, techniques, code and demonstrations using a half dozen Vex robot platforms. If we can acquire enough basic Vex robots and laptops we'd like to try a real workshop approach with programmers having to accomplish a series of autonomous challenges. Something approaching a one-day robotics camp run by a group of experienced programmers from all local teams. Maybe next year...
We prototyped a 6-wheel drivetrain using 4" AndyMark wheels and a custom U-channel mount. It still seemed comperable to our 2005 one-speed drivetrain in pushing contests and it drained the battery quite quickly, especially in turns. We experimented with different slicknesses of the outer wheels and that increased our turning speed. We tried 4-wheel drive with the wheels closer together and that turned much better using the standard roughtop tread on all wheels. The 6-wheel drive pulled with about 180 lbs of force on standard carpet.
Public Broadcasting channel 21 WLIW filmed team student and mentor interviews with Lisa Jandovitz for a special WLIW 21/WNET 13 Learning Curve Program - Celebration of Teaching and Learning broadcast March 20 & 24, 2007. SBPLI has the episode online at: SBPLI - PBS Broadcast
This year was somewhat of a reaction to last year's "refrigerator box." We designed and built a custom drive base (4wd, AM Shifters & KOP wheels, wheel locks, push-down pads), an arm turret, multi-joint arm, pneumatic gripper, w/sonic sensors. It was highly machined with the help of Fonar, East-West Industries, and our friends from Bayshore and Miller Place. We used the most motors we ever have. We had a few very late nights the week before robot shipment, but the last evening was a little anti-climactic and we were out by 10:30. Very unusual for us.
Our drive team selection was hampered by the lack of a working competition robot. We settled on a base driver, Dan Moore, and the Coach, Chris Citro, but the arm driver had to wait for potential drivers to tryout during the practice rounds at our first regional, where the arm gearbox failed and our second regional where the arm worked well. The Advisors and already selected drive team members discussed and selected Greg Bixson as the most promising arm driver. We never want to select drivers this way again. It took us back to the days when multiple people drove throughout the competition and the drive team never ended up with the experience to match other teams. The driver team finally got enough experience to take home a silver medal at the end of our second regional though.
At the Connecticut Regional in Hartford we had many problems with the shoulder gearbox of our multi-joint arm. We were in next to last place at the end of the Friday Qualifiers. Our worst finish ever, but the team spirit remained very high. Hartford was snowed in on Friday and the shuttle to/from dinner turned into quite the party bus with Cesar the driver flashing the interior lights and playing back techno music from one of the students cell phones over the bus loadspeaker. We were not chosen for Finals, but we had worked out most of our mechanical problems, so we took advantage of the practice field to make the robot ready for SBPLI. Autonomous this year ended up simply backing out of the home zone and unfolding the arm (careful to stay within the 72" maximum size box) to position for human operation.
For SBPLI we built a robot cart for Team 234, Cyber Blue, visiting from Indiana. The team really got into it and even painted on their logo. The SBPLI Long Island Regional brought us a few more problems. We discovered our OI had a bad joystick port after frantically replacing, rechecking, relocating our wiring and connections for our OI switch box. Swapping a drive stick to the bad port proved none of the four analog inputs would send values less than half. Swapping out the OI for a loaner solved all the problems we'd been seeing.
We finished low in the standings, but were still popular as the 2nd team picked. Team 1203 chose us and Team 1688 to form the 2nd Alliance. Our alliance went undefeated through the Quarterfinals and Semifinals until taking the Silver Finalist trophy.
We were also voted the Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship Award (again) for our work with and for other teams. Mr. McLeod received a plaque from SBPLI for running workshops and generally helping out teams, but most importantly, Mr. Schuler was awarded Volunteer of the Year along with Paul Controne!
The Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award is presented at each regional to a volunteer who consistently excels in his or her efforts with proven results in the following areas:
- Impact to his/her state, town, or region, by incorporating FIRST programs and actively supporting FIRSTŐs mission to design accessible, innovative programs that build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering.
- Leadership stature established through example and involvement with the FIRST organization; a personal and professional resource, advocate and mentor to his/her peers, affiliates, participants, volunteers, communities and FIRST supporters.
- Personal Commitment consistently displayed through selfless contributions of personal funds, time and energy. Motivation source is one of benefiting others as opposed to personal or professional gain.
- Community involvement has resulted in positive community relations for the FIRST organization and its affiliates as well as an established long-term commitment to the FIRST mission through partnership development representing schools, universities, corporations, other non-profit groups, civic organizations, educators, professionals, parents, volunteers, civic leaders and community members.
- Historical Contributions support the FIRST mission through length of service, commitment to program incentives, participants and supporters over an extended period of time.
At Championships in Atlanta we played on Newton for the first time placing 33rd with a 4-3-0 record, but weren't selected to play in the elimination rounds. We played well and had zero repair/maintenance issues to deal with. No Long Island team was selected in any Division for elimination alliances. The team stayed again at the Westin. The elevators were as inefficient as we remembered. We gathered in the lobby extra early each morning in order to avoid rush hour. Travel went very smoothly and we ran into teams all over the Atlanta airport and on the Marta heading downtown. We ate at Dorango's, a Chinese Buffet near the hotel, and at the Team Social. The Team Social was moved indoors to the Convention Center due to bad weather rolling in late Saturday.
Of special note was Rich Solaski's life saving rescue of a student from another robotics team who Rich spotted and pulled on the bottom of the hotel pool. Rich was honored by everyone from the hotel management to the Board of Education.
- Deer Park Invitational
- Safe Halloween
- Brunswick Eruption
- Oldies Concert Fundraiser
- Pre-season Prototyping
- The Build Season
- UTC Connecticut Regional
- SBPLI Regional
- The Championship
- Post-season (dinner & Board of Ed)
General Season Videos
SBPLI Finals Videos
NJ Regional Visit
2007 Schedule of Events
2007 KOP Vendor links
SBPLI Chairman's Interview Feedback
Team 358 Code (Atlanta Final)
2007 Work Files