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
  • Invisible Inequities Training: Toward a Bias-Free FIRST Front-Line?
    As many of you were preparing for the holiday season in 2016 and feeling one way or another just after the U.S. Presidential election, FIRST®launched Invisible Inequities—a free, online training module to grapple with bias and help create more diverse, inclusive and equitable teams.

    FIRST Diversity and Inclusion has been collaborating with NAPE to design a training series for Coaches, Mentors, Volunteers, Partners and other key stakeholders who work directly with students. Invisible Inequities is the first of three online modules offered and help participants:
    ·         Identify examples of cultural stereotypes and bias and how they affect equitable participant engagement on FIRSTteams,
    ·         Reflect on differences between their team demographics and their community demographics, and
    ·         Apply strategies to recruit participants from underrepresented and underserved groups.

    So, is it possible to be totally bias-free as you are recruiting team members and interacting with them in FIRST Tech Challenge or our other three programs? No. We know that culture shapes your biases and beliefs about people based on their age, gender, race, language, (dis)ability, or income level—usually without your realization. “The mind is a difference-seeking machine,” is the best way to think about it. Globally recognized for her work on Implicit Bias, Mahzarin Banaji says your hidden biases cause you to create order of the innumerable details you’re processing at any given moment and make reasonable assumptions. However, that “firewall” in your mind sometimes governs your thoughts and behaviors, shapes your preferences, and can create a Blindspot—the mind’s quick, incomplete sorting judgments about someone’s “character, abilities, and potential” to thrive.

    FIRST is committed to bringing its programs to students who would benefit most and to address inequities in STEM. FIRST has set a strategic priority of making its programs more inclusive and better representing the communities where teams are located. We are not currently as diverse as we would like to be and certain underrepresented and underserved students feel marginalized. A 35 minute to 1-hour length training could never attain bias-eradication. That’s not feasible. Acknowledging your bias allows you to laser-like focus on strategies that deny your biases the chance to influence student recruitment, roles and retention on teams. Through engaging and reflective activities on the power of culture on your interactions with students, these modules will equip you with specific strategies to support community outreach, student participation, persistence, engagement and success.


    When asked, “How likely is it that you will change the way you creating an inclusive environment for your team as a result of participating in the Invisible Inequities training module?”, nearly 87% of training survey completers to date say they are very likely to change or somewhat likely to change.  “So now, knowing my bias, I will try to compensate in recruiting all different groups. I was going to say recruit them equally but now after following the module, I will say that I need to approach this with equity in mind--not equality,” reflects Jared Hasen-Klein, a high school junior and Director of Team Operations at Team 1836: The MilkenKnights who’s not only taken the training, but also participated in the training design youth focus group.

    That’s the kind of consciousness competence shifting and triggered action-planning we are hoping for! We know the training has potential for impact, but we need to engage a critical mass of Coaches and Mentors. Kudos to the FIRST VISTA Members and management team for incentivizing training participation in the underserved communities where they have a presence! I DID IT is the simple message members email along with the certificate of completion to be entered in a drawing to win some pretty fabulous prizes.




    Have you completed the module? What will you do to spread the word and encourage engagement within your sphere of influence? The training module is free and accessible to anyone through Schoology Learning Management System. To start, fill out the module access form, and you will receive instructions on how join the course.

    Post By: Shelley Henderson, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, FIRST