Slide deck from our 2010 Advanced Programming Workshop PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jamie Diamond   
Saturday, 28 August 2010 17:47
Here's the 2010 Slide Deck
Last Updated on Friday, 24 September 2010 08:28
 
Cougar Workshop Bot PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 06:50

We've designed a Cougar Workshop Bot. And the Incredibots have designed an EV3 version.  It's a simple robot designed just for the workshop.  So If you don't already have a robot for the workshop try this one.  You should be able to build it in about 1/2 an hour.  It's the simplest robot we could come up with that could do ALL of the labs.  It's only got 79 parts plus 6 wires.  With 2 light and 2 touch sensors appropriately located you can try out the back-to-wall and advance-to-line programs.

The LEGO Digital Designer file is attached to this article and the printed building instructions are here
And a new EV3 version of the printed building instructions are here.

 

Wire as follows:

Left Motor -> B

Right Motor -> C

Left-Front Light Sensor -> 1

Right-Front Light Sensor -> 4

Left-Rear Touch Sensor -> 2

Right-Rear Touch Sensor -> 3

Attachments:
Download this file (Cougar Workshop Bot.lxf)Cougar Workshop Bot.lxf[ ]16 Kb07/09/10 07:00
Download this file (EV3 Robot.lxf)EV3 Cougar Workshop Bot[ ]14 Kb15/09/14 19:57
Download this file (EV3_Workshop_Robot.pdf)EV3_Workshop_Robot.pdf[ ]4298 Kb17/09/14 07:57
Download this file (NXT_Workshop_Robot.pdf)NXT_Workshop_Robot.pdf[ ]1575 Kb17/09/14 07:57
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 07:58
 
Joey Explains Magnetic Attachments PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 18:37

Question

Quick question about the magnets.  I'm a 2nd year coach but this is the first I've heard of them.  I see how and what to order, but exactly how did your team use them?  Are they used to attach attachments to the robot instead of "clicking" Legos together?  Did you ever have problems with attachments falling off their magnets, or are they pretty strong?

Answer

Magnets:  Don't over-rate their usefulness.  They are 1 means to an end.  There are multiple ways to do what we are doing with magnets.  The logic-stream goes like this.

1 - Highly specialized tools are more effective at performing specific tasks with simple programming.
2 - Time is the most limiting resource in an FLL round.
3 - If we can make attachment switching both very fast and reliable then we can utilize highly specialized tools without running out of time.
4 - We used magnets.  We have seen other teams use a girder in hole kind of method, one team had a standard slot under the robot and pushed tools out and left them on the field, and one other team used a remove tools only kind of process.  The goal is the same.  To make the in base transitions quick, reliable, and easy for the kids to do.

This year we had 3 different tools that attached in the same way to the front of the robot, with magnets, and 1 more tool that snapped over the arm and attached with magnets.  This year our robot had a flat front made out of girders.  That flat front had 2 one pip spots in it where the girders left a hole.  The tools had flat backs (to mesh with the robots flat front) except where the robot had a hole, the tools had a girder sticking out 1 pip (we used an "L" girder to accomplish it), that would fit in the hole in the front of the robot.  So the tool, if held against the front of the robot, was generally stable and would not slide around if held against the front of the robot.  The magnets were then used to "hold" the tool against the front of the robot.  The magnets weren't needed to keep the tool from getting too close to the robot.  The magnets weren't needed to keep the tool from sliding around on the front of the robot.  The magnets were only needed to keep the tool from pulling away from the front of the robot.
 
And yes, the magnets are pretty strong. 

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site  

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 October 2010 21:04
 
The Performance PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 August 2010 07:48
Hey its Ginnie and I just watched the final product for the Cougars for the Moonbots Challenge and the final product looked great!!! I guess memorizing things can help you.  I am hoping to have a pplace in the top three but we already made it to the top 20!!! everyone should be proud of what they did.  I'm really happy with the end product.  I'm sad that I wasn't there for the actual runs but i was there in spirit I guess Smile.  i had so much fun when I was there though.  I've started school here in Chicago and made the school soccer team so that's exciting.  Once again I'm very happy with the end product.  See ya!
Last Updated on Saturday, 04 September 2010 15:12
 
Cougar's final blog-whole team PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joey   
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 21:33

Joey here: The whole moonbots experience was fun. From never having the whole team there at one time, to D-day being the first day of high school, i was stressed. We had been having robot troubles the last few days before the competition but when it came time for the real runs we did well. It was a different experience but it was worth doing and I would do it again. I am currently mentally fried after stress from my first day of high school, moonbots competition, and the fact that i have only been home for 3 days. Thanks for Google and LEGO's support. Getting all the LEGOs was an unexpected bonus. 

Jacob talking here. This is my last moonbots blog I am very sad that this is over i have had so much fun talking to all of you. I would thank the people at Lego for supplying us with the field. We hope that the judges choose us for a prize. I love Lego Mindstorms so much I couldn't write enough about Mindstorms. Now that I know about Moonbots i wish to do this a second year. I cant wait to hear or see the new topic for next years "Moonbots'' I love Lego and Google so much. Thank you CoolCryEmbarassedFoot in mouthFrownInnocentKissLaughingMoney mouthSealedSmileSurprisedTongue outUndecidedWinkYell 

Philip for this part:  So we just, literally JUST finished our competition run submission!  It went great!!!  We scored a 220 points out of the possible 250 we went for.  This means that we picked up 4 yellow rings, and 1 blue ring.  We only missed one ring.  We filmed our run, took pictures of the artifacts, stood on the peak of eternal light, and made it back to base with our rings.  Joey, Jacob, and our coaches/mentors were here too, but Ginnie was absent :( because she moved to Chicago a week ago.  It was sad to see her leave, but we are DEFINITELY going to send her our video's and the results when they come out.  Overall, it was a great experience, and we did GREAT considering Ginnie is now in Chicago, Jacob was in Canada, and Joey was sailing his heart out across the country!  Also, we had originally heard that ring orientation was to be decided, so we built an arm to pick up rings from the base to be able to pick up from any angle.

Jamie and Judy: This was quite the adventure! The Cougar's goal was to have everything done by August 12th.  The last official team practice was August 12th.  Dr. Judy left for New York and Canada on the 11th. Coach Jamie left for Canada on the 13th.  Jacob left for Canada on the 14th.  And Ginnie moved to Chicago (forever, sob) on the 15th.  Philip was loaned a key to our house (the field is in our basement), and he carried on with programming and testing while the rest of the team was out of town.  We all shared ideas by emails and phone with Philip as he programmed and tested.  And everybody blogged from wherever they were when they had the chance

The ruling that came out on the 13th that the rings would be lined up as in the Challenge Blueprint.  We emailed back and forth about about whether we should build a simpler arm that could spear multiple rings and once, and raise and lower faster.  We decided, as a team, that it was too late to make any significant hardware changes. Besides, the arm works pretty well. Just for fun, Joey just ran and videoed one last run with the rings facing different directions and the arm was able to pick up all the rings.

Joey again: Everybody (except Ginnie) got back into town sometime on Sunday, August 22nd.  We met that evening to finish up and submit our video.  Here are some of the things we did since then:

- We reprogrammed mission 1 to move across the field on a hybrid of distance & proximity instead of just distance (too inaccurate) or just proximity (which frequently failed because we are at the upper limit of the ultrasonic sensor's range). 

- We added a catch to the arm so that it catches at the top and resists pulling away from the robot.  This seems to have stopped the rubber band issues.

- We had to rebuild the end of the arm gearing because it started to lock up at the top. New gears, same design, seemed to fix the problem.

- We had to build at least 3 different camera mounts before getting one that worked

- We added an ultrasonic start to the mission so that we don't have to use the computer to start a run. We just wave a hand in fromt of the sensor.

- We shortened the main mission up to stay within the 3 minute time limit.  The robot is capable of picking up the blue rings in the craters and we had written the code to do so. But just getting in and out of the craters took too much time.  We now get the 1st 2 yellow rings along the back wall, park on the POEL, pick up 1 blue ring from the right crater, cross the center wall, pick up the two yellow rings, dash for home.  If all goes well we get 220 points.  We put in a timer reset block right after the ultrasonic start. The robot now checks the time and if it has time, turns around and picks up 1 blue ring without entering the left crater then dashes for home for 250 points. If there isn't enough have time to pick up that last ring, then the robot just dashes for home

- We made a test Skype call with James Isom to make sure it was going to work well.

- We talked about the live mission webcast

-We put together a pre-mission checklist which included tightening both omni wheels, tighten arm and check tension, turn on the on board camera.

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 September 2010 21:06
 
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FTC Blog

FIRST Tech Challenge
The official FTC Blog
  • Exciting Changes to Match Play
    Over the past decade, FIRST® Tech Challenge has continued to grow, serving the FIRST mission of creating excitement and exposing students to the wonderful world of science, technology, engineering and math. With growth, must come change, as most of our community has seen through our evolution of robot technology. We continue to work to make this program more accessible and affordable, while still engaging and challenging students of all skill levels.


    Since the 2015 season, FIRSTTech Challenge has moved away from a centralized control system to the Android based platform you see today. The increased reliability of the Android based/REV platform, is allowing us to improve the flow of the matches. We are making significant and exciting changes that teams and volunteers need to be aware of for the 2017-2018 season.



    Autonomous to Driver Controlled Transition

    Starting in the 2017-2018 season, there will no longer be a hard stop following the autonomous period to transition to the driver controlled period of the match. Once the autonomous portion of the match ends, the emcee/game announcer will tell the teams to pick up their driver station. As a visual cue, the scoring system will display to teams that they must pick up their driver station. Teams will only have 5 seconds to pick up their driver station, so they should make sure to pay close attention! After the 5 seconds, there will be a 3-2-1 countdown and the driver controlled period of the match will begin right away.

    Why make the change?
    • Since the reliability of our technology has come so far, the large gap between autonomous and driver controlled periods of the match is no longer necessary.
    • The game design doesn’t require field reset between the autonomous and driver controlled periods.
    • The shortened break between autonomous to driver controlled period increases engagement by keeping the excitement of the match going.
    • The shortened break will encourage teams to build smarter and create sturdier robots, that can move successfully from autonomous to driver controlled unhindered.
    What does this mean to teams?

    Teams must remember is to keep an eye on the match timer display, and listen for the cues from the Emcee or Game Announcer to pick up their driver stations. The transition will happen quickly, and the scoring system will automatically run the rest of the match. Since the robots are not tied directly to the scoring system, teams must make sure they are ready to run their driver controlled programs after the 3-2-1 countdown.

    How does this impact the number of matches played?

    This will not impact the number of matches played at an event. From League Meets to State Championships, teams will still be able to play between 5 and 6 matches, depending on the specific tournament. Teams will still receive a minimum of 7 minutes between each match. Super Regionals and World Championship events will have additional matches. The number of matches at these events will be announced at a later date.

    Up righting/Untangling/Reconnecting Robots

    Because of the shortened transition from autonomous to driver controlled period, field personnel will no longer enter the field to upright or untangle any robots. Robots that have lost connections will not be reconnected by the Field Technical Adviser. Teams should take this into consideration when building and designing their robot.

    If you have any questions about the new changes to our match play format please email ftcteams@firstinspires.org. Happy Relic Recovering!

    Click here to watch the New Changes to  Match Play video on YouTube!