The Specialists

Everything that happens within our teams. Program Management, Mechanical, Electrical, Software, CAD, and Scouting


2017 Storm Robot Reveal

The child, the fruit of every Storm member was finally revealed today with uproarious praise. Parents, mentors, and students attended the reveal at Lenape High School’s recital hall to finally see the new robot in action if they haven’t seen so yet. Directors and other people of interest represented their specific components integrated on the robot. The team had people come up and discuss the winch, the gear delivery system, the shooter, etc. Explanations were given of how each component operated and how it would be applied during competitions. If only words can imbue a strong sense of expectation, imagine what a live demonstration can do to raise the hype.

Unfortunately, during last year’s season, the team couldn’t show off every feature of the robot, Hephaestus, but this year was on the complete opposite of the spectrum. Members brought in their wooden constructs of field elements to highlight the abilities of the unnamed bot. The hanging mechanism, shooter, and gear
components were all tested and passed with flying colors. Seriously, everything was functioning and worked very well! The shooter for example, was making it rain and was pretty consistent to boot. The hanger was also extremely effective and carried the robot all the way up to where the touch pad would be. Many members of the team agreed that climbing was imperative and it’s more than satisfying to see the strengths of the students wishes and efforts be put into the hanging mechanism. Gear deployment entered the scene on a good note as well. The mechanism was fairly simple, but it worked some magic and did the job.

This season highlights Storm’s perseverance and the refusal to simply throw in the towel after one mishap. The team continues to push through obstacles and sometimes even demolishes them altogether. “Why,” you might ask? It’s because the team is always optimizing. Each year, Storm improve its engineering process and creates new ways in which to streamline building, award writing, coding, scouting, etc. Please look forward to see the team in action during the first competition at Westtown District, with regards from Storm, clap, clap, whoosh!

Say hello to our new robot, Iris!


Who’s Ready to Drive?

Yesterday, there was a bunch of people sitting in the BAM room. If you know anything about the BAM room, you’ll know that it usually isn’t filled to the brim with such pleasant company. All of these people were taking the driver’s test (the robotics kind) to see if they’re eligible to pilot the robot when competitions roll around. Driving robots is a lot more than just picking up the controller and button smashing X and Y. All would be drivers need to know the ins and outs of the current game like they know the back of their hands. The driver candidates need to recognize and study the field elements and all the rules. Given that the rules are quite lengthy, the people hoping to control the robot must study all of the material at length. The test is an ongoing process through and the “written” section they just took is only the beginning. Best of luck for the candidates and may the best driver win!

There has also been some significant developments on Storm’s online assets, specifically the team’s wiki. Many members of Storm were left without work since the robot is close to completion so they took to the internet and added more content. The wiki isn’t just a BAM thing, it belongs to the entire team. The members who worked on the wiki applied their knowledge of mechanics, software, and electrics to create detailed wiki pages. All of this information will now be accessible to the team as well as the public. Team members can browse the wiki to educate themselves on the inner workings of the team while the public can get a glimpse of how Storm operates.

Storm’s baby shower for the new robot is fast approaching (probably on Saturday) so look out for and make sure to RSVP (okay, you don’t have to). Officially the “baby shower” is the Robot Reveal Day where everything about the bot is presented and even demonstrated to the team members and the parents. Many things to look forward to and most of the fun stuff is happening weeks away. Anticipation really doesn’t cut it when trying to explain the morale of the team. How about trembling in pure glee? ‘Till next time folks!


Say Hello to the New Scouting App!

The Scouting Department is always hard at work every season to develop a new and improved version of the already popular FRC Scouting Radar App. The new app still retains all of its previous functions of allowing users to scout other robotics teams digitally and convert this data to a QR code. The Master App scans this QR code and uploads this data into a spreadsheet for ease of access.  Both apps reduce the hassle and difficulties of recording statistics by hand. The previous app was downloaded about 490 times in eleven different countries. The vision behind the new app is the same as last year’s— to provide other robotics team with a tool to help them stay organized and to streamline their scouting process.

The Scouting Dept. listens to user feedback and addressed the problems found on the previous Scouting App. This year’s app hosts a suite of new improvements that other teams will appreciate. The amount of scrolling on the previous app was a bit cumbersome so the Scouting Dept. has applied a more efficient user interface. Users won’t have to swipe furiously on their phones and tablets to get to where they want. This new interface will improve overall user experience and increase the speed in which scouters gather data on the field. Speaking of speed, the new app runs faster than its predecessor which will also increase scouting efficiency.

Everyone here on Storm hopes that the other FRC teams find the app convenient in all their scouting needs. Good luck to all the teams out there and the blessing of top hats and welder goggles on thee. ‘Till next time!

 

 

 

 

Advantages to Storm’s Scouting App:

  • Contributes to the FRC community
  • Eco-friendly (no paper needed!)
  • Easy to use
  • No wifi needed
  • FREE!!

 


Starting The Race Against Time

Hello guys, happy Saturday! Our first competition is in six weeks, and the clock is ticking!

Currently, the build team is split up in several sections, with each section working on different parts of the robot. A few people are working on the final gear collectors, so that the robot can pick up the gears efficiently to score big points during the game, while others are working on the bumpers of the robots by piecing together colorful, protective pool noodles. Yet some other team members are working on the ball shooters in order to improve the accuracy, so that the robot would be able to score points more consistently during the game.

Meanwhile, the software team is working on the tracking reflective retro tape as well as coders, to enable the robot to steadily drive straight. Afterwards, they will be working on other functions of the robot in order to make it easier to control and to drive in different directions. The scouting software has been fixed to prevent any more crashes from occurring.

The BAM team is on a major time crunch, as the CDR presentations would need to be finished in a week. However, progress has been quite good recently, so it should be no problem to finish everything soon. There’s plenty to work on in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned, and check back later!


The Importance of Organization

I’m going to break the mold of our traditional blog and talk about something that may seem of minimal importance to everyone. Organization. Now, the idea of being organized is a given for any individual and this goes doubly for a robotics team. It makes perfect sense right? There’s building materials, tools, hardware, light bulbs, controllers, and more. We got all this stuff and we need to decide where to throw it- I mean put it. Thankfully, we have a nice, spacious closet to hold all of our equipment. The actual state of the closet is erratic at best, but it is has been reorganized for the Build Season and looks drop-dead gorgeous. I mean, look at the picture! It is imperative that any robotics team has a clean closet in the name of efficiency.  The team needs to be able to find whatever they are looking for in a minute or less. If team members are spending ten minutes trying to find the box of bolts, then the closet needs to be organized.

Now onto the daily activities! Pardon me for my brief tirade. Build team is working on the shooter prototype and they’re trying to compensate for the shooting inconsistency. The shooter is powered via motor and the motor’s speed needs to be manually adjusted (at the moment). The Build Team is trying to make design changes for a workaround. They’re also assembling some new gear boxes that were just taken out of their cozy box. And I almost forgot to mention the gear intake. The members in the metal shop are trying to come with a design to contain and deposit the gear. They are trying to use a piston to stop the gear from sliding out and may use a motor in the design. Scouting software is tackling a bug that won’t be a pleasant surprise if it made it was released to the public.

Thanks for sticking through the slog about organization. You can’t deny though that organization is an important trait for a robotics team though. Otherwise, the team is putting in their fair share of work and awaiting the first big thing that we’ll attend… CDR. Fingers crossed that the team will put on a good show!