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2007-08 Teams:
FTC Team 7 * FLL Team 10
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FTC Blog 2007-2008

* We Visit SURVICE Engineering in Belcamp, Maryland, to Share Our Work

DSC_0925Blog.JPGThanks to the gracious hospitality of SURVICE Engineering, in Belcamp, MD, our JFLL, FLL, and FTC teams were able to present their work to a group of engineers and analysts (and their children!) SURVICE is a long-standing and successful technology company close associated with  the Aberdeen/Edgewood Proving Grounds. They specialize in survivability testing. Visit the website at for more information.

The amazing part was that it was the first time we had all three teams in one place and what a group it was! A sea of white hats and red, blue, and black shirts. Each team presented their work and deftly handled questions. From the youngest to the oldest we couldn't have been prouder of these kids and how well they did.

Click here for our pictures:

* Ring lifting prototype abandoned. Highly automated solution pursued.
DSC_0772Blog.JPGBuild session 1,345,678. We continue the challenge of picking up those rings.

Our team cat, Darcy, found a home in the middle of our 'bot and slept through a long build session.

Our original, and operational, ring flipper device proved to require too much precision in positioning. We documented it and went to the next solution. It is a killer and of course we tell you a thing about it.

Matt and Rachel continued to refine the lifting ramp. Gotta love those VEX chains.

Check out our pictures...

* Continuing to work on the robot. New drive system. Work on alignment devices.
DSC_0551Blog.JPGFTC continued working on their device to lift rings.

They continue to learn that putting ideas into gears is a difficult task.

So now with some extra time during the winter break they will put in extra hours to finish 'the build.'



See our pictures...

* Build Session: Making ideas work is hard work indeed.
DSC_0350Blog.JPGEveryone returned from the Thanksgiving break ready to work.

As you now know this year's challenge is largely a materials handling task.

Can you pickup the rings? Can you move them up to the poles? Can you do it every time.

We're now on iteration 5 of our ideas. Test, fail, evaluate refine. It's hard work.

We now have about 5 weeks to get ready for our first tournament in Delaware. And, as you'll see, our cat is back and ready to work!

See our photos....

* Continuing to work on the robot. New drive system. New ring lifter.
DSC_0025Blog.JPGThe teams learns that building anything with more than one part is hard work. Getting the various devices to actually work as imagined is very difficult.

We continued work on our ball lifter for low poles and the unique ring scooper.

If they work together well (next few weeks) we'll be ready for our state chamionships and hopefully, Worlds.

See our pictures:

* FTC Digs into a Solution
DSC_0018Blog.JPGWe can't show any pics (without giving away our ideas). But we're hard at work.

A new, radical quad drive base is being developed with innovate wheel positions.

A unique 'ring lifter' device is being refined which will be combined with a transport mechanism for delivery to the posts.

So now it's time to buckle down and get ready for the competitions.

* FTC Re-Strategizes and Begins to Build A Working Solution
DSC00973Blog.JPGAfter a scimmage and some restrategizing the team began to rebuild the 'bot for maximum scoring.

We discarded ideas about flinging competing robots from the field and shooting rings at the opposing teams.

Instead we got to work solving the real challenge of picking up the rings and getting them in position to be lifted to the poles. This week we refined our top-secret ring lifter. Next week to the poles.

Check out our pictures:

* FTC Techbrick competes in the Duel on the Delaware Scrimmage and places third in rankings.
DSC00801Blog.JPGOn Saturday, October 13, 2007 our team joined 8 other teams in our first organized scrimage.

The teams practiced from 9-12 and then started a 22-round scrimmage. This gave each team 10 runs allowing for numerous robot modifications and a real test of the strategy requirements of the QQ game play.

There were some advanced ring-lifters. One thing was very clear: Handling the rings is going to be a real challenge.

See our photos

* Our Second Big Build Session
DSC_2750Blog.JPGThe team again met from 3:30 to 9:00 to refine their ideas. They rebuilt every component to reflect their research.

A new base was constructed along with some novel materials handling devices.

As we all know, the rings in this year's challenge are harder than cats to herd.

So now it's time to finish up and prepare for the Delaware Scrimmage on Saturday, October 13, in Salem, NJ for a learning session for the new members and a review for our alumni.

See our photos:

* Our First Big Build Session (And we can't tell you what we're doing)
DSC_1519Blog.JPGToday we brainstormed a few more ideas about the robot. We also worked on our "ring lifting device". Today, Thomas worked on the programming and we installed EasyC Pro but it did not fully work. While Thomas worked on the programming every one else pitched in on working on the base of the robot and the "ring lifting device".

When we were done workng with our "ring lifting device", we began to test what we had built so far. It will need a few improvments but hope to have it fully working soon.

See our photos...

* Review the challenge and prepare for saturday
DSC_0662Blog.JPGToday we disasembled a vex robot so that we could build a new experimental one . As a group we discussed many designs that we could possibly use in the quad quadrant compition, the goal is to make a robot that can put rings on a goal post . This Saturday we are going to the Deleware open house from 10:00 to 12:00.

See our pictures:

* FTC Meeting 2: Review the System
DSC_0031.JPGThe FTC team met on Thursday. We did our team photo and individual photos so we could start our log book.

Then we reviewed all the components and devices in the VEX system for our four new members.

New members were directed to review the robust on line forums to get an idea of the range of robots that have been built with VEX. Next week, of course, we plow into the challenge!

See our photos here:

* First Meeting of FTC
Our team met for the first fall meeting today. The goals: To review our summers, all the key distinctives of our program, and all key first documents and literature.

Three of our returning team members have worked together for the past three years through FLL and now a second year of FTC. Three are new to our group (and each other). We had them each share the highlights of their summer. Mark traveled to Texas and visited the 'Museum of Texas Culture.' Matt went to sailing and multi-media camps. Brady worked all summer at our local aquarium and learned the hard lessons of being a public representative. Amy traveled to Mexico to work in an orphanage and participated in three-week engineering camp. Rachel went to a games convention for her favorite on-line game. Thomas taught tennis and won an award for woodworking at our county and state fairs.

We then reviewed all our key methodology and the FIRST Core Values. The three returning team members, who had been in Atlanta, shared their thoughts about the competition and some of the nuances of pit area, rounds, and eliminations.

Next week: Review all VEX systems components for the new members and discuss their various roles for the season.


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