Kickoff: A Freshman Perspective
When I walked into the Montgomery High School on Saturday January 7th for the FIRST Robotic Competition 2017 Kickoff, I was both nervous and excited. I couldn't wait to find out what my life was going to be dedicated to for the upcoming season. It was thrilling to see how they presented the game. The anticipation was heavy as we waited for the other teams to arrive. We split into different groups to go to workshops. I chose Gearboxes and Drive Trains. It was nice to have a refresher for parts of the robot. Following the workshop, everyone went to see the game reveal. It was exciting seeing the different videos of the teams but the best part was finally knowing what the 2017 game was. Overall, it was really fun and everyone was incredibly welcoming.
Full Steam Ahead: Nemesis FLIES Into 2017!
Even the threat of a winter storm could not deter them. On January 7th 2017, thousands of FIRST Robotics teams around the world held their breath as they anxiously awaited the release of the 2017 game. Each year at Kickoff, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) provides these high school robotics students with a new challenge to hone their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills at competitive regional, district-wide, and international events. The Kickoff marks the beginning of 6 hectic weeks to design, prototype, and build a robot to effectively address the game challenge.
On the frigid Saturday morning, robotics teams from high schools in North Brunswick, Bridgewater-Raritan, Ewing, West Windsor-Plainsboro, and Allentown joined Robbinsville's Nemesis Team 2590 at Montgomery High School for the Kickoff of the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition season.
Before the game reveal, students were able to attend a multitude of workshops hosted by Montgomery High School's own robotics team, Cougar Robotics. Providing instruction in a variety of subjects such as gearboxes, pneumatics, sensors, and Autodesk Inventor (a CAD - Computer Aided Design - program), the workshops served as an efficient way to assist students in learning some concepts that would benefit them in the upcoming build season.
"The gearbox workshop was extremely insightful," commented Robbinsville sophomore, Morgan Serra. "It especially helps new robotics members like myself to understand this topic before we begin to brainstorm. Without this workshop I would've been totally confused throughout build season!"
Excitement buzzed through the air as teams gathered in the auditorium and waited for the NASA-TV webcast to start, live from FIRST Headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire. As the game was revealed, the applause was deafening. Introducing the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition challenge... FIRST Steamworks!
FIRST Steamworks, inspired by steam power technology from the Industrial Revolution, features two alliances of three robots each. The game starts with a 15 second autonomous period in which robots operate solely through pre-coded instructions. The remaining 2 minutes and 15 seconds of each match consists of fierce competition between the alliances in which robots are driven by student drivers. Each alliance's goal is to prepare their airship for takeoff by collecting as much fuel (balls) as possible and shooting it into the boiler (goals). They must also deliver gears to the pilots (human players) on their airship in the middle of the field who will install them in order to start the engines. In the last 30 seconds of the match, robots can latch onto the airship by climbing a thick rope, which earns them additional points. The alliance with the most points at the end of the match wins!
Feeling adrenalized after the game reveal, Nemesis members are already overflowing with ideas on how to design this year's robot.
“This is definitely much different from last year, especially with a drive team member on the field for the first time in FIRST Robotics history,” remarked senior and Build Executive Harsha Pavuluri. “With the many aspects of the game, I can’t wait to hear what the team comes up with!”
Nemesis will be competing at Hatboro-Horsham High School on March 4-5th, at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy on March 18-19th, and at the Festival de Robotique in Montreal, Canada on March 23-25th. Nemesis hopes to qualify for the FIRST Mid-Atlantic District Championship at Lehigh University and the FIRST Championship in St. Louis.
Nemesis would like to thank their sponsors for their continued success: Robbinsville High School, NAVAIR, CCL Label, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Nordson, Robbinsville Education Association, Leidos, Triangle East Windsor, Skylink Technology Inc., Northstar Vets, RAS Process Equipment, Designtree, EAG, Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, Robbinsville Education Foundation, Lockheed Martin, SRI International, McGraw Hill Financial, Siemens, and Investors Bank.
2017 Week 5: Build Journal
Concluding Build Season’s fifth week indicates we are in the homestretch. Prototyping has come to an end, and with a finalized CAD, the Build Team is working together towards fabrication and assembly of both the practice and competition robots.
Major headway was made by the Fabrication and Design students. Night and day, hours have been poured into the machining of various parts, including the shooter, intake, climber, drivetrain, et cetera. With the drive base complete, the addition of bumpers to ensure safety is a priority.
The Electrical Team’s schedule has been mainly comprised of testing each of the robot’s major functions. At this point, the wiring of both motors and sensors has been completed. One of this week’s Electrical successes is the practice bot’s mobility. The Team’s new focus includes the shooter and intake functionality.
This week, the Software Team coded controls for shooting, and configured the beginning of the autonomous routine. With prototype testing complete, the Team’s focus was working on an algorithm that efficiently maximizes the robot’s mobility. The Software team is ardently waiting to test on the competition bot.
With Build Season’s final week here, the entire team’s atmosphere reflects one of a community as members collectively work to finish the competition robot. Everyone is excited to see what our newest addition can do!
2017 Week 4: Marketing Journal
Heading into Week 4 of Build Season, the Marketing Team’s minds were all but fixed on one thing: Sponsor Networking Night. On Wednesday evening, we all waited anxiously as our gracious sponsors and parents began to flood the halls. With everyone assigned a sponsor or parent, we spent the night showing them our hard work. In the hallways, we were proud to explain our amazing showcases, filled with awards, trophies and achievements. In the Tech Lab, the Build Team executives revealed this year’s game, FIRST Steamworks. Meanwhile, Marketing members gave an astounding presentation of our 2016 accomplishments. The event went flawlessly, with our sponsors and parents all left with smiles on their faces. Everyone on Nemesis was elated, but at the same time slightly disappointed, as we realized that our exciting and much-awaited Sponsor Networking night had come to a close.
With the end of Sponsor Networking Night came the beginning of preparation for the Competition Season. Our team began to finalize designs for our T-Shirts, both our annual shirt and our special edition 10th year anniversary shirt. Other Marketing members worked on perfecting the Chairman's and the Woodie Flowers Awards.
The Finance Team continued to innovate and improve on the Business Plan. They are also planning to take new members of the Marketing team to businesses to interact with local sponsors.
The Logistics Team worked on the Montreal Travel Presentation and gathering every team member's schedule to determine their competition availability.
As Build Season draws to an end, Nemesis cannot wait to compete in another season of FIRST Robotics action. We look forward to the final two weeks of this exhausting, yet rewarding, experience, and can’t wait for the season to start!
2017 Week 4: Build Journal
With the build season approaching its climax, the team has kicked production into high gear to fabricate, test, and refine their design. Most team members are spending five to eight hours in the tech lab every day, tweaking elements of the design, testing and retesting each subsystem to build a machine of maximum efficiency. Prototyping has come to a close, and a final drivetrain has been manufactured.
While the Design Subteam finalizes the CAD, the other build members continue to build upon the practice bot. The team has also begun constructing the competition bot— the practice bot’s more polished, mechanically identical twin.
The different subsystem teams are ready for integration, after successful testing with wooden prototypes. The subteams are currently waiting on their parts to be machined and assembled on the practice bot for further trials.
Meanwhile, the Electrical Subteam continues to work on wiring new motors and sensors. The Software Team has started to code the drivetrain and the prospective subsystems in advance, and is eagerly awaiting the chance to test the code on the finished product.
As week 5 approaches, members buckle up and prepare to charge FULL STEAM AHEAD!
2017 Week 3: Build Journal
As the build season reaches its midpoint, the team reaches an all time high in productivity. With the design team coming to a final decision for the robot and the fabrication team starting to mill, router, and lathe the various parts, an image of the final product begins to take form. The drivetrain for the practice robot has been finished and dusted as our driver begins to practice driving. The electrical team is hard at work fulfilling all the needs from test boards for prototyping the electronics on the robot.
Prototyping teams are moving to finalize their designs for two shooters, a linear and a fly wheel. It’s a friendly competition within the team to see who finishes first! The intake and climber prototypes have been finalized after several successful runs of each to ensure maximum effectiveness.
After a few minor setbacks, the team worked as efficiently as possible to remain on schedule. As build season continues, our robot is coming closer and closer together, a trend we hope to continue moving into and through Week 4.
Sponsor Networking Event 2016
With the commotion of the 2016 FIRST Robotics build season at an all time high, Robbinsville High School’s (RHS) Robotics Team Nemesis FRC 2590, held their annual Sponsor Networking Night on Wednesday, February 3rd to demonstrate their gratuity and appreciation for their generous sponsors and parents. The evening showcased Nemesis’ culture, the 2015 season, and a look towards 2016. Chief Financial Officer Colin Riley and Chief Operations Officer Juhi Rajgopal gave a presentation familiarizing sponsors with the team’s financial status. Meanwhile, in the RHS Technology Lab, Senior Build Executive/Drive Coach Parth Mandrekar and Safety Captain Charlie D’Amico educated attendees on the 2016 FRC Challenge, FIRST Stronghold and on the progress and design of the 2016 robot.
Following the presentation, Mr. Gaetan Mangano of NAVAIR announced, “I was blown away by how well-organized and thoughtful this event was. I’m incredibly impressed with the enthusiasm everyone has shown on this team.”
The Marketing Team coached Build Team members on public speaking and presentation skills ensuring they uphold Nemesis’ reputation for excellence. The hours dedicated to preparing for Sponsor Networking Night paid off. The evening was an unquestionable success.
Robbinsville Town Council member Dan Schuberth was beyond impressed by Nemesis, “I wanted to thank you for the warm welcome and wonderful presentation at Wednesday evening's event. I was so impressed by the organization, professionalism, and passion demonstrated by every single person I met. You folks have built a powerhouse organization, and I am confident that you'll be successful in this year's challenge.”
For new team members this is an event like nothing they have experienced before. Freshman Marketing Team member Ethan Silberberg gives an impeccable description of his participation in Sponsor Networking Night, “It was amazing to talk to successful business executives and have them recognize us as a force to be reckoned with.”
Nemesis’ 2016 Sponsor Networking Night was a success, which can be attributed to all of the sponsors and parents and their continued belief in Nemesis. For that, Nemesis would like to give a special thanks to: Robbinsville High School, Navair, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CCL Label, Lockheed Martin, Investors Bank, Siemens, Robbinsville Education Association, RAS Process Equipment, Evans Analytical Group, Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, The McGraw Hill Financials, Carfaro, Robbinsville Education Foundation, Gilbane, Designtree, Northstar Vets, SRI International, Triangle Copy, Coldwell Banker, as well as the Friends and Family of Nemesis.
If you are interested in supporting Nemesis or would like additional information, please contact Team Advisor Joy Wolfe at email@example.com.
2016 Week 3: Marketing Journal
It's hard to believe week three is already coming to a close! All week, the Marketing Team has scrambled to add the finishing touches for its annual Sponsor Networking Night! Ribbon and other decorative touches were added to the recently updated showcase, making it appear more beautiful than ever. New pictures were printed and added to the Chairman’s board to showcase all we have done since the past season when the judges last laid eyes on it. Our business plan and Chairman's Award submissions have come a long way recently, in preparation for their due date later this week. Meanwhile, the Finance Team busied themselves contacting current and potential sponsors via cold calls and emails.
The Sponsor Networking Night presentation was completed and is now ready for sponsor viewing. Additionally, our Web Team took official photographs of each subteam along with diligently working on the script for this year’s Chairman's Award video. The Logistics Team had their work cut out for them while continuing to book travel information for our upcoming trips to South Florida, and hopefully St. Louis.
Girls on the team had an especially exciting week filled with a trip to the spa alongside a few of our team mentors. They also visited the NARS makeup counter at Lord & Taylor where they all had their makeup done by professional makeup artists to give our girls a fresh new look in preparation for Sponsor Night.
2016 Week 3: Build Journal
As we close out the first half of build season, we come closer to our final design. Prototyping is almost finished for the main systems. Meanwhile, various groups for smaller subsystems are working feverishly. Small adjustments are all that’s left to do on the intake and shooter. The CAD team is finished with our drivetrain and we have begun to mill the parts.
For the past week, we have been prototyping and developing a multitude of devices to get through the defences, trying to combine multiple subsystems into one to save space and weight. Plans have changed several times to make the intake work.
We have a mostly finished prototype that our driver is currently testing. So far we have been successful in crossing the different terrain types. Still up, getting through the doors and gates. Once we have a successful prototype which can do that we will have a finished prototype robot.
We have had a few minor setbacks, including a blizzard, but that has not slowed down our progress. Thanks to GrabCad, our team was able to work in and out of our Tech Lab. The CAD is nearly complete and our team is running the mill whenever possible in this race against the clock. Once the frame is milled and assembled we can work towards adding subsystems to our robot. With the team entering the second half of build season we can only guess what will happen. Hopefully week 4 can as productive as the previous weeks have been.
2016 Week 2: Marketing Journal
Woah! Week 2 of build season has already reached an end and the marketing team had their work cut out for them! Everyone on the marketing team continued to work countless hours to put the finishing touches on our annual sponsor night event, which is next Wednesday, February 3. Invitations have been sent out and now we patiently wait for the responses from our generous sponsors. Our beautiful showcase in the main hallway of the high school is finally up to date and we couldn't be happier. Logistics is currently finalizing our trips to South Florida and St.Louis for competition season travel. Finance is working vigorously on updating our business plan as well as overseeing invitation responses. Meanwhile, the sponsor PowerPoint is being perfected and polished to ensure our sponsors are up to date and fully aware of all our 2015 successes and our plans for the 2016 season.
Next on our agenda is to coach our build members on the current FAQs and prepare the whole team for sponsor night, ensuring that the team can present themselves in a professional and polished manor. All in all, this week has been yet another success on the Marketing side of Nemesis, and we can not wait to see what the third week brings us.
2016 Week 2: Build Journal
An intensive Week 2 of build season finally comes to a close. It has been a dramatic week as the build team had to work fast, due to an impending winter storm. The blizzard of 2016 cost us 3 valuable days of prototyping, CADing and building which made week 2 seem to fly by. After a review of week 1, the build team divided into subteams. Each lead by a mentor and at least 2 upperclassmen so that every aspect of the game could be covered. Subteams began to work on initial prototypes ranging from scoring systems to drivetrains. Our mentors also began to build different field elements for our team. We appreciate them for dedicating so much time to Nemesis.
Throughout week 2, prototype subteams continued to develop and create different mechanisms and drivetrains to overcome the defenses as well as scoring boulders. As field elements became available, subteams began testing their systems and refining them to near perfection. Later in the week, subteams started to combine the individual systems to eventually form a fully prototyped robot that can overcome most obstacles.
While the prototypes were being perfected the design team worked hard on concept sketches and began to develop the final CAD of the robot. They also refined the designs of the prototypes so that they will work with the layout of the robot. Although work in the lab was brought to a halt due to Winter Storm Jonas, the design team was able to collaborate over GrabCad and continue progress on the final CAD of the robot from home. With Week 3 beginning, fabrication of the final robot is expected to begin shortly.
2016 Week 1: Marketing Journal
Week one is over and it has been busy! The Marketing Team has been preparing for Nemesis’ annual Sponsor Networking Night. The invitations have been made and are on their way to the post office. In the meantime, the powerpoint and oral presentations for the evening are being created. Team members are excited to meet sponsors and present all of the hard work we’ve done so far. In the weeks leading up to Sponsor Networking Night, the Marketing Team will be enlightening Build Team members on presentation techniques and how to carry themselves properly, ensuring the entire team will have a polished and professional demeanor.
Furthermore, the showcases are being updated with a new set of wings and the awards and trophies won in the 2015 season. Logistics has been working diligently to plan the team’s South Florida and St. Louis trips. Finally, the Finance Team has sent letters thanking sponsors for recent donations as well as continuing the search for potential sponsors. All in all, week one has been a huge success for the Marketing Team. They jumped headfirst into the work needed to be done during build season.
2016 Week 1: Build Journal
Finally! The long awaited build season is upon us. All of us here at Nemesis are excited and already hard at work. We kicked off the week with a full team game analysis meeting where we held enthusiastic discussions on how to approach this year’s challenge-- FIRST Stronghold! After hours of brainstorming and sketching our design ideas, we picked ideas and started prototyping. Shooting the boulders and overcoming outer work defensive field elements were our priorities. Subteams were assigned to prototype several methods to achieve these tasks. In this past week, we have successfully accomplished prototyping several subsystems for our robot, such as the intake, shooting, traversing difficult terrain, and even overcoming some of the most difficult obstacles.
Both catapult style and flywheel powered shooters were designed earlier in the week and have been refined and are now consistently reaching our desired target, the high goal of the castle. Our underclassmen were heavily involved in the creation and development of these prototypes, and we are proud to see them getting so involved this early in their FIRST Robotics career. As far as getting our ball into our shooter, our intake prototypes are able to bring in the ball quite effectively. We modified our old kit-bots with pneumatic wheels to stagger our way across the low field elements. We are looking to improve our drivetrain in this upcoming week by designing our very own custom rhino tank drive! Subteams have been working on creating an elevator rotating hook mechanism to actuate the more complex field defenses. These designs still require further improvement, but more on that next week. We are excited to combine our prototypes and turn them into a honed machine that will hopefully lead us into an exciting competition season.
Prepare Your Robots, Stronghold is Coming
Let the countdown begin! On January 9, 2016, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics teams around the world waited impatiently to discover what game would rule their lives for the next year. The task: build a competition robot in a short 6-week period with finite resources. Each year, FIRST releases a new challenge that gives high school students the opportunity to test their robotics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) knowledge in competitions at local, regional and international events.
Nemesis, Robbinsville High School’s FIRST Robotics Team, along with robotics teams from Allentown, Bridgewater-Raritan, Hamilton, Hightstown, Moorestown, and North Brunswick gathered at Montgomery High School for the kickoff of the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition season, excited to watch the NASA-TV webcast revealing this year’s challenge.
A collection of workshops led by members of Montgomery’s own Cougar Robotics taught students a variety of subjects including Autodesk Inventor (a Computer-Aided Design --CAD-- program), pneumatics, gearboxes, and sensors.“The workshops are a great way to start the new season. Using Autodesk Inventor challenged me in a new way and I would love to work with it again!” stated senior and Director of Marketing and Communications Mitaali Taskar.
Anticipation was high as teams gathered in the auditorium for the live stream launch of the 2016 challenge. Students held their collective breath as they waited for the game to be announced. As the countdown neared its end, the crowd went wild. The official challenge of the 2016 season would be called FIRST STRONGHOLD!
FIRST STRONGHOLD, a medieval battle-inspired game, involves two alliances of three robots each who defend their castle while storming the opposing alliance’s citadel. They can elect to utilize a spy robot in enemy territory. The end goal of the game is to capture the enemy’s tower by successfully shooting balls into the opposing castle tower then surrounding it. The match begins with a 15-second autonomous period, when the robots are controlled solely by pre-written code. The remainder of the battle is 2 minutes and 15 seconds of intense, student-driven robot competition.
Nemesis is very excited to tackle this year's challenge and build upon the success of the 2015 season, where the team won the Hatboro-Horsham and North Brunswick District Events, the Montreal Regional, and competed at the FIRST World Championship. In addition, the team was recognized for its advantageous robot design with the Excellence in Engineering Award at both the Hatboro-Horsham District and Montreal Regional competitions.
“Although a much more complicated game than last year, we hope to repeat our prior success and continue learning throughout the build sesaon,” stated Build Executive and senior Parth Mandrekar.
Most notably, in 2015, was the strong performance of Nemesis’ Business Team. The students’ comprehensive business plan and business acumen was recognized with the Entrepreneurship Award not only at the district level at North Brunswick, but also at the international level at the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis. Triumphing at the global level for the second consecutive year, Nemesis was recognized as one of the four strongest Business Teams in the world.
In the 2016 season, Nemesis will compete at the Hatboro-Horsham and Lenape-Seneca District competitions and the South Florida Regional in West Palm Beach, Florida. Qualification for the FIRST Mid-Atlantic District Championship and FIRST World Championship is dependent upon the team’s performance at the district and regional competitions. The team is always looking for financial and material sponsors and technical mentors. If you are interested in supporting the team please visit our website FRC2590.org.
Nemesis would like to thank their sponsors. Without them, none of this would be possible: Robbinsville High School, NAVAIR, Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, CCL Label, Siemens Corp., Lockheed Martin, Investor’s Bank, Robbinsville Education Association, Robbinsville Education Foundation, Designtree, Carfaro, Gilbane, RAS Process Equipment, EAG, Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, Triangle Copy, SRI International, The McGraw Hill Financial, NorthStar VETS and Coldwell Banker .
Discovering Innovation at Discovery Day 2015
On Saturday, December 5th and Sunday, December 6th, Robbinsville High School’s FIRST Robotics Team FRC 2590 Nemesis invited 2nd through 6th graders to venture into the world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) for the day. In total, around 120 campers, split between four sessions, attended Nemesis’ Discovery Day at Robbinsville High School. These campers were separated into teams of two or three and paired with a Nemesis team member as a mentor, who served as guides to the eager campers.
Nemesis Discovery Day consisted of two unique challenges, one for second and third graders and another for fourth through sixth graders. The younger groups were tasked with constructing “robot soccer players” using legos and simple motors. The first robot they created had to be a goalie that “blocked” shots from the opposing alliance. The second robot they designed had to be able to shoot and score goals. Both robots were controlled by a switch box and connected to two motors, enabling campers to drive their creation. Robots then competed against opposing teams to try and score the most goals possible.
This small taste of the intricacies of engineering left the campers with a greater appreciation and excitement for world around them. As described by Nemesis mentor and sophomore Julia Ruch,”I absolutely adored watching my campers improve upon their already existing ideas. By the end of the day they were all miniature engineering prodigies and I loved it!”
For the other challenge, more experienced campers were put to the test using Lego NXT, a more advanced operating system, which could be controlled by a joystick or autonomously through a Lego Mindstorms program coded by the campers. They created robots that could play a game simulating a robotic version of Hungry, Hungry Hippos. After their robots were carefully assembled, the campers strategized a way to win each of the two-minute matches. In these matches, each team’s robot had to collect ping-pong balls with various point values and raced them back to their home corner.
The campers also had the opportunity to explore FLL (First Lego League) and meet with fourth through eighth graders on Team IDK and Team Shock Wave. The FLL team members and mentors showcased their 2015 season robot in order to excite the campers and promote the FLL program. They discussed the 2015 FLL Challenge, Trash Trek, an exciting environmentally- themed challenge in which teams raced to complete as many missions as possible in a limited amount of time.
Not only did the campers view Nemesis’ past competition robots, they also experienced driving Prince, the team’s 2012 basketball shooting robot, and Bellerophon, the team’s 2014 yoga ball shooting robot. Many of the campers were incredibly excited to have the opportunity to drive and control a robot as advanced as Prince or Bellerophon. Nemsis’ competition driver, Christian Gavalchin elaborated, “The campers were ecstatic, their faces were full of joy when they learned they would be able to shoot an NBA worthy robot.”
Campers also had the opportunity to interact with the highly interactive NAO humanoid robot. The NAO robot performed a routine including push-ups, and two dances Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the Macarena.
It was a successful weekend for all. Ping-pong balls flew, winning teams cheered, robot gears turned. Innovation was in the air. As the event came to a close, mentors bid adieu to their newfound friends and ended their session with a closing ceremony--and pizza, of course. As Build Team member and junior Michael Cocciolillo described the day, “I loved working with the campers and watching their love for STEAM grow. Discovery Day was definitely a great learning experience for the kids.” Discovery Day 2015 was a raging success and Nemesis looks forward to seeing familiar faces, as well as some new ones, next year.
A Drive to Give
While Autumn may mean changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and upcoming holidays to some, to the members of Nemesis, the Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590, it means contributing to the community.
For the duration of late October to Thanksgiving, Nemesis facilitated its annual food drive by partnering with the students, teachers, and families of Sharon Elementary School with the winning class awarded with a robotics demonstration from members of the team. Spearheaded by 2590’s designated food drive team (freshmen Nicholas Began and Ethan Silberberg, sophomore Jarelle Boac, junior Liam O’Toole, and senior Mitaali Taskar), the drive accumulated over 3,000 donations. While originally planned to be stored at the Robbinsville Food Pantry, the overwhelming amount of food items accrued resulted in a large chunk of the foodstuffs being delivered to the Allentown Food Bank.
While the team initially expected approximately 800 donations by the end of the function, FRC 2590 eventually found itself with literal houses full of cake mix, instant noodles, pasta, cans of soup and (in one case) a bottle of molasses. The cornucopia of non-perishable items required multiple vans and a volunteer crew of 15 students and parents to transfer from their storage depot at a team member’s household and the high school. Upon arriving at the Robbinsville Food Pantry and after starting unloading, the senior center staff realized that the enormous amount of donations would completely fill up their storage. From there, the crew hastily packed the extra crates of food into their cars and rushed over to Allentown’s Food Pantry in order to arrive before it closed for the night. Luckily, the crew reached the church in time to unload its now reasonably sized bounty of only +2,000 cans and return to the school.
A freshman on the marketing team, Ethan Silberberg, elaborated, “You know this event has gone very well when it takes not one, but two, pantries to hold all the donations. I’m extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish and thoroughly impressed with the generosity of the Sharon School Students as well as my fellow teammates.”
The 2015 food drive has been a massive success as well as a demonstration of community values throughout both Robbinsville and Allentown. With the prior record set last year capping off at a little over 1,250 cans and boxes, the number of donations has more than doubled, shattering both the previous record and the team’s expectations.
“I can’t help but smile at the fact that this food will brighten up the days of so many right in time for Thanksgiving,” said Jarelle Boac, a sophomore marketing team member. Ms. Boac was also project leader during the drive and represented the team when coordinating with Sharon Elementary School.
In response to the generosity of both Nemesis and Sharon Elementary, Ms. Joan Witherow of the Allentown Food Pantry wrote, ““A special thank you for your giving spirit. We just can’t thank you enough. We are so grateful...We continue to be busier than ever and with your generosity we will be able to better serve those in need.” Mrs. Renee Burns of the Robbinsville Food Pantry also expressed sincere gratitude towards the overwhelming total of donations.
Overall, FRC 2590 is extremely proud and grateful for all those who helped with the 2015 Annual Food Drive and a special thanks is extended to both the Robbinsville Food Pantry and the Allentown Food Bank for being available to accept the massive number of donations. Moreover, as the drive could not have been successful without them, the team also thanks all of the parents who volunteered their time and vehicles to house and transport the donations.
However, perhaps the most deserving of thanks are the students, families and faculty of Sharon Elementary School. Without their seemingly boundless generosity, the drive would have not have been possible. Nemesis plans to continue embodying an active role in the community and collaborating
If you are interested in donating to the Robbinsville Food Pantry, it is located at the rear of the Robbinsville Senior Center at 1117 U.S. 130, Robbinsville, NJ 08691.
For more information on how to donate, please contact Renee Burns via email at Renee@robbinsville-twp.org or phone at (609) 259-1567 for more information.
If you are interested in donating to the Allentown Food Pantry, it is located at 20 High St, Allentown, NJ 08501.For information on how to donate, please contact by phone (609) 259-7289.
Brunswick Eruption 2015- Build Freshman Perspective
Three, Two, One…Rush! Nemesis competed at the 2015 Brunswick Eruption Competition this past weekend with high hopes. With new drivers and excited freshmen, the team could not wait to compete. Sitting eagerly in the stands, awaiting the first round of matches with scouting papers at hand, the freshmen were eager to witness their first Brunswick Eruption.
The new members arrived at North Brunswick High School with wide eyes and boundless energy, excited to attend a competition and truly understand the FIRST Robotics experience. The 2015 challenge, Recycle Rush, consists of two alliances with three robots each. Robots score points by stacking gray totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with green recycling containers and placing a pool noodle, representing litter, to obtain the maximum number of points. Teams can gain additional points by launching litter to the other side of the field.
Robots built stacks and sometimes even knocked them over, but the scouting training sessions paid off as diligent Nemesis scouters recorded each robot in every match. Pit Scouting helped us comprehend each team’s take on the challenge. We asked other teams questions about their drive systems, types of motors, and unique strategies.
The excitement and buzz of the competition sparked greater anticipation for the upcoming season. Students were intrigued to see the various types of robots and how each robot employed a different strategy in order to win. Not only did we see how the teams worked by themselves, but also how they cooperated in alliances with other teams. Each team was willing to help out others and provide parts if required.
Nemesis had a shaky start, but continued to excel and improve throughout the qualification matches, eventually earning the sixth seed. During alliance selections, the first seeded alliance selected Nemesis. Throughout the playoffs, Nemesis won match after match until they reached the finals. Despite an upsetting loss in the first finals match, Nemesis regrouped and fought back.
The freshmen, inspired by team Nemesis for staying strong throughout the finals, cheered loudly after the victory. Nemesis set a high standard for what the freshmen will be getting involved in for the upcoming build season. We cannot wait to head into the next FIRST Robotics season and compete in the 2016 game: Stronghold!
Nemesis Teaches STEAM to Future Generations!
On November 21, a perfect fall afternoon, over 35 energetic young children and their eager parents gathered at the Robbinsville Public Library for a demonstration of the award-winning FIRST Robotics Team Nemesis 2590’s 2015 competition robot, Calypso. The children watched in awe as Calypso -- who towered over them -- zoomed across the floor from tote to tote, sparking a love for STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.
The demonstration included a brief description of the 2015 season’s game, Recycle Rush, as well as an explanation of how Calypso functions. The young attendees asked questions about how the parts were made, what it’s like to build the robot, and how it feels to compete. Once the robot began moving around the room, all who were in attendance were astonished and impressed.
During the demonstration, the children had the opportunity to learn what autonomous mode was by playing a game similar to “Simon Says”, the only difference being their eyes were closed. Afterwards, Nemesis team members and Build Executives Samantha Young, Christian Gavalchin, and Parth Mandrekar asked questions about engineering and its importance in the real world, to which one young boy responded, “Engineering is like building things for the future”. His answer hit home for the team proving that the STEAM message has resonated with children even at such a young age.
The attendees were also introduced to the Makerbot, a 3D printer that the children were informed could one day feature in their own homes. This was mind boggling to the children and their minds went crazy with ideas of what they could potentially make with their own three-dimensional printer.
After watching the demonstration, many of the parents who brought their young children asked how they could get their children involved with robotics and start up their own team for young children prior to high school. Luckily for them, Nemesis has an annual Discovery Day-- which will be held on December 5th and 6th this year-- where students from second to sixth grade have the opportunity to build and program Lego Mindstorms to complete a challenge. Discovery Days are often the first foray into technology for many young children and has sparked an interest in robotics. Many of the students who attend ultimately join the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics team when they reach high school.
Build Executive and Senior Samantha Young “Seeing the excitement in the kids’ faces, as they learned about engineering, was an inspiration to me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with these eager young students and help them explore their interests in STEAM.”
At the end of the afternoon, both parents and children alike left the event proclaiming what an extraordinary time they had learning about the exciting world of FIRST and what it has to offer to their futures. Nemesis would like to thank the Robbinsville Public Library for the opportunity to expose the future generations to the FIRST message and STEAM.
Nemesis Takes Home The Brunswick Eruption Tiki Again
The morning crept upon North Brunswick High School on November 7, 2015. While most people slept in on the lovely Saturday morning, a select many were gathering for a day filled with invigorating challenges, both on and off the field, an evil sundae ice cream contest, and--of course--robots!
Hosted by FIRST Robotics Team 25 Raider Robotix, Brunswick Eruption was Nemesis’ final glimpse at the previous season before starting anew. At the event, Nemesis took the opportunity to train their underclassmen in both drive and scouting teams.
The challenge, Recycle Rush, required teams to work together in alliances in order to obtain the most points for their team. Each robot stacked totes on scoring platforms in order to score points and acquired additional points by placing recycling bins atop the totes. Inserting a pool noodle, representing litter, into the recycling bins provided an opportunity for teams to gain even more points.
Despite a rocky first match--which also happened to be the first match of the competition-- Nemesis came back with a vengeance. The driver-in-training and sophomore, Dahany Choi, was behind the controls. The strategy: building at least two six-tote stacks, each one topped with a pool noodle in a recycling can.
“I had a blast driving our competition robot at a real competition. Working with other teams to most efficiently stack and play the game was such a revelation. This was what robotics is all about,” first-time driver and sophomore Dahany Choi commented.
The team had two alternating human players, junior Michael Cocciolillo and senior and Build Executive Samantha Young, feeding totes into the robot.
New members deceived a taste of scouting in the stands, one of the most crucial parts of any FIRST Robotics competition, because the information the students collected would determine what teams they chose for alliances in the final rounds of the competition.
Finishing sixth, Nemesis joined the first alliance with teams 2607, The Fighting RoboVikings from Warminster, PA; 3142, Aperture from Newtown, NJ; and 4653, Ironmen Robotics from Ramsey, NJ, in the elimination matches. The alliance could not have been a better choice for Nemesis, having had an amazing first match in the elimination rounds putting them in second place in the competition, with still more rounds to come.
The second playoff match arrived. Nemesis, Aperture and The Fighting RoboVikings readied and soon began. There were some faults, including a toppled stack, however by the end of the match four tall stacks topped with cans and noodles stood clearly on the field.
Nemesis waited with bated breath for the results. “We will be replaying the match due to a field fault”, the announcer stated.
The team was not deterred. In fact, the rematch was even more intense than the original. The robots of the first-seeded alliance moved seamlessly, efficiently creating and topping each other's stacks. The high-scoring of all three teams paved the first alliance’s path into the semifinals.
Nemesis was a force to be reckoned with, playing strongly through the second and third semifinal matches and therefore securing a spot in the finals.
At last, the moment came. Finals. All Nemesis’ alliance needed to emerge victorious were two more wins.
The first final match was rough. The first alliance fumbled and it would be tough to come back. Nemesis had to win the next two matches in a row to come out victorious.
“I was confident that our alliance would do well; all of our teams seemed to mesh together amazingly,” said Michael Cocciolillo, sophomore and member of the Brunswick Eruption Drive Team.
Nemesis’ alliance did come back …by the skin of their teeth, a 10-point difference in final scores. But it was enough and a tiebreaker match began. Whoever won this match would win Brunswick Eruption 2015.
Both alliances competed fiercely, but with a final score of 194 to 90, Nemesis’ alliance took home the tiki trophy.
“This is my final Brunswick Eruption and to experience victory here once again is an amazing feeling. I can’t wait for the season to start when we’ll hopefully be able to experience even more success,” enthused senior and Chief of Operations Juhi Rajgopal.
At the end of the day, Nemesis returned home victorious with yet another Brunswick Eruption win under their belts, a great way to start their new season and give their new members a taste of a true robotics competition.
Don't forget to join Nemesis at the Hatboro-Horsham District Competition at Hatboro-Horsham High School in Horsham, PA on March 3 and 4, 2016 to support the team as it kicks off the 2016 season!
Nemesis Takes a Step Towards the Future At Makerfest
Imagine making a lightsaber, driving a Do-It-Yourself car, and operating a high-tech surgical machine... all in one day. On Saturday, October 17th, Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team Nemesis 2590 participated in the 2015 Jersey Shore Makerfest at Toms River High School North. The team spoke with children of all ages and their parents about FIRST, showcased their 2013 frisbee-throwing and 2014 ball-shooting FIRST Robotics competition robots, and presented the NAO Humanoid robot.
The Makerfest attendees were impressed by the team’s achievements. Students from Toms River High School North enthusiastically expressed how much they wished they had a program like Nemesis at their school. Nemesis entertained the Superintendent of Toms River with the benefits of FIRST Robotics and even inspired and explained the steps necessary to start an FRC team. The young bright-eyed attendees’ intrigue and elation made the event much more enjoyable for Nemesis’ team members. Seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces was a rewarding experience for all of our hard work. Build Executive and senior Christian Gavalchin elaborated, “It was such an amazing experience to be with so many like-minded people”.
Besides speaking to visitors to Nemesis’ booth, the team was also given the opportunity to view other Makerfest exhibits, including Manalapan High School’s booth where team members sophomores Araba Aikins and Julia Ruch were able to make their very own dazzling-red lightsabers, and Community Medical Center’s booth where team mentor Peter Wolfe operated di Vinci surgical machines. In the venue’s parking lot, junior Charlie D’Amico tested out one Maker’s Do-It-Yourself Go-kart.
“Seeing so many different STEM fields present their findings was an excellent experience. I am glad our team was able to contribute to this amazing atmosphere,” reflected Build Executive and senior Parth Mandrekar. Makerfest was an eye-opening venture into the future and a unique event that Nemesis was grateful to attend. The opportunity to inspire and be inspired was an incredible privilege.