World Championship Update PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joey   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 22:17

We have just arrived in St. Louis, pulling up right in front of the NASA trailer! Wednesday is load in and judging, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are matches. Looking forward to seeing all of our friends from around the world and playing robots! We are in the Edison Division (will probably be listed as division 2 on the live stream page).

Live streams to all of the FTC events will be posted here.

Good luck to everyone competing this week! 


Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 22:32
Build a Better Bot Workshop with Patronum Bots PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 08:33

On August 31st we got together with the Patronum Bots at their home base in East Troy, Wisconsin to put on our Build a Better Bot workshop. It was an all day event, and 12 teams attended, coming from Wisconsin and surrounding states. Throughout the day, we discussed topics such as game and robot analysis, mechanical and wiring practices, and static electricity. Along with topics about the robot, we also went over scouting and showed teams how we pick teams at tournaments. Near the end of the day, we held an “open work time” with several stations of hands-on activities. These included double drilling channel, creating static spray, switching from tamiya connections to anderson powerpoles, and making static detectors.

Check out the videos in the Build a Better Bot workshop playlist created by the Patronum Bots. 



Download this file (FTC Workshop Wisconsin.pptx)FTC Workshop Wisconsin.pptx[The slide deck from our Build a Better Bot workshop, August 31 2013, in East Troy WI]96876 Kb13/09/13 08:38
Last Updated on Monday, 07 October 2013 07:48
Build a Better Bot workshop handouts & useful info PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jamie Diamond   
Monday, 16 September 2013 22:31

Download this file (HiTechnic Motor Controller Brief v1.3.pdf)HiTechnic Motor Controller Brief v1.3.pdf[ ]194 Kb16/09/13 22:36
Download this file (HiTechnic Servo Controller Brief v1.2.pdf)HiTechnic Servo Controller Brief v1.2.pdf[ ]168 Kb16/09/13 22:36
Download this file (HiTechnic Servo Controller Power Limits.pdf)HiTechnic Servo Controller Power Limits.pdf[ ]115 Kb16/09/13 22:36
Download this file (HS-485HB Servo - A.pdf)HS-485HB Servo - A.pdf[ ]182 Kb16/09/13 22:37
Download this file (HS-485HB Servo - B.pdf)HS-485HB Servo - B.pdf[ ]829 Kb16/09/13 22:41
Download this file (Motor Power Chart.pdf)Motor Power Chart.pdf[ ]29 Kb16/09/13 22:37
Download this file (TETRIX DC Motor Specs.pdf)TETRIX DC Motor Specs.pdf[ ]122 Kb16/09/13 22:37
Last Updated on Monday, 16 September 2013 22:41
2012-2013 FTC Season Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joey   
Thursday, 30 May 2013 00:00


Cougar Robotics, FTC team 4251, went undefeated in 14 matches to become the 2013 FIRST Tech Challenge World Champions. FIRST Tech Challenge or FTC is an international robotics competition where students design, build, and program robots to compete against other teams in a 2 robot vs 2 robot game or challenge.  The game changes every year so that the teams have to come up with solutions to a new set of challenges.  FTC encompasses design, community outreach, and game performance. This year’s game was called “Ring It Up!” where robots had to take rings off PVC dispensers and make tic-tac-toe lines on a center rack. Our team has 4 members; Joey Diamond, Sean Morehart, Nathan Nahhas, and Evan Hollins. This year, we qualified to compete at the World Championship in St. Louis by winning the Ohio State Championship Inspire Award and the Indiana State Championship robot game. In preparation for the World Championship, we fabricated major parts of our robot at the Columbus Idea Foundry. We also hosted a scrimmage for 3 other teams and ourselves at CIF to practice and tune our robots for the competition.

The World Championship was a 4 day competition held in St. Louis, Missouri. 128 teams from around the world qualified for this event and were separated into 2 divisions of 64 teams each. First, we had to win our division, then compete against the winners of the other division.

During the first 2 days, robots are randomly paired with and against each other in qualifying matches to determine the rankings within a division. At the end of the 2nd day, the top 4 seeded teams in each division (we were ranked 1st) chose alliances. This means we got to choose 2 partner teams to compete with us through the elimination matches. After intense scouting, we chose alliance partners, team 4140 Fish in the Boat and team 5096 Monkey Madness. On the last day, alliances play against each other in “best-of-3” elimination rounds. Each of the divisions has their own set of elimination matches, followed by the winners of each division playing each other. We went 2-0 in all of our 6 elimination matches with our chosen alliance partners, to win the World Championship, going undefeated in every match.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 21:08
We are in the News! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Evan Hollins   
Sunday, 05 May 2013 00:00
We were recently featured in an article written by Joe Blundo in the Columbus Dispatch!  Here is the link!
Last Updated on Saturday, 25 May 2013 09:37

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FTC Blog

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  • FTC Team Purple Gears Awarded a Patent!

    Purple Gears Get a Patent!
    by Rachelle Garbarine

    Numbers are important to the Cardinal Gibbons High School Robotics Team. None, however, is as memorable as 8,794,386 – the number issued to the team’s first U.S. patent. 

    The patent, which the team assigned to Cardinal Gibbons, is for a folding forklift. The FIRST Tech Challenge team - the Purple Gears aka Team 2901 - conceived, tested, and built the device as part of its design for the robot it entered in the 2011 national robotics competition known as FIRST (ForInspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge or FTC. That year, the Purple Gears also went to the FTC World Championship in St. Louis. 

    While it is rare for a high school team to file a patent, the Cardinal Gibbons Team has three filings to its credit. In addition to the forklift patent, which underwent three years of review before it was issued this August 5, the team has filed a second one for a custom treaded wheel; and a third for a claw mechanism that picks up rings. Those two patents are in various stages of review. 

    Principal Jason D. Curtis said the patents: “are a result of tremendous collaboration and effort by students, teachers and volunteer coaches.  It was inspiring to see the group’s efforts to reach this goal, and exciting for our school community to participate in a project that offered such practical real-world experience to our students.”

    John Toebes, the team’s coach and a Cardinal Gibbons alumni parent volunteer, said that he was not aware of any other FTC teams that have filed patents. Toebes, who helped start the team over five years ago when his daughter attended Cardinal Gibbons, added that applying for patents teaches students how their ideas fit into the bigger scientific world.

    “Through the patent process we want the students to understand the invention process and how to recognize what is new and novel,” noted Toebes, a senior director at the Cary offices of Cisco Systems.  “We also use the process to teach them the importance of documenting what you do as well as how to research other attempts to solve the same problems.”  

    The team conceived all three innovations as novel ways for their robots to solve specific problems in competitions. In the case of the folding forklift, for instance, the robot in that year’s challenge not only had to fit in an 18-inch cube but be able to raise a baton several inches higher than that.

    Through trial and error the team arrived at a version of their foldable forklift that could do the job. 

    Members of the team that year were Ariana Keeling, Marc Celestini, Sean Lanier, Stefano Fenu and Sarah Dyer. All have since graduated from Cardinal Gibbons High School.
    Basically, the folding forklift was the team’s answer to the question: How do you lift batons from a vertical dispenser without using your hands? Once the students learned that a forklift that unfolds had never been invented they applied on July 1, 2011, for the patent, which listed each team member’s contribution to the design. 

    Doing so taught the students something else valuable; Toebes noted. "It taught them that invention is not a solo act."  

    That is a lesson the 2011 team and those that followed remember. Just ask Aaron Ruff, the team’s 2014 captain who graduated from Gibbons in May.

    “Everyone has something to offer when problem solving,” he noted.  “It gives you a new way of thinking.”  

    As for the patent-application process, Toebes said the Texas-based Haynes and Boone, one of the world’s top international patent firms, has helped and continues to help, to make it relatively smooth for each of their filings.

    Asked what was most memorable about the forklift invention and its corresponding filing, Toebessaid three aspects stood out to him:

    “The first was when the students actually got the invention working and realized the benefits to the approach. It was then that we could see that it was something new and deserving of a patent.

    “Second was when we had the video call with the patent attorney and showed him the invention and described how it worked.  

    “The last was when the students sent pages from their engineering notebook, which they used daily to track their work, to the attorney to document the patent.”  

    Through the years members of the Gibbons Robotics Team, in preparation for competition, have designed and built a robot from a specified list of parts and then programmed it to accomplish certain tasks. Generally, under competition rules, each team’s robot competes against other teams to earn points by completing the tasks.

    Taking their inventions from concept to reality, however, requires patience, hard work and time. But the Gibbons Robotics Team is more than up to the task.

    “I like the challenge of it and working with the team to solve problems,” Austin Schick, a current team member and a Gibbons junior, said. Other members agreed.

    Indeed, team members work on their robots for months after school. They meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Makerspace, a former theology classroom, turned invention space, where club members “learn about robotics, engineering, programming, design, teamwork, and more,” said technology teacher Jon Armfield.  Armfield co-moderates the club with science teacher Diane Ripollone.

    “The members of the Gibbons Robotics Team,” added Ripollone, “are amazing young men and women who used their imagination and creativity to create these tools, which has led to patents for them and the school.” 

    Will there be more patent filings in the future for the Cardinal Gibbons team?  “Our goals are simple - to help the students advance in their careers and to recognize that they have the innovation to help drive the future for the world,” said Toebes.  “Just thinking about any of them going to their job interview and saying that they have an issued U.S. patent is pretty rewarding.”

    Cardinal Gibbons senior and current team member Sean Greene agreed. “Filing a patent is something that very few people can say they have ever done,” noted Greene who serves as the team’s director of modeling.  “Even fewer can say that they have re-invented the wheel and we have done both - and more.”