Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Beauty of a Bot

So, this last weekend, we took our oldest up to Moscow to participate in the Idaho FIRST Tech Challenge Championships with the team from his school. Mostly, this involved TLoML and I wandering around our old stomping grounds engaging in excessive acts of nostalgia, while he worked on the robot with his team making sure everything was ready for the competition.

The team participated in 6 matches -- 1 didn't count on their overall score. I got somewhat iffy video of four of the five that did count. Like with many things, I don't think the youtube video captures the excitement of it all, but it might come close.

Beauty Bot starts on the far right of the screen here

Beauty Bot starts on the far left of the screen

Beauty Bot begins this match directly in front of (and blocked from view) by the umpire on the bottom of the screen. Best angle I could get -- sorry.

Beauty Bot starts on the far right of the screen here

If one of us has time in the next few days, I might add some more information about the videos.

Anyway, the team and the robot performed a lot better than they did last year, and it was a blast to see them at work. In addition to just doing better, they won an award -- the Think Award, which is described as
Given to the team that best reflects the "journey" the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. The engineering section of the notebook is the key reference for judges to help identify the most deserving team. Journal entries of interest to judges for this award will include those describing the underlying science and mathematics of the robot design and game strategies, the designs, re-designs, successes, and those 'interesting moments' when things weren't going as planned.
They also came in second for the Inspire Award
Given to the team that truly embodied the 'challenge' of the FTC program. The team that receives this award is chosen by the judges as having best represented a 'role-model' FTC Team. This team is a top contender for all other judging categories and is a strong competitor on the field.
Better than just the nice words, coming in 2nd to that, got the team a spot in the FTC West Super-Regional Championship next month. So that's a month of scrambling to make some improvements to the robot and fundraising to get the team to California. Good thing they've got nothing like studying to distract them.

Here's a shot of our boy holding the Think Award and smiling -- something I have a hard time capturing on filman image, but he couldn't help himself when I shot it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I'm Like Rasputin

Good grief, it's been a year and a half (and change) since I've done anything here. I've started a new blog devoted to my book reviews, but lately I've had a hankering to write things that don't belong there. Might as well try to resurrect this thing again.

We'll see how it goes this time. I've got to clean up the list of links, and other settings and whatnot. Blogger's changed so much the controls are barely recognizable -- I may get this posted, or I might activate Skynet in the attempt.

Is anybody still listening?