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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!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It is bagged and has a name!

The robot(formerly known as Nameless) has been officially named Thor. That is all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shooter is Awesome

Hello all! Sorry for the hiatus- I've been busy with musical rehearsals and other various extra curriculars. Ok, enough about me, to the point:

Alas, today is the last day of build season. The team is bagging up the robot as I am typing. But we really pulled it together this evening and got a lot of work done. Here's a video of our shooter working:

It's awesome.

However, as we were testing the drivers to see who will be our drive team for competition, we ran into a few problems with balls getting stuck under the robot. Yet another thing to fix at competition...

Later! Follow us on facebook!

Captina Grace


It's hard to believe the day is already here, but work on Nameless will cease tonight at 11:00! In that time, we need to get our shooter operational and mounted on the bot, although we plan to take it off and put it on Quorra to test it.

Driving tests are currently being run. These will determine ultimately who drives Nameless at competition, a somewhat coveted position. Candidates include Walter, Mike, Henry, and more. There are actually two driver positions we can cover: the driving of the robot and the operations of the shooter. Both are quite important and we can take only the best of the best for the job.

Dan Land is occupied with sensitivity of the robot's drive train, or "Making it drive in the right direction."

The build team is perfecting our ball sweeper and mounting a sheet of lexan to protect Nameless's electronics (namely, the bridge and the power distribution board).

I'm happy to report our Bill of Materials is complete! At least until the build team puts anything else on the robot, ha ha ha.

We've experienced some conflict over some fairly trivial matters, such as what music we listen to and what we'll eat for dinner. Chinese or pizza? What do you guys say?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tension is Mounting

This was our penultimate build session. Tomorrow, we work until 11:15 P.M. to get our robot together for the competition. Naturally, we're all anxious, but we know this year's robot is going to be great.

Working on the Bill of Materials, we've observed that our drive train alone costs more than Quorra! With all the resources going into Nameless, we know it will perform excellently. Incidentally, we want to save the BoM to our memory stick, but we can't appear to find it. Captain Grace, if you're out there somewhere, do you have any idea where it might be?

Our shooter is finally complete, although not yet mounted on our robot, and it works well. Here's a video of it in action, although I don't know how to embed it - there's more work for Captain Grace.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Member!

A good friend to several of our members has now joined the team! Since I'm not sure how comfortable he'd be with my tossing his name around, I won't name him, but suffice it to say he knows what he's doing with machinery and is a valuable addition to the team. Huzzah for new members!

Dan Land can't make much progress until we're able to test our programming, and we need a complete robot in order to do that. With only one week left until ship day, we really have to speed things up and get all the pieces assembled!

Work continues (old members, not new members pictured):

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Programming Progress

Our robot has eyes! That is to say, we've mounted our camera on the 2012 robot (whom I'm now calling Nameless until someone comes up with a moniker).

Most of the progress made today has been in Dan Land. We don't yet have the hardware for this, but we now have code for operating the shooter, sweeper, and lifter (plus the hood, which will rotate the angle of the shooter). This is obviously important. There has also been work done on image processing, but it's not currently complete.

The lifter is coming along nicely as well.

Sort of a slow day, but progress is progress. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I'm starting to struggle with finding interesting titles... Anyway, work continues as ever here in the den. Each build session offers its own little challenges, such as getting the robot to move again. (Actually, this is probably not good.) Thankfully, our team has been able to correct all our small problems so far. Our recent achievements follow.

Programming: Dan and Henry have affixed the camera to our new robot (still unnamed - perhaps we could just call it Nameless), and it has begun to feed information from the cRio to the computer.

Publicity: This room is no longer "Theater Storage." Dan has placed tape over the offending sign and it is now the "Robotics Lab." Yay Dan!

Build Team: We've got a lot of objectives we need to work on. All of them are important, but the preeminent task is assembling our final shooter, which is an adapted version of our latest prototype. Another task is to perfect the little piece of machinery that will move the basketballs from our collector on the ground up to the shooter.

Thirdly, Da Rules regulate that all bumpers must be no higher than 10 inches above the ground. However, the frame of Nameless is just over 10 inches above the ground, meaning we can't hang the bumper from there. So we had to figure out a way to mount the bumper below our frame and still keep it securely fastened -- and capable of being taken on/off within 10 minutes! Walter has proposed the idea of using a U bracket beneath the frame.

So we've all got plenty to do here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Balancing Act

Our robot can now balance on the bridge!

New Ball Shooter

Here's our new design for the ball shooter! It's a one-wheel mechanism with a curved piece to help propel the ball. We just need to adjust the angle of projection so that it can shoot high enough to get in the basket.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Baby's First Steps... and Falls

Yesterday we reached two grand milestones in our robot's life: its first power-up and its first drive. Granted, it only went in circles because it was trying to use a tank drive in mecanum wheels. After that, it stopped working. Apparently our 2012 code was built wrong. Dan and Henry tried using Quorra's code, but our robot is currently immobile. Naturally, our programmers are doing everything they can to fix that.

Work elsewhere continues as normal. Walter, Mr. Dodson, Charles, and I have been assembling the shooter, and it's well on its way.

Having checked Chief Delphi's forums extensively, Walter reports that we're not actually too far behind other teams and, shockingly, some are indeed behind us on building progress! This is due to various delays in having custom frames cut by their expensive sponsors. This is why our system of building everything ourselves is superior! :P Okay, maybe we're a bit jealous of those resources, but not of those setbacks.