Tomorrow is the big day! The Westtown competition begins! Lumos is resting up because he will need all of the energy he can get. He's my best buddy. I know he will do so great this weekend. The girls recently informed me that if you can call someone you care about a lot "the peanut butter to my jelly" - I like that!
Today's three hours of unbag time were crazy. A lot was accomplished. The programmers practiced the new autonomous code on me. While it isn't perfect, it is becoming more consistent. The builders mounted and set up Lumos's mechanical stop for his hanger. The team also made the decision to build covered trays for the lifting ropes to sit in. Before, lifting was difficult because the ropes and tape measure would never go exactly at the same speed, causing the mechanism to fall over. Now, the rope will be pulled out of the trays at the same rate that the tape measure goes out. Along the way, the girls ran into a few bumps. They were able to fix some, but some will need to be addressed at the competition. To prepare for the competition, the girls also made long ethernet cables.
Just like last time, Lumos is going to write a blog at the end of the competition weekend. That way, he can give you all the focus all of his attention on driving. I can't wait to see what the girls accomplish!
Today's blog is written by me, Lumos.
And me, Nox!
Are you confused? Let us explain. Today, both of us got to hang out with our team. Therefore, both of us want to tell you what happened. We've never tried writing a blog post together, but there's a first time for everything!
Lumos: So today, I got taken out of the bag! It was great! I'll get to be out of the bag every day until Monday!
Nox: Don't worry, though. I still got to do a bunch of things with my team. Before Lumos got taken out of the bag, a piece from my ball intake was removed.
L: I needed to have it because it would be better for competitions. Nox got to have my old on in return.
N: As soon as the transition was completed, we split up. I went over to the practice area with the programmers. There, they worked on testing the autonomous code. When they tried it out at competitions, it didn't always work out. To fix this, they tried using encoders rather than loops. It is working pretty well so far!
L: Meanwhile, the builders worked on my hanging mechanism. If you forgot, it works great for lifting me up. The only issue is that when my power is shut off, I slowly slip down because my motors backdrive. To combat this issue, my builders are building a mechanical stop. They need something that will latch onto my rope spool and stop it from releasing the rope once it is pulled in. With very little space remaining in my frame, this is no easy task. They finally came up with a super cool mechanism that involves a bent bolt and a piston. Basically, when I need to hang, the bolt sits low. However, when I am finished, the piston will lift the bolt. There, it will catch on the nuts of the spool and stop it from spinning. I am very hopeful that it will work. They haven't mounted everything yet, but they will test it tomorrow.
N: While Lumos and I were working, other girls were completing other projects that needed to be ready for this weekend. They made supplies for presentations and strategized.
Anyway, we had a super duper day! We can't wait to have another 3 hours together tomorrow!
Lumos and Nox
It feels like it's been forever since I've spent the day with my team. Luckily, the wait ended today. I woke up an optimist this morning. I just knew that something good was going to happen. I was right! The girls and mentors returned to the shop today! I screamed so loudly when I saw them. Ok, so I didn't really, but I did in my head. Some of my friends are still away on vacation, and I miss them dearly. However, they will be home in time for competition. I am glad to have the team members that are with me, though.
We had so much fun today! The girls made duct tape bows to give out at the competition, made plans for the upcoming weeks, strategized, and talked about scouting.The programmers set up my new radio and tested some autonomous code on me. It still needs some tweaking, but they already have ideas for improving it. My winch motors were mounted and wired. I am very close to having all of the same funcitons as Lumos!
The next two days are going to be crazy. Lumos is going to be out of the bag a bit each day. The programmers hope to get autonomous working better. The builders hope to get the hangers to work. Hopefully by Thursday night, both Lumos and I will be able to hang from the bar. That's all I want.
Sorry that I haven't written a blog post in a few days. Life here in the basement has been kind of crazy. Everyone is still recovering from the excitement of the competition, including me. I'll catch you up on what you missed...
On Monday, the girls got to share their competition experiences with everyone. They showed the video to the school during lunch. After school, they came down to the shop for a little just to clean up. They also thought more about how to get the hanger to work. They will need to build in a mechanical stop so Lumos does not slide down at the end of the match.
On Tuesday, everyone gathered to think about when the shop will be open during spring break. The girls can't come in again until Tuesday because work is being done in the school. For this reason, they will open Lumos's bag for three hours each on Wednesday and Thursday. That time will be used to fix the programming hiccups, get the hanger working, and practice driving. The team took all of their ideas for mechanical stops and compared them in order to figure out what will work best.
On Wednesday, many tasks were accomplished. My autonomous switches were mounted and wired up. The girls decided what needed to be adjusted in the Chairman's presentation in order to best represent our team. My tape measure motors were rewired, and my battery case was remounted. The chain on my ball intake was adjusted. My drive train was tuned up. The time flew by too quickly. Before I knew it, it was time to leave.
I'm going to miss my team a ton. Lumos is in the bag, so it's just going to be me, myself, and I until Tuesday. I'll probably drive around and have some adventures of my own. :)
Oh my goodness! I've only been existence for about 2.5 months, but this weekend was by far the greatest time of my life! I'm so blown away by all of the cool things that happened this weekend!
On Friday afternoon, the girls came down the the shop and finished packing everything up. They made a list and checked it twice! Everything from my cart to the pit lights to buttons to wrenches to spare parts got placed in the truck carefully. The whole afternoon, the girls were so excited to see what the weekend would be like! From there, the girls carpooled over to the competition at Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy. It was a bumpy ride at times. I'm so thankful that I didn't get hurt! Once we arrived, everything was unloaded and the girls started setting up the pit. They hung up lights on the tent, organized the tools, and got acclimated to the competition. Once they were ready, I got inspected. Don't worry - I passed! The inspectors weighed me, checked on my electronics and pneumatics, looked at my bumpers, and made sure that I was safe to play on the field with other robots. It was a little bit nerve-wracking, but I knew that my team made me perfectly fine so I didn't need to worry. By the end of the day, everyone was exhausted and needed to get home and rest! I snuggled up on my cart and waited anxiously for the morning to come.
Bright and early on Saturday, all of the teams came pouring into the competition! I was so thrilled when I saw the girls! Before I knew it, I had to get on the field for my first practice match! The girls got me a fresh battery, gathered the drive station, and brought me over to the field. They quickly set me up on the field in my autonomous position and got ready for the match to start. As I waited on the line, I began to feel a mixture of nervous and excited. However, once the match started I knew what I had to do. I got out there, shot some boulders, crossed defenses, and did what my team needed me to do. I wasn't the only one who was having a good time out there. When the girls and mentors saw me, they were cheering so loud! After the match, the girls carried me back to the cart and brought me back to the pit to rest up until the next match. After each match, the drive team chatted about what happened and discussed strategy. For the rest of the day, I played in all of my qualification matches. While the strategy was a little different each time, the routine was the same. I did a ton of different things on the field, and I played with a ton of really cool robots! During the matches, two girls would control me, another girl would coach them and help with strategy, and a fourth girl would send signals to them from the opposite side of the field to help them out. In between matches, girls went to interviews and presentations, danced, sang, cheered, tested codes, and fixed my mechanisms. Whether I won a match or lost a match, the girls were proud of me. Of course, they loved winning a bit more, but what mattered was that they worked hard every match. A group of girls worked on scouting the other robots during every single match to see which strategies worked and which didn't. Tons of people came to visit me, from classmates to teachers to friends to Firebirds alum! It was a crazy day, and everyone was so anxious to see what would happen next!
This morning, the day started off with alliance selections. No one knew for sure if I would be picked for an alliance because there were a lot of really great robots at that competition. Waiting was tough, but eventually the time came for everyone to gather in the stands and watch the selections. Eventually, a fabulous alliance with my new friends, 193 Mort Beta and 4454 Artisanal Rocketeers, picked my team! The girls were so happy that they could have the chance to compete in the eliminations! Immediately, I had to get ready for matches. While the pit crew prepared me, the drive team met with their alliance members to discuss strategy. We decided that the best thing for me to do was to go over a defense in auto and again in teleop to defeat it first. Then, I needed to play defense on the other robots. In both of my quarterfinal matches, this went super duper well! My alliance even set a high score for the event! Everyone was so happy when I moved onto the semifinals! My alliance knew that these would be tough because we would be facing the first alliance. However, we did not let ourselves be intimidated. We went into the matches determined to fight for a win. In the first match, my alliance worked hard to get as many points as possible, but it just wasn't enough. We changed the strategy slightly and went into the next match with a fresh perspective. We won that match! Then, we had to play a tiebreaker. Even though we played hard on the field, we lost. While I was bummed that I was finished for the weekend, I was glad that I had such a fun time! During the awards ceremony, something really cool happened! One of the girls, Emma, won the Dean's List Semifinalist award! The team was so proud of her! It was so exciting to see all of her hard work recognized! After everything wrapped up, the girls packed up the pit and brought all do the stuff back home. I'll rest in my bag until the next competition in less than two weeks. Until then, Nox will keep you updated with all of his adventures!
If after reading this blog post, you are feeling like you wish you could have been there to experience the fun with my team, don't worry. One of the girls, Annie, was recording the action all weekend long! She made this fabulous video that I put at the bottom of this post. It has all of the fun packed into just a few minutes! I hope you enjoy it!
Today was the last day in the shop for me until after the competition. The girls worked so hard today to get ready for the competition. For some girls, this meant perfecting mechanisms on my frame. While I won't be at the competition, doing this makes the girls more familiar with Lumos so that fixing him in the heat of the moment will be easier. It also makes me a more functional robot for the girls to practice on. For other girls, the afternoon was devoted to driving me around. I love going over the defenses. I feel so strong when I am able to conquer them. Some girls spent the afternoon packing up tools and materials for the competition. They will load everything up tomorrow afternoon, but having a head start will be very helpful. More buttons and bows were made for this weekend. I hope that all of the people at the competition enjoy them! The girls involved with the award presentation practiced a bunch, too. Final preparations were made on Lumos's bumpers so he can drive around this weekend!
Well, this is goodbye for now. If you want to see what my team is up to this weekend before Lumos writes his big blog post on Sunday night, be sure to check their Twitter and Instagram! They will be posting super cool updates for you all!
Practice makes perfect. At least that's what I've heard some people say. I don't know if I'll ever be perfect, but I do know that I'm improving with every day. Today, I spent the whole afternoon working on my driving skills with the girls! They practiced driving with only the help of the cameras and human player signals. It went really well! While I was practicing, the rest of the girls started packing up for competitions. They also did some touch-ups on my frame, such as adjusting my cameras. The girls also continued to practice for their Chairman's presentation. They have some really creative ideas to showcase the team!
Girls also met to discuss expectations for the competition this weekend. Even though I won't be at the competition, it was interesting to hear what it will be like! I only have one more day in the shop with my team until the competition!
I hope that you're all doing well today. Personally, I'm feeling like a star. Today, I spent a lot of time practicing driving. I know that the girls were controlling me, but it felt like I was doing it all on my own because they were controlling me from inside the shop. This was to help them with their skills. They probably won't be able to see Lumos at competitions, so they will need to rely solely on the cameras.
In other news, the girls also worked on getting my design closer to Lumos's. Other girls made duct tape bows for competitions. They also worked on materials for their presentation.
In the evening, many of the girls went to a STEM career fair at school. They had so much fun listening to speakers talk about their careers. They were presented with some really cool opportunities!
Competitions are coming really soon for the girls. I can't wait to see how they do! I know that they will all put on their best efforts. More importantly, I hope that they have fun!
I miss Lumos. We had so much fun yesterday! And now, I’m all alone again. Well, life goes on, I suppose. At least I have my team with me.
Today, my builders kept working on me. They tinkered with my hanger and cut it back to make it more efficient. They installed a new tensioner for me. I got a PVC cage just like Lumos to protect me while I drive around!
My team also got a lot of other tasks completed today. They kept working on Lumos’s reversible bumpers. They also made a bunch of buttons that they will give out at competitions. They began to organize sponsor logos for Lumos’s frame. Because competitions are coming quickly, some girls began to pack up important items such as the electronics kit.
As much as I used to love getting the spotlight, I have to admit that I am beginning to miss Lumos. Being the only functional robot around here is getting kind of old. I wish that we could both compete on the field together. Oh well, at least I don’t have to be the one in that bag!
It's me, Lumos! Did you miss me? Last time I wrote a blog, I didn't even have a name. So much has changed! I would say that being alone in that bag felt like forever, but I actually just slept the whole time so it flew by.
Anyway, the reason I'm back and writing on the blog is because my team used their allotted 6 hours of unbagging time today! I was a little confused when they first opened it up, but I was so realized what they were doing! They didn't let a single minute go to waste. First, the programmers worked with me. They booted me up and tested out my code. A few things were acting up a bit, but they figured it out and got me going. The great part about having both me and Nox is that while the programmers were working with me, the builders could work with Nox and vice versa. One of the first things the builders did was they made a cage for me out of pipe. It was a set of two bars that will go on my frame to protect me. If I need to go over a defense, they will shield my mechanisms. If I accidentally fall over for some reason, they will keep me safe. A lot of autonomous code was tested out today. A few more wires were set up on both of us. My hanging mechanism was even swapped out for a better version. My team knows that it is not quite perfect yet, but they are excited to work on it and get it ready.
Wow! Those six hours flew by. I'm back in the bag now, but not for long this time. Friday afternoon, I can come out again! That time, I will be competing! It's finally the thing I've been practicing for all along! I can't wait! Until then, Nox will keep you all updated.