Photography by Richard VanZetten
As TJ’s Robotics classes compete in the First Tech Challenge (FTC), the club finishes up their robot for the First Robotics Challenge (FRC) Ultimate Ascent.
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Imagine a room full of dedicated students, all working together to create a robot that performs a certain function.
That’s a regular day in one of TJ’s brand new Robotics classes. This class is a new offer, brought to us by the already intriguing and inclusive program, the Center for Communication and Technology Magnet (CCTM). This may be its first year, but Robotics is already shaping up to be the fifth major offered by the CCTM next year. TJ’s CCTM director, Newspaper, Video Intern, and now Robotics teacher Matthew Spampinato spoke highly of this new addition to the CCTM. “When I walked through the doors of Magnus Arena last April, it really changed everything for me,” said Spampinato about his visit to a First Robotics competition last year, which was being coached by fellow teachers Stacey Fornstrom and Matthew Santambrogio.
Robotics students ramp it up for the upcoming 2013 First Tech Challenge.
The TJ Robotics students have been hard at work with final preparations for the Ring it Up! competition, which will take place at Regis University on Saturday, February 23, 2013. TJ has eight teams competing in the challenge.
Now that the teams are finished building and programming, they’re spending their energy trying to recreate the atmosphere of competition by using class time for team scrimmages. Please check out our competing teams and a video of one of our scrimmages below:
2013 FIRST Robotics Challenge Game Announced.
- ULTIMATE ASCENT is played by two competing alliances on a flat, 27 x 54 foot field. Each Alliance consists of three robots, and they compete to score as many discs into their goals as they can during a two (2)-minute and fifteen (15)-second match. The higher the goal in which the disc is scored, the more points the Alliance receives.
- The match begins with a fifteen (15)-second Autonomous Period in which robots operate independently of driver inputs. Discs scored during this period are worth additional points. For the remainder of the match, drivers control robots and try to maximize their alliance score by scoring as many goals as possible.
- The match ends with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field. Each robot earns points based on how high it climbs.
- Click here for all of the details!
Spartan robotics students hit the books as they learn the ins and outs of the upcoming competition.
On Thursday, November 29, 2012, robotics students shifted their focus from the lab to the classroom. Students were given Part I of the official FIRST Tech Challenge Game Manual, which they diligently read and highlighted in preparation for an upcoming quiz.
In addition to success on the quiz, students are motivated by being familiar with all of the details surrounding the competition; they are responsible for knowing the critical rules and possible reasons for penalties.
One critical misstep could result in being disqualified from the contest, and students would hate to have all of their hard work go down the tubes over a technicality.
Students are learning that there are three areas upon which the will be judged in the FIRST Tech competition: Judges’ Interview, Engineering Notebook, Competition Performance.
There is much to learn, but these students are on their way to becoming experts on the ins and outs of the big game!
The “A” Team is first to score points in under two minutes!
For some the challenge seems simple. Those in “the pit” know how hard that first Ring It Up! task can be.
On November 28, 2012, team members Shehab, Tim, David, Tony, Samantha, Avery, and Caden accomplished the first major step in the Ring It Up! FIRST Tech Challenge, which is removing a ring from the dispenser rack and placing it on the center rack.
Check back often to see which team takes it to the next level (literally, as there are three heights on the center posts!).
Louis Ship from Team Anonymous is the first to deploy a Tetrix Ranger Bot to execute the Arm & Gripper Build.
For the TJ STEM Robotics Class it is Go Time. The big idea is to pick something up, move it to another place, and leave it there.
That’s a gross oversimplification of the task at hand with FIRST Tech’s 2012-2013 Ring it Up! Challenge, but solid baby steps will pave the way to moving rings from one post to another in the final competition.
Students are now working fast and furiously – both in and out of class – to design and build robots that will meet the challenge. All final robots – in their final, working form – must fit into a box that is 18″ X 18″ X 18″.
Stay tuned for more videos, as student tackle the FTC Ring It Up! Challenge.
With the arena built and teams formed, TJ Robotics teams are ready to take on Ring It Up!
Eight team leaders have chosen their teams and the race to the FIRST Tech Challenge is on. Last week, team leaders were chosen from both of the robotics classes. Hatim Badri, Shehab Ahmed, Janie Eslinger, Jessica Holmann, Louis Ship, James Kreutter, Colin Suzuki, and Evan Scarborough will all be leading their groups in the race for the FIRST Tech challenge title.
The robotics classes at Thomas Jefferson have begun working with Tetrix robotic kits. Tetrix robots use the NXT controller and sensors, but the motors are more powerful and metal parts are used instead of Lego bricks. Students started by building and programming a basic chassis. They found the robots to be more durable and faster than Lego robots, which brought up a question: “How fast are the Tetrix robots moving?”
In order to answer this question, students were given a challenge: “Using a stopwatch and some sort of measuring device, calculate the speed of your robot.” What were the teams doing to answer the challenge question? Evan Scarborough of The Bleacher Bots team, and Colin Suzuki of the Mechanibals team used a similar approach. As Colin said, “Speed is the distance that an object moves over a certain period of time. So we are going to measure 1 yard, then record how long it takes for the robot to travel the distance. We will then need to convert yards per second to miles per hour.”
A sampling of results found that the Tetrix robots were moving between 1.35 and 2 mph. Teams are already compiling ideas to make their robots faster!
Next up for TJ robotics is to add NXT sensors to the Tetrix robots, then organize new teams and tackle the First Tech “Ring It Up” Challenge.
For the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), TJ Robotics will be choosing team leaders based upon an application process. Four team leaders will be chosen from each class. Students interested in being considered to be a team leader should turn in a written application by Tuesday 10/30/12 (the Tuesday after Fall Break).
After being chosen, team leaders will then have a “draft” to choose members of their team. Each FTC team will have a total of six students. Click the link below to see a Word document with instructions for your application.