Picture This

So I’m in robotics, and yet I don’t really touch the robot. I don’t even really build anything involving the robot. I guess you could say the robot isn’t even part of my job description. You see, I’m a photographer for the team. The only time I deal with the robot is behind the lens or on the editing screen. My main job is to document every single part of the team in an entertaining but informative way. It’s certainly a busy job. Every week me and my photographer buddies make a weekly update video, showing off all of the important things that our team accomplished for that week of build season. Since this is my first year in robotics, I’ve gotten to learn and experiment with different ways of presenting media.
But I am not always sitting in a chair. If something important involving the team is happening, I’m there. My primary goal is to present every little thing our team does, experiences, and accomplishes. To do that, I have to be there before the action even starts. So as you can imagine, I get to run a bit. I love doing it though, as it lets me be creative and view everything from an interesting perspective all the time. Seeing things from an artistic view is one of the best parts of my job. Oh, and I also enjoy the editing.
That’s right, I edit. That’s the final stop before my content gets seen by the internet. Recently, I made a really special intro for our videos. To see it, you’ll have to wait until our robot reveal video later in the season. I promise you, it is pretty cool. The feel of it is a good match for our entire team, and I really enjoyed creating it. Keep an eye out for it and all the photos my team captures. We’re making history here people.

Watch our weekly updates on our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/TeamSCREAMRobotics

-Austin Wood

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Buttons anyone?

We are filled to the brim with our new buttons! We will give these away at competitions to other teams.

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To make our Team SCREAM buttons, we first print out our logo we have made that also includes our team number, 4522. We print many copies and put them in a cutter that was provided.

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We then place the button shell into the pickup die and put our cut-out logo on top. We then place the mylar (the stuff that makes the button shiny) on top. We rotate so the other die is in front of us and then place the pinned back.

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You press the lever down a couple of times and then you have a brand new Team SCREAM button!

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-Nicole Reedy

Girl Power!

I consider myself as a gamer so whenever I do things I am simply ‘upgrading a skill,’ like how you would with an avatar in a game. Robotics, engineering for that matter, is one of those upgrades. I had joined so I could learn a new trick.

The club had caught my attention already when a close friend of mine taught me binary code; something she learned from the coach of the team (who is an engineering teacher at the school). Not until I got the sign-up sheet did I really think about joining. I had grown up with mostly boys, so dealing with them would be nothing new to me. I had been excluded from activities because of my gender, so I suppose the idea of building, wiring, programming, and competing with robots struck me as a perfect opportunity to show that a girl could do just as well, if not better, than a boy.

I thought the members on the team would talk down on me or tell me “Don’t you have Barbies to play with?” or something ignorant like that. Not only has nobody said that, but I have also made friends on this team faster than I have through all my school years.

Being a girl on a team full of guys isn’t all that bad. Actually, it’s pretty fun. A lot of people share the same interests as I do.

Two of our lady team members work on building the robot's bumper

Two of our lady team members work on building the robot’s bumper

I also feel like I can walk up to our coach and say, “Hey, I want to work in the shop today,” and he won’t give me a second glance. He’ll tell me what needs to be done and where to find it. I can literally be treated like a man on this team and no one is concerned I’m a girl. Yet another rewarding factor on being a part of Team SCREAM. 🙂

-Cierra Jennings

Design Struggles

The struggle between different design groups has always been an issue – a minor issue in some instances, but in others, it can be a major setback in the design process. Measurements are key in the design process, and a measurement that is even a tenth, or a hundredth of an inch off can make a big difference.  The team has experienced this multiple times, most recently with our shooter/collector assembly. 

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Re-aligning the mounting for our catapault

Two of our three main design teams were working on a shooting mechanism and a collector mechanism – two separate assemblies.  When it came time to attach the two pieces, things didn’t quite line up the way they had intended. Holes were off, support braces weren’t flush, and it was a little too tall to be effective.  But with a little communication, and in very little time, things were back up to speed and the robot skeleton was coming together. 

Team SCREAM is already having a great build season, and we have all been working very hard.  We’ve learned many useful skills in the first two weeks, and have many more to learn. Thanks to everyone who has helped us, especially our mentors and our sponsors. 

 

-Logan

End of Week 1

            The first week of build season has almost come to an end and Team SCREAM is making good progress. Our strategy and design teams have been hard at work creating a robot that will be able to catch, carry and throw the balls for the Aerial Assist game. During this prototyping stage, we have been using cardboard, rubber bands and LOTS of zip ties. Although it looks a little shoddy right now, our design is coming along quite nicely.

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The drive-train team has designed and cut the new chassis and it’s being assembled as I write this.  On kick-off day, we brainstormed strategies for how our robot will score points throughout the game, and our strategy team then decided what the best course of action would be. During the autonomous period, our robot will score in the high goals; we will try to maximize points by going for the “hot” goals, which will be illuminated when the period starts. We plan on being able to play defense during the tele-op period (the time when we control the robot) and have incorporated mecanum wheels on the drive train to allow the robot to maneuver in any direction.

I’d like to give a quick shout-out to all the Team SCREAM parents and mentors! We’ve had some delicious home-cooked meals so far and we also have many wonderful mentors working with us this year. Thank you all!

-Alex Stewart

2014 Season Begins!

Another year has begun for the FIRST robotics teams as the live announcement was made Saturday, Jan. 4, that announced the 2014 competition challenge!

This year’s game is called Aerial Assist. When the name was first announced, I was concerned that our robots would be flying in the sky to make a goal. Luckily, there is no flying but there is a lot of ‘assist,’ as FIRST Founder Dean Kamen says, “Alliance members are really going to have to work closely on the field.”

Aerial Assist consists of two alliances with three teams on each. Alliances compete by trying to score as many balls in goals as possible in a two minute and 30 second match. Additional points can be earned by robots working together to score goals. Your robot can catch, pick up, pass, and throw a ball to gain some serious points. Also throwing and catching a ball over the truss, a suspended aluminum bar just five feet above the field, will add bonus points to your ball’s total score (if you make the goal).

The animation FIRST presented of gameplay had robots with plungers, kicking feet, and tennis rackets as ways to move the ball across the field. This ball is 25 inches wide, so the robot will have to be able to withstand some damage.

The field is broken down into three zones: red, white, and blue (go America). The white is in the middle, where autonomous starts, and where the truss is located. The red and blue is for the corresponding alliance. All these zones are important because they are carefully monitored when doing assists.

Autonomous mode is also fairly different this year. Since the goals are seperated into halves, one goal is called a ‘hot goal’ which is outlined in yellow lights. Every five seconds, the hot goal will change sides. The side the hot goal starts in every match is random, so your robot would have to be able to determine where the hot goal is and shoot accordingly. Making a hot goal is 10 points. Regular goals are five points. Robots can also gain an additional five point mobility bonus if they can move forward into their zone.

Here is the game animation from FIRST:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5zWzICG5to

Good luck teams!

-Nicole Reedy