All posts by Emma

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:


Roseville Qualifier

ACME attended our third qualifier this weekend.  Since we already qualified for Nor Cal Regionals this tournament was all about practice and gaining some experience.  The drive team was hoping to become more familiar with the controls and commands, the software team was anxious to see the results of auto and the scouting team was kept busy gathering data on the teams during the matches.

This was the robot we took to competition.  You can see the dump bed which dumps the Glyphs into the Crytobox (the blue thing with the columns).  On the side you can see the jewel arm, used to knock the jewel off of the jewel stand.  Below you can see our intake, made of two compliant wheels and two core hex motors to suck in the Glyphs.  

During the matches we had a lot of exciting rounds.  Besides a new design to test, it was Clara and Emma's first time drive coaching.  They were joined alternately by Kellen, Oren, Kelly and Shawn, all drivers.  The pit crew was Ben and Kelly, who stayed at the pit to answer Judge's questions and to hold down the fort.  John, Clara, Emma and Sean were this tournament's scouters and remained in the stands to collect info on the teams competing. 

 At tournaments, teams play five matches each before finding out if they have made it into the semi-finals.  As it turns out, we were the top team in the matches, meaning we got to pick our alliance partners first.  We chose team 5214, Tech Support.  They had an awesome robot that could fill a Cryptobox in under a minute and a half.  They were very supportive of our alliance and together we hold the fourth highest score in the world!

This was the first time ACME has ever won First Alliance.  We were over the moon when we won and couldn't have done it without our alliance partners.  Northern California Regionals are tentatively scheduled for the end of February.  We hope you will keep checking our website for more updates and please follow our Facebook page. 

GO ACME!!!! 

Santa Clara Qualifier

Last weekend, ACME attended our second qualifier in Santa Clara.  This tournament was all about gaining experience and challenging ourselves, but we gained much more than that. 

We started off the day by setting up our pit area.  This area is where other teams come to have a better understanding of our team, our robot's design, and get free Red Vines (courtesy of ACME Robotics).  We display a pit board that shows all of the team members, our Outreach events and our robot design.  We also made a pyramid of ACME bracelets that were also freebies (because why not?).  

Then we went into our judges interview, where we give a presentation of our robot and the judges ask us questions about it.  Our judges interview at this qualfier was one of the best we have ever had and are super proud of the way it went. 

After the judges presentation we have to go around and scout the other teams in the pits. We scout other teams so that we are on the lookout for them during the matches. If you make it to the top four teams, you need to know which alliance partners you want This qualifier's scouting team consisted of Emma, Kelly, Clara and Ben, and in the stands we had Emma, Clara, Sean and John. 

After opening ceremonies the matches started. We just so happened to be one of the first teams up. While our first match did not start out so good (as our phones could not connect to each other), the next few steadily got better. 

There continued to be problems throughout the day concerning the robot though - mostly due to connectivity problems. This outcome slightly dampened our positive moods, but non the less, we continued to try to overcome these trials.  A good sign was that after almost every one of our matches the judges would come talk to us about what went wrong during the match and what we were going to do to fix it. This was taken as a positive sign that we were in the running for an award. 

And as it turns out, we were!  Even though things seemed not to go our way that day our positive outlook and perseverance came through. We were given the Inspire Award!!!!!!!!

This award grants you a ticket to the Northern California Regionals, the next step in advancing towards Worlds. We were so happy to have been given this award and are so grateful to the judges who recognized us. 

The Nor Cal Regionals will be held at the end of February in Union City.  Look for our upcoming post about the Roseville Qualfier two weeks from now.  Go ACME!

Gearing Up for the Santa Clara Qualifier

This week, ACME members are busy getting ready for the Santa Clara Qualifier.  Members have several collaborative and individual project to wrap up, as well as getting in some driver practice time.  

This week will mainly be focused on getting the robot ready and functional for competition.  In order for us to be in tip top condition for the qualifier we finished assembly a few days ago.  The hope is that this week will be dedicated to working out the kinks from driver practice and running the robot through autonomous.

Since it was one of our goals this year to build a robot that could complete all of the aspects of the game, we had to make some design alterations.  These alterations included rethinking the glyph intake, rebuilding the drive train, and making a new superstructure to accommodate these mechanisms.

The qualifier will also be different in term of size and the amount of activity happening at once.  Twice as many teams are signed up to go and there are going to be two matches going at once.  It is sure to be a fast paced day!  

We are super excited for this next tournament and can't wait for the day!  Look for the update on this tournament, it should be publish a few days after Saturday, January 13.  

Folsom Qualifier 2017

This past weekend, ACME traveled to our first qualifier of the season in Folsom.  FIRST teams are allowed to go to three qualifiers each to try to qualify for Norther California Regionals.  Throughout the day we had some ups and downs, but here is a brief summary of ACME's first Relic Recovery Tournament!

 The team worked diligently in the weeks leading up to the competition.   We stayed up way past our bedtimes almost every night in order to be ready for competition day.  The Hardware and Software teams have been so dedicated to the team and we own them a big round of applause for all of the hard work and dedication they put into the robot. 

As for the qualifier, we did really, really well!  Our Engineering Notebook  came together beautifully, our judges presentation went extremely well and our autonomous code (the part of the game where the robot runs on pre-written code) worked fantastically considering the Software team started testing code the day of the competition! ​​​​

As you can see above, this is the robot that we took to competition.  This first phase of the robot consists of a Glyph lifter (the green wheels) that suck in a Glyph and then move up and down on a lead screw in order to place the Glyphs into the Cryptobox.  Attached to the linear slide on the left is the Relic Recoverer, or the Steve-Grabber, as the ACME team jokingly call it.  The red, 3D printed grabber at the end is perfectly fitted to the yellow game piece called the Relic.  Another unique design we developed is the periscope that rises up from the center of the robot.  Since vision is a very important part of the game this year, we needed a phone mount that could rotate in all directions.  This is where the idea of the periscope formed.  Although it works rather well, we had a slight problem where the scope wouldn't rise up fast enough so some of the code timed out and the robot moved on to the next part of autonomous.  

Thankfully, these problems are fixable and the ACME team is preparing to take step to make our next competition robot better than our first.   Call it Phase Two, if you will.  A time for all members to reflect on the first qualifier and take the steps to improve, not just the robot, but our whole concept of the game.  Such as the build time until our next qualifier, tasks being completed and, of course, writing processes and designs of the new robot in the Engineering Notebook. 

Another positive of the qualifier was the awards.  ACME won two awards this time, including one we hadn't received in previous seasons.  This award was the Think Award, which we received for our outstanding Engineering Notebook (kudos to Kelly who worked hard in making the Engineering Notebook stellar).  The second award we received was second place Inspire.  Inspire is the highest award you can qualify for in FTC and winning second place was pretty amazing considering it was our first tournament of the season. 

Going into Phase Two, ACME members and mentors are probably even more excited than when we kicked off the season with the 24-Hour Build.  Over Thanksgiving break we are going to be coming up with ideas for new designs and planning out our schedule for the upcoming weeks. Watch out because ACME Robotics is ready for anything!

New Season Update

ACME Robotics is back for the 2017-2018 season of the FIRST Tech Challenge!

With new members, new mentors, a plan to help organize the team and, of course,  a whole new challenge, ACME Robotics is ready for another year of excitement.  

This year ACME acquired several new members for the team including Clara, Sean, Emma, Dominick, Oren and Ben.  Their addition to the team increased the number of members from last year by almost 100%.  They are all wide spread across the three sub-teams with Sean, Ben, Dominick and Oren on the Hardware Team, and Emma and Clara dabbling in both the Software and Business Teams. 

We have also gained a few new mentors as well.  In addition to Stephanie, Michael and Mike, we have two new mentors, Josh and Ron, who will both be excellent in helping with Hardware as well as Business. 

New members and mentors are not the only addition to the new season.  This year ACME is trying to become more organized, making a schedule for the upcoming build weeks with the help of one of our new mentors, Ron.  We have also tried to become more organized when it comes to executing tasks.  

One of the organization things we have done is taking over one of our white boards to create a grid of tasks.  Each member has their own column in which there are five stages of completion; To-do, Design, Build, Test and Done.  We also have three areas for each different sub-team which contain different colors of sticky notes which each correspond to a different task.  For example, yellow sticky notes are for Engineering Notebook write ups.  We all hope that this new practice will be successful.  

This year we also took the time to make a schedule for the build.  At the 24-Hour Build (insert link to build post), we made a schedule of the things that needed to be done in the next two months leading up to our first qualifier.  Hopefully, this schedule will help us stay on track with the build and inspire us to work hard when we see we are falling behind. 

One of the most important parts, if not more important than the robot itself, is to have a presentable Engineering Notebook to present to the judges at the competition.  The Engineering Notebook's main purpose is to show the judges what the team has been up to in the weeks leading up to competition.  Kelly decided that he would he would spearhead the project and come up with an effective way to get everyone to write in the Engineering Notebook, as well as producing a format for the Notebook and organizing it accordingly.   He made a Google Sheet on Google Drive that is sectioned according to sub-team and week.  Every team member is subjected to write at least one entry a week.  To further prompt members, there is a reminder in their column on the task board for each write-up that is due.

Everyone on the ACME Robotics team is excited to start the new season.  The new game should prove difficult, of course, but we are all welcoming the challenge.  Relic Recovery will be filled with accomplishments and failure, which will turn into more accomplishments.  We can't wait to get started!

If you want to check out the new FTC challenge, click on -> Relic Recovery Video

Generation Start-Up: Update

Our private showing of Generation Start-Up was shown at our local movie theater in Grass Valley, the Del Oro, on August 24.  

The showing was very successful, with lots of people from the community attending.  We had a chance to display our robot in the theater lobby and answer questions people had about our team.  After the showing we gave a short presentation and answered several questions from the audience.  

Based on the small town we live in, the turnout was excellent.  We had a chance to let people know about our team and what we do.  Overall, it was well worth it.  Now the community knows more about us and can tell others too.  It is definitely something the team will consider doing again!