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Archive Monthly Archives: February 2018

Our Very Own Dean’s List Finalist

The Dean's List is a student who, as sourced from FTC's website, is a "great examples of student leaders who have led their Teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission. These students have also achieved personal technical expertise and accomplishment. It is the intention of FIRST that these individuals will continue on, post-Award, as great leaders, student alumni, and advocates of FIRST." * 

Teams are allowed to nominate two 10th and 11th graders from their team to be Dean's List Semi-Finalists.  FIRST Representatives have the task of deciding which students fit the criteria for a Dean's List Finalist. The winner's are announced at the various state regionals around the country. 

Dean's List Criteria

Criteria for selection of the FIRST Dean’s List shall include, but not be limited to a student’s:
• Demonstrated leadership and commitment to the ideals of FIRST;
• Interest in and passion for a long term commitment to FIRST and its ideals;
• Overall individual contribution to their team;
• Technical expertise and passion;
• Entrepreneurship and creativity;
• Ability to motivate and lead fellow team members; and
• Ability to effectively increase awareness of FIRST in their school and community.

Our Dean's List Nominee 

ACME nominated our very own Kelly Muir a long time member of ACME.  Our mentors submitted an application to FIRST at the end of 2017, which included an essay about why he is a qualified candidate.  Later,  he had an interview with the FIRST representatives.  Kelly wasn't feeling too confident at the end of the session, but he wouldn't find out how he did until we attended the Northern California Regionals.  

Before awards were given out at Regionals, the Dean's List Finalists for Northern California were announced.  Kelly Muir was the first name called to the stage. There are about 200 teams in Northern California, which each can nominate two students, so being one of only 4 people picked to represent Northern California as a top FIRST student is a huge, huge honor.

Northern California Regionals

Last weekend, ACME Robotics attended the Northern California Regionals at Newark Memorial High School in Newark, California.  This two-day event was much like the other qualifiers before - except bigger.  56 teams participated and only ten were allowed to advance to the Western Super Regionals.  There were two divisions, Silicon and Gold.   About 28 teams were in each division.  The good thing about divisions is you only have to play teams in your division - until the finals.  

This event - as mentioned before - spanned two days.  Saturday evening we checked in, had field inspection and our judges interview. In the week leading up to this event, we spent numerous hours practicing our judges interview.  All our hard reciting payed off, and the interview was one of the best we have ever had. 

On Sunday we set up our pit.  Then, went around our division (Silicon) to do Pre-Match Scouting.  After opening ceremonies the matches began.  Our first few matches were not that great.  We were having connectivity issues once again (see the Santa Clara Qualifier), and our robot was quite spastic.  We won a few matches, then lost a few.  It wasn't our best performance but it wasn't our worst either.  We finished out the matches in 20th place. 

Now, that is not amazing placement in the slightest.  But, we knew we could do better and sought a chance to prove it.  Team 4216, the Rise of Hephaestus, was the top scoring team in our division.  Therefore, they were our best chance at being on the winning alliance.  They had already decided to choose team 5214, Tech Support as their first alliance pick. We had to convince Rise to choose us for their second pick.  We did this by talking to Tech Support.  Our case was that since most teams would off the field and their robot phones turned off, we would be able to preform much better because there would be a stronger signal. 

As it turns out, this worked.  Rise of Hephaestus picked us to be their second alliance partners.  Eager to prove they had made the right choice, we gave it our all.  For the first round Rise and Tech Support were up against the fourth place alliance.  They were able to win that match and after the Gold division played their first round, we moved straight into our second round.  During this round, Rise and ourselves were up against two teams who played a very defensive game.  The plan: to fill our Cryptobox as fast as possible then protect Rise's bot as they  finished their box and tried to score relics.  Our protective strategy worked and we were able to hold off the other team while Rise finished scoring Relics.  The downside was that our relic recover-er was hanging off the robot.  The 3D printed part had snapped off.  Luckily, we had printed an extra part and were able to get it on and working before we started our final match. 

Our final match was quite eventful.  It was us and Rise for an alliance. We actually almost soft-capped (meaning we scored all of the points possible between our alliance), but we didn't score our Glyph during the autonomous period.  During that match both of our teams were able to: knock off the jewel, park in the safe zone, compete a full Cryptobox in a Cipher pattern, score a Relic in the third zone upright, and balance on the Balancing Stone.  If you would like to watch our final match, please click on the link:  ACME and Rise of Hephaestus Final Match

We had qualified for Super Regionals when we were on the Winning Alliance, but the awards ceremonies had just begun.   We were nominated for several awards, including the Control Award, the Innovate Award and the Think Award.  The real surprise, however, came when the Inspire Award winner was announced.  The Inspire Award is the highest award you can win at any FIRST event.  At the Northern California Regionals, ACME Robotics was announced as the winners of the Inspire Award!

This was the first time in ACME history that we have won the Inspire Award at a major tournament such as NorCals.  We were so excited.  After a long day of ups and downs, this was just the thing we needed to complete our tournament experience. 

The next step in the season is to participate in Spokane, Washington, at the Western Super Regionals.  We will be starting a GoFundMe campaign soon in order to raise funds for our trip. Keep checking our website for updates on the coming competition. 

As always:


Picture of girl with robot

2018 LEGO Robotics Camp

LEGO Robotics Camp

ACME ROBOTICS (8367) is planning to offer a LEGO Robotics camp again in summer 2018. We are in the planning stages for the camp, but we have opened up the camp waiting list and you can sign up now to get on the waiting list and be informed first about the details.

boy with robot

To signup for the waiting list, simply send an email to: camp@goacmerobotics.com

Full details are on the 2018 LEGO Robotics Camp page.

The camp structure will likely be similar to last summer. A 5 day camp (half days), somewhere in Grass Valley or Nevada City CA. Cost will be similar to last year (~$125 per camper). We are also going to reduce the number of campers per robotics kit to enhance the experience for the campers (based on feedback from last year).

Campers will learn how to build and program a LEGO Mindstorm-based robot and then create a robot to compete in a competition at the end of the week. We want to encourage the creation of FIRST LEGO LEAGUE robotics teams at all of the various local elementary and middle schools next fall, so this will be a great way to learn about LEGO Mindstorms and see if robotics competition is something you'd like to experience!

ACME Robotics also recruited two attendees from the 2017 LEGO Robotics camp to join the ACME team. So it's also a great way to check out the ACME team and determine if you'd like to join us next season!

Sponsor the camp!

Local businesses: We are offering an opportunity to sponsor the camp and help defray the costs (and reduce the camper fees). If you'd like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, send an email to camp@goacmerobotics.com or contact Mike Oitzman (email below)