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Hello, Robolions team members, mentors, friends, and community members! Welcome to "The Fourth Law of Robotics," home to University City High School's FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Team. We hope to use this blog to inform you about what we're up to.
We compete in the FRC (First Robotics Competition), an annual competition where we have six weeks to build a robot from scratch. This year's game is Recycle Rush. We'll post updates here to let you all know what we're up to with building (and competing with) our robot!
We also are now competing in FTC (First Tech Challenge), the next level down from FRC. The game was called Ring It Up!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Kick Off Lock In, 3/4

Welcome to the third blog post from the lock in! It is currently 4am, 18 hours into our 24 hour lock in, and we are all starting to feel the drain. We have all turned to our various vices to keep us awake, some to soda, some to coffee.

We continue to make progress on all fronts, constructing two prototypes and scrapping two others.

The past two hours have been mostly spent in strategic meetings, figuring out what the team can handle in terms of systems over the course of the next few weeks, and working out all potential avenues of scoring. In this meeting, Teams are being assigned, systems are being ruled out, contingency plans are being made, and naps are being taken.

In this discussion, human players are being valued considerably over all other methods of feeding, so we will have to see what comes of that. More on that as it comes.

As we come up on the sunrise, we are starting to run out of steam just as we run out of projects. We have narrowed down the number of prototypes being worked on to two, and we will get each of those to functional capability by the end of the night (morning?).

 Breakfast is steadily approaching, and with it, my last blog post of the meeting. If you have been reading all of these, i truly admire your dedication, and i will see you in another 6 hours! Happy sleeping!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Kick Off Lock In, 2/4

Henry again, reporting from our lock in at the high school, starting off the robotics season with a bang.

12 hours gone, we are halfway through, and making some definite progress. Electronics have been mounted, and we have a drivable base with sample code.

Our prototype teams are also making progress, though fatigue is starting to set it, What was 4 hours earlier an atmosphere of jocularity and humor is now an air of grim determination. There is little talking beyond the occasional request for a particular tool, or an idea of how to do something better.

Dinner has come and passed, Papa Johns Pizza, with a guest appearance by brownies and cupcakes provided by friends of the team. It was quickly devoured.

The main problem we have has so far is the sheer number of new programs that need to be downloaded onto the programming laptop before our programming team can do any coding, but that is being chipped away at piece by piece.

We continue to make progress at a steady pace, and expect to be sure exactly what system we are going to use by the end of the night.

Thats all for now. Next update will be at 4am. Dont miss it.

Kick Off Lock In, 1/4

This morning, the robotics team saw all their preseason work bear fruit, as today is Kickoff. We've been celebrating this great and storied event with a 24 hour build session, in which the goal is to complete the shell of our robot, which will compete in this year's game, Recycle Rush!

Kickoff was lovely, starring the celebrities of FIRST, Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers. We left the building with two large storage totes, a recycling bin, a new battery, and several other odds and ends.

We are currently 6 hours in, and no one is showing fatigue yet. The chassis is near built, the code is coming along, and the two competing build teams are rushing to cobble together prototypes for our manipulation and scoring systems. Blueprints are scrawled across every available writing surface, and everywhere you can see groups of people huddled together, having hushed discussions and drinking soda.

So, in other words, a successful build session.

More updates at 10pm, until then, happy building!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cowtown Throwdown Prep

Henry Braeske, writing to you the Tuesday Blog Update! (Also he just got author permissions so he's very excited about that.

Today at practice, we were making our lists and checking them twice, making sure that we had everything we needed for Cowtown, and when it comes time to pack up, we will be able to be confident we didn't forget anything (knock on wood... or maybe 80/20).

We started off the meeting with some last minute wiring touch ups, then it was off to driver practice for the rest of the meeting. We set up plans for the backup drivers and human players, making sure to thwart muphy's law at every opportunity.

A last minute autonomous mode was decided Against, as the risks were greater than the rewards.

We encountered a slight hiccup in our plans when 2 team members, out of curiousity, launched a basketball from the bowl of our catapult, and managed to break the bowl. We will be able to procure a new bowl before competition, but needless to say this put a kink in our plans. The name of the two responsible are undisclosed, but rest assured, they were freshmen.

Signing off, ill bring you more from cowtown, as it happens.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello World!

Henry here, with the first blog post since February.

We are currently counting down to the Cowtown Throwdown, an off-season event in Kansas City. Christine and Matthew are busting their butts getting the robot in shape, replacing the pneumatic cylinder, restringing the surgical tubing and just tidying up in general. As of this moment, they are in a teleconference with our team captain, Walter Deitzer to resolve some technical issues. Good Luck to them.

The freshman team, led by Clayton Miller, are learning the ropes by building themselves a robot built to compete in Ultimate Ascent. They are currently in the brainstorming and prototyping stage, pitching ideas in a circle around a blank chassis. They have until the week before Thanksgiving to finish the robot. They already have a chassis and a number of ideas, so good luck to them as well.

I hear that soon we will be ordering team hoodies, in order to put on a united front at competitions and to represent around UCity, so stay tuned for that.

We have had good attendance today, and in previous weeks, and today, there was even a Christine sighting! Things are on the up and up.

Thats all for today, im afraid. Next week, i will bring you more updates.

Signing off,
Henry Braeske

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014


This is Captain Walter with the latest updates on the build.

As of today we got the parts, that we sent to Ranken Technical Institute to get welded, back.  These parts include the structure for the catapult we are building, and the front tensioner. They look very good, so, instead of trying to describe their magnificence, I will just post some pictures. 

And there it is. thank you for reading, mmore updates should follow as the season progresses.