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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!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Robot is shipped!

The build season is over! After six weeks of work on the robot, the big robot, which is yet to be named, was shipped off last Tuesday. For these weeks until the St. Louis Regional Competition (March 17 - 19 at Chaifetz arena), work is now focused on our minibot Little EVA, which did not have to be shipped. Also on tap: a non-electronic signalling device to communicate which game piece we want, a robot name, and fliers about the competition to put around the high school.

Here's a video of the robot scoring in autonomous mode on our mini-field. I regret that I have no videos of the now-motorized EVA deployment tray, which is really awesome.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ship Date is rapidly approaching...!!

In a week from Tuesday, we will be packing up our robot (who has yet to be given a name) and shipping her via FedEx to the competition. It's hard to believe that it's been nearly 6 weeks already...but everyone on the team has been working diligently and everything is coming together. We've added Sunday sessions to our work week, to get in those few extra hours.

As of now, our robot MAGIC!

Just kidding.

We have a working arm, as you can see in the previous videos and posts. Mike is going to explain to me how it works, and I will try my best to explain it to you here.

It consists of a PVC pipe that is secured to the robot. Inside of the pipe is another smaller PVC pipe, and that is attached with webbing to the bottom. The smaller pipe comes up through the big pipe and connects to a motor. When that motor turns, it pulls the webbing creating a sort of pulley that lifts the inner pipe. It extends upward, and has a horizontal pipe on top that picks up the tube and lifts it onto the pegs.

So far it's been pretty successful! If you want to see more video of our robotic arm, check out our new YouTube channel (which we can no longer access from the school via a wired computer. Nyah.) at: robolions3397. Dan is busy uploading videos right now!

Also, don't forget to become a fan on facebook: UCHS Robolions. Our picture is our awesome mascot.

Shoutout to our amazing mentors and coaches! We couldn't do what we do without your incredible leadership and brains.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 12, 2011: Great Progress!

These last two weeks have been very productive - too productive, in fact, to leave time to post. Most of the progress has been on three areas: the robot's line tracking for autonomous mode, the lifting arm for hanging the tubes on the wall, and Little EVA deployment. And boy do we have some progress. Here's a video from Thursday of the robot tracking the forked line that we've set up on some carpet.

This next video, from a few days ago, shows prototyping work on the lifting arm.

But today, the arm was fully mounted, and we got it to hang tubes on a wall equivalent to that on the competition field. Watch the first tube be hung, with Mike driving:

This is the winch that powers the arm. The grey cylinder, a Fisher-Price motor, is controlled by a Victor motor controller between the braces for the gearbox stand.

The current version of the arm is only able to reach the middle level pegs, but ideas have been floated to extend its range, and about Little EVA deployment. Perhaps some of them will come to fruition tomorrow.