Snow Day! By 3:00 road
conditions had improved greatly so we had practice. Tomorrow is
competition and there is still programming to do, let alone packing
everything we will need to take with us. We put some finishing touches
on our programs and let our handlers practice their setups over and
over. Because we cannot get repeatable performance on the third run
(which travels a long distance across the table), we are moving the last
part about pushing the structure into place. It will now be on the end
of the first run. We are so excited. Tomorrow is the big day!
What a weather forecast --
snow, and lots of it! This is certainly complicating things. We are not
ready for competition and this has us a little worried. Our practice was
exciting. We are getting very close on all our missions, and we hope to
have time to move the shipping crate at the end of the third run. It
started snowing not long after practice started, and the roads got bad
quickly. Some team members had to leave a little early because the
conditions were getting so bad. Still, our parents braved the elements
to make sure their Hotshots practiced and got home safely.
With only three more
practices until regionals, we had to be really focused on our missions
today. We built two identical robots so that we could cut our time in
half for programming. The missions are split up into three basic "runs"
of the robot. The first is to tag the shark, release the dolphin, and
then fix the pipeline. The second is to deploy the sub and move the
debris. The third is to put up the transect flags and move the
protective structure into position. We are consistent on the second run,
but still need to fine tune the first and third. We are transporting our
robot in the box from now on to prevent any accidental bump, drop, or
stray infrared transmission.
How time flies! It seems
like we just get started, and the time is up. Five hours on a Saturday
goes so quickly! We divided the labor today and made awesome progress on
our missions. Travis's group worked on the submarine launch and
artificial reef. Jordan's group worked on the flags and the protective
structure. Mr. Harris, Mr. Borad, and Mr. Boggs made themselves
available to everyone and helped with troubleshooting and asking great
questions encourage problem-solving about each new move or task.
Catherine and Kalab built a
small, light-weight robot with a short, fixed arm. They quickly worked
out programs that allowed their robot to tag the shark, release the
dolphin, and fix the oil pipeline. Then, technological problems set in.
After replacing just about every electronic piece, we found the fix:
re-start the software (it was confused). It was a frustrating loss of
time, but they still accomplished so much today!
In class today we worked on
our project presentation, a science court skit written by Bradley
Paynter about plastic pollution.
We need props and are hoping someone can help us out: a gavel, fishing
gear, judge's robes, men's ties, and police hats.
Our competition team has
been selected. Team members include Travis, Jordan, Andrew, Bradley, Garrett P, Jackson, Scott, Zach, Derek, Daniel, and alternates
Catherine, Brittany, and Kalab. The team decided
on the final form of our mission bot, and now have two of them so that
we can split up the missions and get them programmed.
Meanwhile, our club members
are making huge progress on setting up our Mars mission. Garrett and
Dalton built a fast and strong robot that can go most the way up the
ramp in the back hall.
Today's after-school session
was focused on running the missions. We are working hard to accomplish
the tasks of Ocean Odyssey 2005!
Nine "Hotshots" came in on
this holiday weekend Saturday. We are fine-tuning our mission bots and
working towards accurate and repeatable performance on the missions. One
discovery we have made is that sometimes one side may go faster than
another, thus the bot does not go straight. There are various
explanations for that, but the first thing we need to check is our
construction to make sure nothing is rubbing or keeping the wheels from
going around freely. Another big discovery is that when we program using
time, e.g. "forward 2.5 seconds", that time isn't forever repeatable.
Battery power changes, which changes the distance covered by the missionbot in a period of 2.5 seconds. How do we get around that dilemma? Use
Rotation Sensors (also known as angle sensors). If you would like to
know more about what is inside these rotation sensors, you are not
alone. These photos of the inside of a rotation sensor are from
Phillippe Hurbain, an electronics engineer in Paris, France, who
combines his love of Legos with panoramic photography.
Rotation Sensor Schematics
Competition team practice
day! We worked from 10:00 to 3:00 today -- a Saturday! Some people had
morning basketball, others had afternoon. By going from 10 till 3, more
of us were able to have time with the mission bots! Eleven Indibot
Hotshots showed up to practice. Awesome! Mrs. Nettling had
all the computers plus a laptop running the RIS programming software.
More of us had an opportunity to program our own mission-bots.
How did five hours fly by so fast? Thanks, Mrs. Logue, for the cheese
and crackers! Thanks, Mrs. Thomas, for the cookies! Thanks, Brad, for
the Oreos! Our next practice will be 11-26, from
10 till 3.
Club day! Today after school
we had treats (Thanks, Mrs. Smith!), then our club broke into 3 groups: programmers,
competition mission-bot specialists, and Mars Mission. A.J. talked with
the mission-bot specialists, helping them get focused on the
characteristics of a good robot. Mr. Borad and Mr. Boggs helped our
programmers dig deeper into the RIS software features and how it is used
to make the robot do what is needed. Mrs. Griffin helped the Mars
Mission get started in making the Mars pieces. One group finished the
solar panel. The Mars Rover is making some progress, but it is complex,
so the going is slow.
A day off of school, and
what did we do? We went to school! From 10 to 2 today, all we did was
play with the Legos and eat pizza. Thanks, Mrs. Jacobson, for the
generous contribution toward our pizza! A.J. taught some of us how to build
using a differential. He also pointed out the benefits of using a small
gear with a large gear for power. One of the journalists from the
Franklin Journal, Ted Pollard, stopped in and took some photographs of
us with a robot at the table. Speaking of the table -- Hurray! The table
is finally finished! Now we can focus on the missions of the Ocean
This was our first Monday
meeting. We continued to improve our building skills, and looked at
different ways to construct our robots. We then set up some hallway
challenges to work with the programmers in making our robot do the
necessary moves. The table pieces are taking longer than we thought, but
we are closing in on the final ones! We had to take apart a couple of
them and start over again.
We had fun today. We enjoyed
coming up with some team cheers. They were all good, but we agreed that
Scott's was certainly the funniest! We ate snacks while we went over
some of the rules. Then we got busy. We worked on finishing the table
pieces and the new robots we had started on October 28th. As each robot
finished, the job of making them move according to a planned purpose
began. This was the first time our builders interfaced with the
programmers in trying to accomplish a task. We talked about how to get
the robots to turn. There is a turn like a car makes, and then there is
a turn like when a basketball player pivots around one foot, and then
there is a turn like the earth on its axis. We got the wheelchair from
the office and practiced these turns so we could see what instructions
to give to each of the wheels.
Thanks to all the parents
who signed up to supply snacks for our upcoming practices! Thanks to Mr.
Borad and to Mr. Boggs for helping our programmers!
Many of us showed up at
Dayton Mall looking for the Experi-Center demonstration of Legos
Robotics. We couldn't find it. (Note: Turns out that it was cancelled.)
What a great way to start
our meeting! Mrs. Whitaker supplied some great chocolate chip cookies
for a snack at the beginning our meeting - THANKS! We came to a
consensus on what our team name should be. We are now the "Indibot
Hotshots"! Next we looked at all the Ocean Odyssey missions and thought
about which missions we would take on first. Joel took notes on each
one, and noted what type of adaptor would get the job done. What a great
idea, Joel! The last thing we did was work on a new type of robot. It is
a little harder to put together than the Tankbot was, and would have
different strengths. Our programmers made a lot of progress learning the
RIS software for programming our robots. Thanks, Mr. Boggs.
Bonus Club Day! We had a
Monday Lego Club meeting today. We ate a snack and watched the final
part of Zoom, which showed them at a Legos Robotics competition. When
that was over, we met our newest mentor, A.J. He is Mrs. Lipps husband,
and has worked with Lego robotics before at Miami University. He took
some time going through the missions of this challenge with us. Our two
programmers, Derek and Travis, worked with Mr. Boggs learning more
programming. Finally, we all received directions for building a
different part of the course and we began building. We are almost
finished with the course! This is how the challenge course will look when we are finished:
Club Day! We had a great
time in Lego Club this afternoon. First we had a snack while we watched
parts 2, 3, and 4 of Zoom "Lego Robotics". Next we split into two
groups: builders and programmers. Mr. Boggs is working with the
programmers. Our builders had a friendly competition to see which team
could be the first to build a Tankbot that would travel in a straight
line. Most of our Tankbots wanted to steer off to the left, but finally
one team was able to make the adjustments just right and theirs went
perfectly straight. That's when one of the teams got the idea to trade
out the tank treads for big wheels. They raced a Tankbot with treads.
The Tankbot with wheels really went fast! We discovered that when you
want to go fast, wheels are the way to go, but when you have to do heavy
duty moving (like up small steps), tank treads would probably be better!
In ATP today we split into
two groups. Half of us worked at ocean research and developing "fat,
juicy" questions. The other half of us worked at building and repairing
tankbots. Our Mars Rover group continued to work on their rover.
In class today we again
picked up the challenge to build and rebuild tankbots. We are practicing
putting them back together from various stages of being "broken"
so that we understand better how the parts work together, and can fix
them on the spot if we need to!
Today in class we started
building our first robots. These robots were "tankbots". Four out of our
six groups completed the building part and got their tankbots to move
forward! One other team made it half-way, and the sixth team worked on a
Mars Rover. Travis and Derek are learning how to
program the robots using RIS. In the meantime, Mr.
Whitaker is building our competition tables -- THANKS!!!
We held our first Lego
Club meeting after school Friday, October 7th. While enjoying a treat
we watched a movie showing what the competition was all about and what
it looked like. Then we took some time to play around with the parts
to see what we could make. A special thanks goes out to Mr. Bill Boggs
for volunteering his help in getting us started in our First Lego
League competition. He and his son Travis have been Lego robot-ing at
home for quite some time!