Tune the autonomous, Start programming Skills, work on engineering notebook, and work on interviews, work a bit on driver practice
The robot wastes time after pushing first large ball, the human player cannot grab bucky balls for the robot, the bucky balls are scattered on the bump, the engineering notebook is disorganized, and the interview is too long
Tweak the code, determine how to increase organization, determine critical points in interview we need to target
Trim wait times, add longer tabs, analyze and prepare a presentation for the design and create award
Autonomous became accurate enough to knock down 2 bucky balls, Autonomous is faster, engineering notebook is a bit more organized with better tabs, interviews are more focused on awards
Today, we focused on autonomous and interviews. At the start of the meeting, Max, our driver drove the robot and practiced large ball manipulation, stashing, de-scoring, and tested experimental techniques in an hour of driver practice. By the end of practice, he could stash the column goals in under 15 seconds, de-score 2 large balls in 5, and de-score a stashed large ball without knocking it off. After this, the team split up into 2 groups.
The first group focused on autonomous and programming skills. For autonomous, they tweaked the values to ensure that the robot would always grab at least 1 bucky ball. By doing this, we can ensure that we’ll always score +14 points, which is enough to win the edge in autonomous for a 1 on 1. Continuous tweaks will be made however to ensure at least 2 balls would be collected, earning us 16 points for a fairly guaranteed autonomous bonus in a 2 vs 1 autonomous period. Additionally, the group worked on adding an extra bumper switch which would make the robot drive forward to grab any bucky ball in the alliance tile. Finally, the last change we made to the autonomous code was rather than return to the alliance tile, the robot would back up slightly and lower the lift. By changing this last sequence, the robot is slightly closer to the game objects, increasing tempo for match play. Watching the time, the group moved onto programming skills. The idea for programming skills was to build off of our autonomous program and continue scoring. We decided that it would be wisest to then push the 3rd large ball and return to the alliance tile. After that, a switch would be triggered to move the robot past the bump and into the hanging zone. After that, the robot would grab the corner bucky balls, return to the alliance tile, spit it out, and then realign for the large ball. We would then grab the large ball and dump it into the goal zone for more points. All in all, this programming skills should score about 33 points, which should get us into the top 8 programming skills in florida.
The second group worked on Interviews and the Engineering notebook. In specific, the group focused on how to consolidate the introduction of the design towards the innovate, create, and build award. We realized that rather than showing off the features of the design, we would gain extra points for describing the stability, elegance, and the functionality of the design. In addition to this, we realized that the design award wasn’t just about the design process we followed, we realized that it encompasses the exploitation of resources, such as skills, CAD, and parts. After spending an hour or so honing our presentation, we then focused on improving the engineering notebook. We know that teams like 727c and 5900j will focus a lot on their engineering notebook and interview, so we focused on improving the weakest part of our notebook: organization. We added sticky notes to the top of our notebook to indicate each week we worked in the logs, but then we soon realized that the outrageous amount of tabs would be ridiculous. Because of this, we decided to tab the notebook by months. However, we did not completely finish this tabbing. In addition to that, we decided to increase the size of our major section tabs. These new tabs pop more than the old ones, increasing the illusion of organization. In addition to this, we got our sister teams to review our notebook and take notes on what things are we missing. We can then use this list to add parts we’re missing.
As for future plans, we need to refine and select a single driver skill plan. Right now, the team is quite divided on how we should execute the driver skills, but we all agree that we should aim somewhere around 70 points for the excellence award. In addition to this, we need to continue refining our programming skills and autonomous programs for the edge in the excellence award and the edge in driver control.
Objective: Continue working for the excellence award
Problem: Engineering notebook is disorganized, weak programming skills, weak driver skills, unfocused interview, right intake roller was bent, 3rd bucky ball was difficult to grab
Solution: Add tabs to the engineering notebook, add a table of contents, add summaries, tune the values to get over the bump, push the large balls, and grab bucky balls, add safeguards to grab scattered balls, replace axle on the intake, lower the height of the magic intake slightly, develop a consistent robot skills plan
Task: Add tabs to the notebook, build up post autonomous programming, refine regular autonomous, develop a robot skills plan
Result: Objective semi-successful. The engineering notebook was more organized, we always grab at least 2 bucky balls in autonomous, we added the sequences for programing skills, we had a well-defined plan for robot skills, we practiced and focused our interview, we repaired the intake
At the start of the meeting, we ran into a crippling problem. Our right intake axle was heavily bent. We had to spend the first half of the meeting repairing the intake. After doing this, we found out we had difficulty grabbing the third bucky ball. Because of this, we swapped out the spacers of the intake and lowered it very slightly. There wasn’t noticeable improvement on the 3rd bucky ball, but we did increase the grabbing speed of our first two grabs. Due to time, we had to skip perfecting the system and split up into Monday’s groups.
In the programming group, the remaining tasks of the programming skills code were added, while the autonomous code were tuned. Our biggest addition was the “Cuarax” button, named after our little programming wizard’s Disney card typo (no lie). By pressing this button, an alternate programming sequence will occur, allowing the robot to grab stray bucky balls as necessary. After this addition, we tested our last tweaks we made from Monday’s autonomous changes. Because of this, we can now grab 2 bucky balls off the bump consistently. Finally, we moved onto programming skills code. We tweaked the power values, added acceleration code, and finally we have every sequence programmed. However, after our test, we determined that we need to tweak the power values for accuracy.
In the Awards group, we finished up the last of the awards analysis and determined what criteria we needed to hit. In specific, we determined what points we needed to hit for the create award. With this, we now focus on hitting the points of the design award, create award, build award, promote award, and the think award in case of a tiebreaker. For the design award, we tackled our strategy beautifully, but we had problems flowing into the design process and mentioning tricks we use to facilitate our development. To fix this, we spent a bit more time thinking about how to phrase ideas to make concepts string together more easily. For the build award, we hit the criteria hard and we were quite focused, but it lacked the depth we needed for a strong edge. Finally, like the build award, we hit the criteria hard, but we needed to clarify points and jargon. Before we rehearsed the interviews we also worked on the engineering notebook. We added tabs indicating months and weeks of the season, By doing this, it’s easier to flip through our logs and identify pages
Friday is our last meeting before the competition. However, we’re also having a sleep over meeting. To maximize our performance with the given time, we need to finish the engineering notebook, tune programming skills, and run a full interview. If time is left over, we could tune the intake for the third bucky ball and practice robot skills.
Today, there wasn’t a meeting, but we found out additional info about competition
We found out that the programming skills has been completed. It’s only a matter of tweaking the values so the robot consistently performs as expected. Because of this, we can decrease the amount of time we work on programming skills to improve our execution of driver skills. In specific, we should probably focus on grabbing the bump buckies, for that’s the part in the strategy where the most unpredictability occurs. All the other sections have been practiced through regular practice for qualifications, or done in the past. After targeting a specific point of the strategy, we can expand it to encompass a larger section of the strategy, and finally, the entire strategy. In the time that we do work on programming skills, we can work on the last parts of the engineering notebook, revamp the poster board, and improve the interviews. We also found out that Space/Kyle from 5900j is not attending states and hasn’t been attending meetings for a few weeks due to conflictions with his mentor. Because of this, 5900j lost their best speaker, programmer, and strategist, leaving our main threat for the design award and excellence award from 508
We can then take advantage of the sleep over to do a full interview run, check the robot for inspection, and anything else we need to do.
Objective: Prepare for competition
Task: Tune Robot Skills, Test robot on real field, Scout the competition
Result: Objective complete, we are more prepared for competition
Today was focused on making the last tweaks for competition.
We divided the load and printed the pages of the engineering notebook. We also had a group interview to prepare for the actual interview. We also had multiple programming skills runs with fine tuning. After our initial try, we’re scoring around 24 points. The main issues we’ve had with the programming skills run was that the drivetrain tended to drift, forcing us to adapt before hand, and that our lift was slightly too high. Because of this, we had to aim for the large balls with our rollers, decreasing our tolerance. However, we decided with more practice, we should be fine for states. With 24 points, we’ll be in the top 8 programming skills, however with more things to perfect, we can can be in the bottom half of programming skills. However, if the programming skills run allows for tied places, we could be around the middle top 8.
While practicing for robot skills, we noticed that our vex nets are starting to give out. Because of this, at competition, we talked to other teams to see if they have spare vexnets. Theseus, from Middleton was able to loan us a spare.
Above: Working on the decoration for the engineering notebook
Emergency Repairs to the intake the 3 days before competition
Competition Day 3/1
... Time to figure out how to stash 3 in autonomous
Objective: Advance to worlds through the Excellence award
Problems: DC issues, alliance weaknesses, Unfamiliarity with elevated fields
Solutions: Borrow Vex Nets, Strategize Accordingly, Practice driving while kneeling
Result: Objective semi-completed: Didn’t win the excellence award or design award, but we became tournament champions
Looking back at competition, our success today came from great communication. In specific, scouting and strategizing was what pulled our team to becoming tournament champions
Of course, the robot was in great condition. Our intake was great for equalizing in bucky ball and large ball scoring. However, because we consistently scored around 16 points, we almost always won the autonomous period. In fact, in our very last match (qualification 55), we were able to project our preload into the goal zone, grab all 3 bucky balls off the bump, store them and dump them into the goal zone with 2 large balls on footage. Though a Bucky ball ricocheted off a large ball and into the middle zone, that 17 points was enough to impress our alliance captain Maverick (7121) and our alliance partner Piratech (508). Thanks to that footage, we became their second pick alliance. Eliminations played out well. We dominated the quarter finals and out played the semifinals. However, a uncoordinated autonomous round in the finals disconnected an intake wire and crippled us in the 2nd finals. Nevertheless, 7121 and 508’s unstoppable equalization in bucky balls and large balls combined with 508’s hang lead to our victory in Finals 1 and 3.
Prior to this though, we did run into numerous problems. We lost a 2 vs 1 in our second match, we automatically lost our third match because judging ran through our third match, and we lost our fourth match because we started with the robot off and ran into disconnecting issues throughout the match (after that, they gave an announcement to turn off wifi X_X). Due to our disconnecting issues, we thought it was our vex nets, so we borrowed some from Theseus and Minotaur robotics, but we soon realized that this was not the cause and returned them. One of our biggest problems though was our unfamiliarity with an elevated field. Though we knew the field could be elevated, we never thought that this elevation would affect our driver’s depth perception and block his vision. Because of these problems, we kneeled during driver practice. Another problem we never encountered in the past was bucky balls and large balls getting in the way of the column goal. These objects would wedge between the bot and goal, and change our depth. We would think we’re in scoring position, but our objects would fall shy of the goal.
As for the interview, we did great. We targeted each criteria for the Design, Think, Create, Build, Promote, and energy award, well. However, we probably didn’t emphasize enough impacting details that would give the team an advantage in most of these awards. This explains why we won the create award, an award who’s criteria is based on broad conceptual details, rather than the innovate award for our funnels system or the design award for our notebook and team evolution. Another part which may have affected our interview was trying to change our introduction to a rap. Because we couldn’t pull it together in time, we were forced to revert back to our old intro and we lost focus before the interview