Cougars At FIRST World Festival PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 18:57

FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) is a FIRST ( international robotics competition targeted at high school students. Teams of up to 10 students build robots using TETRIX, LEGO, and custom fabricated components. The robots can measure up to 18" x 18" x 18". Four robots, two teams of two robots, compete against each other on a 12' x 12' playing field.

Cougar 2010-2011 "Get Over It!" Season Summary:
  • Approximately 1600 teams competed in FTC this year.
  • Ohio State Championship
    • 32 teams attended the Ohio State Championship tournament at iSpace in Cincinnati.
    • The Cougars finished the qualifying rounds in 3rd place, and as an alliance captain selected the teams of Python from MI and Trash Torque from the Wellington school in Columbus as their alliance partners.
    • The Cougars alliance went on to win the Ohio Championship and as captain of the winning alliance the Cougars qualified to attend the World Championship.
    • The Cougars also won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award. "The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award celebrates a team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. This award is given to the team that has the most innovative and creative robot design solution to any or all specific field elements or components in the FIRST Tech Challenge game. Elements of this award include elegant design, robustness, and ‘out of the box’ thinking related to design. This award may address the design of the whole robot, or of a sub-assembly attached to the robot. The creative component must work consistently, but a robot does not have to work all the time during matches to be considered for this award. The team’s Engineering Notebook should be marked with journal entries to show the design of the component(s) and the team’s robot in order to be eligible for this award, and entries should describe succinctly how the team arrived at that solution."
  • World Championship
    • 128 teams qualified to go to the FTC World Championship, held at the FIRST World Festival in St. Louis.
    • The 128 teams were divided into 2 64 team divisions, Franklin and Edison, for the qualifying rounds of the World Championship.
    • The Cougars recorded 5 wins and 2 losses during the qualifying rounds to place 12th in the Franklin division.
    • The top 4 seeded teams get to pick partners to form 3 team alliances to compete in the finals.
    • The #1 seed Bounty Hunters #2864 from Staten Island NY selected Say Watt? #3539 from Edison NJ (1st pick in alliance selections) and the Cougars #4251 (5th pick in the alliance selections) as their alliance partners for the finals. 
    • Our alliance lost in the 3rd game of a 2 out of 3 match in the semi-finals to the alliance of SD30 from Montana, the Wreckers from Westport CT, and MITibot of Lexington MA who went on to win the World Championship.
    • To top it all off we were nominated for the Motivate Award. "This award celebrates the team that exemplifies the essence of the FIRST Tech Challenge competition through team spirit and enthusiasm. They show their spirit through costumes and fun outfits, a team cheer or outstanding spirit. This team has also made a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school and community."
The Cougars Robotics Team had a tremendous rookie season. We learned to build significantly more sophisticated robots. We learned to program in 2 new languages, LabVIEW and Robot-C. We learned to make alliances and work with other teams. And as a rookie team we made it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Championship. We're looking forward to next year's competition!
Last Updated on Monday, 16 September 2013 22:09
Sensor Best Practices PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 13:10

The bulk of this information was supplied by Xander Soldaat and Gus from HiTechnic.

 It would be better to have a single task doing all of the sensor sampling and storing those values in global variables. The hog/release CPU would be very bad, you're basically going to have have 3-5ms where the CPU is basically mostly waiting for the call to finish while it oculd be doing other things like controlling motors.

My robot programs are often made of 3 tasks: one to read the sensors, one to do the actual processing of sensor data, motor control, that sort of thing and one task to handle the display.  This seems to work well for me.

- Xander


I would expect the S-MUX with just the Gyro to be very stable in terms of value.  Big drawback here though is the read speed.   You can only read the Gyro at a rate of about 100Hz through the S-MUX.  This may be good enough, you can experiment to see.


I also believe the power consumption of the motor and servo controllers to minimal from the NXT.  These devices should rely entirely on their own external power supply and not the power from the NXT.  I agree with Xander that the analog sensors are the most likely to be sensitive to power fluctuations since these rely on the A/D conversion taking place in the  host device (either the NXT or the S-MUX).  The other sensors are digital sensors and any A/D conversion will take place in the sensor.  While I can’t guarantee that these devices will be immune to all power fluctuations, I do believe they will be much more stable.  Since the A/D conversion, if any, will be self relative to the power provided by the sensor.   When the A/D conversion is done on the host, they may, in essence, have a different voltage reference and thus get a slightly different reading.


- Gus 


Sensor types



HiTechnic EOPD Sensor

HiTechnic Gyro Sensor

HiTechnic Magnetic Sensor

NXT Light Sensor 

NXT Sound Sensor

NXT Color Sensor

NXT Touch Sensor 



HiTechnic Acceleration / Tilt Sensor

HiTechnic Angle Sensor

HiTechnic Color Sensor V2

HiTechnic Compass Sensor

HiTechnic IRLink Sensor 

HiTechnic IRReceiver Sensor

HiTechnic IRSeeker V2

NXT Ultrasonic Sensor 


Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 07:48
2010 Cougar FTC Team #4251 PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Saturday, 04 September 2010 00:00

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Alex (9th grade) 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 December 2010 06:21

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