8/16/10 Cougar Tweaking(again, again, again) PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 August 2010 20:50
So tonight, we worked on finishing up our routine rebuilding.  Basically, we made the robot go over walls in a more efficient way(which oddly enough is backwards!)  and from there we just made things work more towards the sweet spots.  well thats it for now, oh wait!  we timed our run.....can we have another minute please :D? -Philip
Last Updated on Sunday, 22 August 2010 15:18
 
Cougar v6 MoonBot Rover in Action PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. M. Judith Radin   
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 10:03

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The Cougar v6 MoonBot Rover takes on the first part of the MoonBots lunar course.  The v6 rover turns and maneuvers easily on the LEGO pip terrain.  It climbs walls, and locates its position on the lunar surface using the combined readouts of compass and proximity sensors.  Check out the home-made Omni wheels on the back.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:44
 
Cougar Omni Wheels - Our Secret Weapon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joey   
Thursday, 19 August 2010 08:30

Our first robot had great traction and could turn.  It had 4 wheel steering and 4 wheel drive.  But it was heavy, and it was not KISS.  It had an NXT brick, 3 NXT motors, a power-factors battery pack, and infrared link from the nxt, and 2 power factors motors.   

Our next 4 wheel drive tests showed that a robot with 4 wheel drive and good traction on all wheels doesn't like to turn.  And when it does turn it tends to warp the chassis while it's doing so.  It puts a lot of strain on everything.

What we really needed were Omni wheels like FRC & FTC sometimes use.  Too bad LEGO doesn't make omni wheels, right?

Well LEGO may not make omni wheels but the Cougars do.  These are our 2nd generation omni wheels.  The first ones were 2 pips smaller in diameter and didn't have rubber on the tires.  The were great for turning, and worked great if we were square to the pips on the field, where they could dig in.  But they didn't give us enough traction when climbing ridges or when at a diagonal to the pips on the field.  

These latest omni wheels are bigger, have rubber tread for great traction, and help us spin on a dime.  With these wheels the turns are predictable, because the front wheels pretty much control where we end up.  Yet with 4 wheel drive these wheels help us navigate the difficult terrain of the LEGO Moon. 

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 August 2010 15:17
 
The Evolution of the Cougar v6 Chassis PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 10:28

Here's our v3, v4 (what's left of them, v5, & v6 chassis.

Note the longer arms we've gone to on the v5 & v6 chassis. The v6 chassis also switches the drive-train from chain to gears. 

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 August 2010 15:16
 
8/16/10 Tweaking the Cougar v6 Rover PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 20:12
So, to all those who read this blog(not sure how many people that is Undecided) but here's what is new!:  We have for the most part finished our run!!!(HIP-HIP!)  This means that we can grab all but the southernmost yellow rings on the right side of the field.  We are tweaking the programming to make climbing out of craters easier to do, and more reliable.  Once we have that done, we will begin making timer programs as back up plans.  This means that the robot will keep track of the 3 minute run countdown, and if something should go wrong, leaving it with a short amount of time(too short to finish the run), it will head back to the starting ramp, so that we can at least double the points of the rings we already have.  Several of these back up plans will be programmed in to various points in the run as fail-safes.  Lastly, if the robot has enough time left, we may program it to decide based on time whether it thinks it should try to grab the last two yellow rings.  With not a lot of days left we are entering CRUNCH TIME!  It seems like our goals are now just within our grasp if we keep working as hard as we have been! :D
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 August 2010 20:48
 
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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