Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Central Texas FLL Tournament

The state competition was very exciting. Out of sixty registered teams, fifty-six of them showed up. It was pretty nerve-wracking seeing the other teams. They were all pretty good. We saw a lot of interesting robotic ideas and designs. There were so many things that we could have done but we just didn't think of. I did get a few ideas though. We were all really proud of BURT. Although the day before the competition we had two awesome runs with BURT (305 and 310 points), at the competition, the highest score we obtained was 270 points. This was high enough for our team to win 3rd place for Robot Performance.

We did such a good job with our research presentation that we got called back to perform it again in front of more judges and some of the sponsors. Everyone seemed to think we did a great job with it. We were also called to do a teamwork interview. There was a group of judges who asked us questions about the team, and what we had done, and how we worked together. We were awarded very high marks for teamwork, research project, and robot design. Because we got such high marks, we were awarded the second place Champions Award.

We were told that we would have the chance to go to the National Tournament in Ohio, but the Saber Robotics, who got first place Champions Award, chose to go to Nationals instead of Internationals, so we can now participate in the International FLL Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia! Everyone was excited when they heard the news, and all the families are planning on going. We are coming up with several plans for fundraising already, and the team has had a short meeting to decide what we need to work on in order to win a trophy at the International Tournament.

We are going to take a well-deserved rest until the middle of February and then we'll be back at work on BURT. We want to have programs for all 18 missions (right now we have programs for 16 of them). We'll also be working on improving our research project. We know there are ways we can make our project even better! Our coaches want us to do some community service project incorporating our research solution. We're hoping the bio-solid fertilizer doesn't smell too bad!

Here we are before our first robotic head-to-head competition. That's Cheyne, me (Alex), Max (holding our banner -- thanks, Mrs. Murray!), Nic and David.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

December 30

This is Alex. Like the last meeting, I took notes during this one, so I am going to copy those notes down.

We are working on adding the ice core to the collection mission. We have decided not to pick up the drilling rig because our robot is designed wrong. We have made changes to the motorized arm in order to pick up the ice core, and we are coming close to succeeding already. It is difficult, but Max is really getting into it, so I think we will be able to do it.

The robot just picked up the ice core for the first time, bit it's throwing the ice core three feet into the air, which isn't good. It is pretty hysterical though.

We have taken a short break to play some pool. Now, we are going to videotape the robot's flinging act so we can put it on youtube.

We are repeatedly gathering all the items and making it to the ice core, but we aren't always flinging it back to base.

December 28

This is Alex. During the meeting of December 28, I wrote notes throughout the meeting, talking about what we did. Therefore, I am going to copy those notes directly to this blog entry.

This is the FLL meeting of December 28. We're trying to figure out what order to run the programs in order to get maximum points.

We are going to make a modification to the arm with all the axles to make it longer in order to pick up the drilling rig.

Mrs. Kwan has counted all the possible points we can get and has come up with a total of 265 points.

We are considering changing the collection mission so that it also picks up the ice core. We're also trying to decide how to run the collection mission when the arms get in the way.

We have made more changes to the motorized arm, so it now has claws on the end of it and it can detach from the robot if it gets caught on the drilling rig.

We are now changing the arm with the hooks in order to make it lighter and more likely to succeed.

We are working on adding the drilling rig to the collection program. We're getting pretty close but the programming is difficult.

In the last run the motorized arm was at the wrong height, so it couldn't grab the drilling rig.

Those are all the notes that I took during the meeting.