Friday, January 15, 2016

FIRST Robotics - Progress Report One

The long awaited "Big Reveal" for the 2016 FIRST robotics challenge was last Saturday.  Here is the video:

Wow.  Even by the high standards of the FIRST program this is a lot for a bunch of high school students to pull off in six short weeks.

But our rookie team is digging in and working on it.

We work in a really great space provided by a local business.  They roll this industrial robot out with a forklift to serve as our "Welcome" sign!

Our first session had a lot of unpacking and inventory to handle.  A couple of sessions later we were still identifying random important things left in the bottom of boxes...

Although it goes well we have naturally had some setbacks.  Having our electronics all roughed in and ready to test we discovered that our software needed to be updated.  Hey, where is that memory stick?  At the bottom of a box of course.  I like the hand gesturing here...."well, it should be ready....soon".

We split the team up onto various table tops.  Mechanical work at the far tables, wiring  to the left. The software guys hide in the back of the room.

Heck, I believe in letting the kids learn the hard way.  Any mistakes that don't involve smoke or hemoglobin are good.  The mechanical group got pretty far into setting up the drive frame before discovering that they had omitted a crucial gear deep in the mechanism.  Good learning.

First year teams are advised to go easy.  Just get something up and running.  Don't mess with much programming.  Don't bother with pneumatics.  I beg to differ.  We tossed out the provided pneumatic components and told one of the team to have at it.  Frankly it looks quite workable to me.  Mountain Dew powered technical learning.  The best kind.

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