Robotics Technology In Action: Nemesis Tours NAVAIR
On June 5, 2016, FIRST Robotics Team Nemesis 2590 traveled to the US Naval Air Engineering Center in Lakehurst, NJ, to tour the NAVAIR robotics lab and facilities. Naval Air Systems, a key sponsor for the team, develops aircraft propulsion and arrestment techniques for use on the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers, as well as autonomous robotics systems that can accomplish certain tasks aboard ships at sea. After attending Nemesis’ Sponsor Networking Night, NAVAIR’s outreach manager, Mr. Gaetan Mangano, kindly invited the team to the base, where they were able to see the same technology they use every year to compete being applied in a professional field.
Upon arrival, Mr. Mangano led the team in for a presentation on the basics of NAVAIR’s technology, showcasing the broad spectrum of engineering careers essential to designing, building, and maintaining technology for the Navy. Following the presentation, students were a challenged to test their design skills in a catapult competition! Nemesis divided up into teams of three to design and build their own rudimentary catapults out of sticks, marshmallows, and masking tape.
After building, Nemesis was given a rare opportunity to tour the facilities of the Navy’s Hangar One, where the NAVAIR lab was located.The hangar itself was an engineering marvel, built on a gigantic scale, which once housed the German LZ-129 Hindenburg before it exploded during a docking incident at the facility in 1937. The team visited a scaled-down aircraft carrier runway in the hangar, and the robotics lab itself.
In the lab, Nemesis members were thrilled when the software engineers demonstrated one of their projects-- a robotic munitions cart to be used on aircraft carriers. Better yet, they even let students drive the robot and find bugs in the code! It was a remarkable insight into the work of real robotics engineers in industry, greatly appreciated by the aspiring engineers of Nemesis. Robot driver Christian Gavalchin said, “I was blown away by the familiarity of the NAVAIR lab-- it was so similar to the work we do! That was awesome to see.”
When the tours were over, the team ate lunch and launched their catapults before returning to the lab for the last activity of the day-- their own presentation! Nemesis Build Team members demonstrated their robots, Bellerophon and Daedalus, to NAVAIR Engineers, while the Marketing Team detailed the complex business and financial challenges of a successful competition season, something that that many of the engineers knew all too well from their own work.
NAVAIR employees seemed just as impressed with the accomplishments of Nemesis as the team members were with them. It was a thrilling and inspiring experience for the team, who extends their thanks to Mr. Mangano and his welcoming coworkers. Thank you to NAVAIR, for your generous sponsorship, and also your invitation to tour a real-life robotics lab! Your investment in the future will return great rewards.
Against all Odds: Nemesis at World Championships
Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis has a long history of overcoming adversity, one way or another. As elimination matches begin on day two of the FIRST World Championship, this big time team from the small time town of Robbinsville, NJ, faced a challenge they had been versed in many times before. A long night of strategic analysis-- and some lengthy debate-- had paid off.The team was prepared to enter the final chapter of another wildly successful season. The mood was mixed; some team members felt goosebumps rise as the thrill of competition seemed to surround them. Others, an ecstatic excitement. But everyone shared a feeling of accomplishment and gratitude just to compete in St. Louis.
Alliance selection. Team 973, in first place, chose team 610, in twelfth place. No one could believe their eyes. Had team 973 just taken themselves and their alliance out of the running for division champions? Surely, there was some clever strategy at play. Team 2590 was up to choose, and invited team 225, as according to plan. The rest of the Alliance selection went mostly as expected, leaving Nemesis as captains of the second seed alliance, their highest-ever elimination round ranking at worlds, with teams 2590, 225, 2067, and team 11, MORT, as the backup player.
In competition, they say, if something can go wrong, it probably will. On Carson field, some of the world’s most resilient robots were succumbing to the constant stress of battle and breaching obstacle after obstacle. There were casualties every match. It wasn’t long before alliance two suffered its own loss, and Nemesis’ best shooting alliance partner, 225, was incapacitated. Nevertheless, the team fought on. Two matches later, team 2067’s robot also took some serious damage. For the first time that day, team 2590 faced a loss. A feeling of dread began to filter through the sea of red Nemesis shirts as deja vu spread over them. Everyone remembered what had happened earlier in the season at the South Florida Regional, when both of Nemesis’ alliance partners broke down, causing the trio to fall in the finals.
But alas, as fate would have it, history did repeat itself. The alliance won one match in the quarterfinals, then lost one, and lost another. All but alone on the field, there was little team 2590 could do to stop it. They finished their season as quarterfinalists at World Championships. Perhaps not quite what they were expecting, but a performance to be proud of all the same.
After the competition, the team went out to eat and spent the following day at the City Museum of St. Louis, a whimsical establishment where people of all ages can climb through huge, interactive exhibits and sculptures. For these budding engineers, it was quite an enjoyable experience. That night, Nemesis packed their bags and boarded a plane for Newark, NJ, arriving home in the wee hours of the morning. It was an incredible end to an incredible experience. See you next year, FRC!
2017 Week 1: Marketing Journal
After an exciting kickoff, the Marketing Team is busy preparing for Sponsor Networking Night. The rough draft for the slideshow and oral presentations are almost complete. Invitations have been sealed and sent. The Nemesis showcase is currently being updated with new pictures and information. Everyone is focused on putting the event together and excited to present their accomplishments from the 2016 season.
The Finance Team is currently writing emails and grants to reach out to potential sponsors, as well as booking dates to discuss fundraising. Logistics is working on planning trips for the upcoming season. With Week 1 coming to a close, the entire marketing team is looking forward to seeing what exciting things Week 2 will bring!
Nemesis 2590 Library Demonstration 2016
Energetic young children and their eager parents gathered at the Robbinsville Public Library for a visit from Nemesis. On November 5, 2016 Nemesis team members gave a demonstration of their award-winning 2016 competition robot, Daedalus. Awestruck and amazed, the young children watched as Daedalus shot boulders into totes and moved effortlessly, gliding across the room.
The young attendees and their parents became intrigued with the world of FIRST Robotics. The demonstration began with a brief description of the 2016 game, FIRST Stronghold, a medieval game of Capture The Castle. Later, an explanation of how Daedalus functions, and a visit from our NAO robot enchanted the children. After seeing Daedalus in action, the attendees could not believe that a high school team made such an impressive robot in such a short amount of time.
During the presentation, the children had the opportunity to act as Daedalus–going over and under obstacles and even “storming the castle” by shooting balls into a tote. Nemesis members were often asked questions about their robot and how FIRST changed their lives. One mother of a five year old boy expressed her gratitude to the team, saying, “You have no idea how much he loves robotics and coding. Seeing teenagers doing what he wants to do when he gets older makes him feel like he can do anything.” Her comment showed the team how much of an influence STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education has on the elementary school students, and how programs like FIRST Robotics can make going into a STEAM field a dream for many.
After watching the demonstration, many of the parents asked how they could get their children involved in robotics and start up their own team for younger students. Luckily, Nemesis has had their annual Discovery Day on December 3th and 4th where students from second to sixth grade have the opportunity to build and program Lego Mindstorms to complete open ended challenges. There, local FIRST Lego League teams will be on hand to answer any questions they have.
Everyone left the event proclaiming how much fun they had learning about the exciting world of FIRST. Nemesis would like to thank the Robbinsville Public Library, and especially Michelle Cromwell, for the opportunity to expose share their love of robots with the community.
Nemesis Explores Innovation at Tom's River Makerfest
On October 15th, 2016, Robbinsville High School’s FIRST Robotics team took innovation head-on for the second year in a row. Held at Toms River High School North, New Jersey Makerfest went off without a hitch. Innovators from across the state came together to show what exciting creations they had to offer to the world, and Nemesis was no exception. As a team we came together to showcase our 2014, 2016, and NAO robots, and speak about the incredible world of FIRST Robotics.
The attendees were enthralled with all our team had accomplished, and at such a young age too! Children that gathered around our station became infatuated with our high-performing robots that shoot balls from great lengths, drive at high speeds, and dance to a steady beat.
The NAO robot in particular drew the masses with its choreographed Tai-Chi routine, and was able to to keep them fixated while it danced the Macarena, as well as the crowd-pleasing Disco. One group who was particularly enamored with the wonders that this tiny robot could accomplish came from a school for low-functioning, special-needs children. After speaking to one of our members, they were convinced that implementing a humanoid robot in their school could open a whole new world of wonders for their students, as well as act as a new therapeutic method for their school’s learners.
Nemesis is honored to see all the hard work our students have put into our everyday tools finally make a serious impact on the lives of others.
Nemesis's First Engineering Day!
According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way an egg should be able to fly. It lacks wings, aerodynamics, and any capability of attaining such characteristics. Despite this and against all odds, eggs flew on November 19th at the Robbinsville Robotics FRC 2590 Nemesis Annual Engineering Day.
Over the course of two four-hour sessions, Nemesis invited 6th through 8th graders to the Robbinsville High School tech lab. The purpose? To challenge the students and foster within them a drive to pursue STEAM careers. Each pair of campers explored engineering through two challenges designed by Nemesis: an egg parachute and marshmallow launcher (the former requiring students to construct a protective capsule for the egg and then drop it from Robbinsville High School’s second floor balcony). Students were provided with finite resources of cardboard, hot glue, and foam, to model real-world constraints.
The challenges provided forced the students to think outside the egg-box and innovate, creating a microcosm of the professional engineering world. Build team member and sophomore Richa Mandrekar remarked that “What makes this so important is that this almost cultivates the next generation of STEAM,” as her group returned into the lab from launching a marshmallow 21 feet. “Plus, it’s fun. You see excitement in their eyes.” The group later beat their record by 10 feet.
Whereas Discovery Day introduces middle and elementary schoolers to STEAM, Engineering Day fleshes that introduction out to integrate real world constraints. While financial pressures need not apply, competition, innovation, and time were extremely prevalent within the activities. Participants needed to find their edge to best address the design challenges, producing unique results, shown below. (as shown below). .
In engineering, there exist near infinite possibilities of mechanical failure. A gear losing its teeth, a crossbeam bowing, or even an entire chassis collapsing. However, only two things ended up breaking at the 2016 Annual Robbinsville Robotics FRC 2590 Nemesis Engineering Day: misconceptions and eggs.
Nemesis Honored at Board of Ed Meeting
The Robbinsville school district’s Board of Education was impressed with the presentation that Nemesis gave during May 27, 2014's board meeting. Josh Falk, current CEO of Nemesis, recited each competition and award they had received in their best season yet. CBO Baljot Ranu, CTO Julia Borowski, and Arnav Vast presented their accomplishments in terms of giving back to the community, which include, charity walks, fundraisers, and spreading the STEM message to younger students through their annual Discovery Day event.
The Superintendent, Dr. Mayer, voiced his amazement after the presentation by stating how beneficial Nemesis is to Robbinsville and how they are promoting the town in a positive way. He also expressed how difficult it could be to follow such a great season and how he hopes the team succeeds in years to come.
To conclude the night, Nemesis’ seniors were asked to share with the Board of Education which college they would be attending in the fall and what their majors will be.
Congratulations to Nemesis and their fantastic season and its seniors!
Nemesis Crowned MAR Champions
Last weekend Robbinsville’s FIRST Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis added another win to their season with their victory at the Mid Atlantic Robotics (MAR) Championships.
Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena, a venue typically filled with the sounds of bouncing basketballs and squeaking sneakers, instead rang with shouts “Robot coming through!” and the noise of power tools as 55 teams set to work in their designated pit areas. Thursday April 10th marked the beginning of the MAR Championships, and teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware who had qualified to compete spent the day preparing for the Friday start of Qualification Matches.
Every January, the organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) announces a new challenge for teams around the world to complete with their very own robot. This year’s game, Aerial Assist, is played 3 versus 3, the objective being to place a ball into a floor goal or to shoot for the high-scoring goal. An emphasis is placed on cooperation, with 10 points added to an alliance’s score for each assist.
In six short weeks, Nemesis was able to create Bellerophon, an agile, sharp-shooting robot. Team members first designed the robot entirely using CAD software, then worked to bring their creation to life. Most parts were constructed in the Technology Lab of Robbinsville High School using the CNC Mill and Router. Any parts too large to be crafted in the lab, however, were made by local sponsors per the student’s specifications. Sporting a claw and a spring-powered linear punch shooter, Bellerophon was designed to swiftly grab balls and launch them into the high-scoring goal.
The first day of competition, however, was fraught with difficult matchups for Team Nemesis. Despite presenting a consistently rigorous offense, and Bellerophon’s first five matches left the team with a record of 2-3. The less-than-auspicious start to the competition was disheartening, but Nemesis rallied, and thanks to their superb Drive Team (seniors Josh Falk and Antonio Papa, sophomore Christian Gavalchin, and mentor Scott Meredith), the team won the remaining matches on Friday.
Despite the turnaround at the end of the day, however, Nemesis still hadn’t climbed into the top eight, the robots who would captain their own hand-picked alliance in the finals. Heading into competition Saturday morning, the team knew they had a lot to prove. After ending the season ranked as the first robot in MAR, Team Nemesis was ready to fight for the title of champion. And sure enough, Friday morning saw victory after victory for Nemesis, who gradually worked their way up the rankings. By the conclusion of the Qualification Matches, Team 2590 sported a solid record of 9-3, grabbing 7th seed.
Due to their high rank, Nemesis reserved the right to select two teams to join them in the Elimination Matches, a series of matchup where best two out of three would advance to the next round. For their first partner, Nemesis picked another skilled offensive robot, Team 11 MORT from Mount Olive, New Jersey. To round out the alliance, they selected Team 341 Miss Daisy from Wissahickon, Pennsylvania, a strong defensive robot.
The trio made a fantastic alliance, and the quarter- and semi-finals proved no problem for the three teams. Easily winning the first two matchups in both rounds, the alliance powered into the finals. But it was in the first finals match that the winning streak came to a crashing halt: Miss Daisy’s robot stopped moving early on after a run-in with an opposing robot. Short one team member and unable to rack up all three assists, the alliance had a heartbreaking loss of 241-195.
As soon as the buzzer signaled the end of the match, Miss Daisy called a timeout, team members rushing onto the field to assess the damage and see what caused the mishap. It appeared that after being hit, a wire was knocked loose, leaving the robot at a dead standstill.
The problem rectified, the field was reset and the countdown began for the next match. At the sound of the buzzer, the crowd began to cheer, only to see Miss Daisy come to a halt again after a few seconds. Hearts dropped and students exchanged worried looks as the match unfolded, again played two against three. Despite the clear disadvantage, Nemesis and MORT valiantly played the match, and at the conclusion, all heads turned anxiously toward the screen where the final score would be displayed. Serving as proof that every point truly counts, the score was revealed to be the closest of the entire competition-- Nemesis nabbed the win with a score of 176-175.
Still alive and in the competition, the teams once again made a beeline for the field, this time truly under pressure. The alliance's only timeout already used, there were precious few minutes to fix Miss Daisy. And the question remained: would they break again? The second match was too close, and the alliance couldn’t risk another match outnumbered.
After a quick investigation, it was found that the problem was a communication fluke, and the field was reset for one last match. As the points continued to climb, it became clear that it would be a close match. Nemesis, MORT, and Miss Daisy worked as a well-oiled machine, and thankfully, all three continued to function perfectly. It was a hard fought match, both sides knowing it was winner-takes-all, but after the buzzer, the 226-182 score named Nemesis, MORT, and Miss Daisy the MAR champions.
“It’s really satisfying; after spending six weeks practically living in the Tech Lab building the robot, winning with it makes the hard work all worth the effort,” enthused Mehaa Gupta, a junior Build Team member.
In addition to their blue Winner’s banner, Nemesis collected the Industrial Design Award, recognizing Bellerophon as a superbly designed robot that efficiently addressed the Aerial Assist challenge.
“It was a great way to end our season in MAR, especially seeing as it’s my senior year. I’m really proud of how far the team has come in the past four years,” said Jenna Mollica, the Build Team’s Chief Technical Officer.
Due to their successes at both the Hatboro Horsham and Lenape District Events and their victory at the MAR Championship, Team Nemesis was invited to compete at the World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri. From April 23-26th, 400 FIRST teams from countries all over the world will congregate in the Edward Jones Dome to see who will take the crown and emerge the 2014 World Champions.
“St. Louis is a truly unique experience because we watch competitions from all these foreign countries online, and for this one event, we all come together in one place to not only compete against one another but to see firsthand all the different ways teams designed their robot to complete this year’s challenge,” explained Chief Business Officer Baljot Ranu, who has been to the last two World Championships.
Finalists and Chairman's Winners at Lenape
Champions of the Hatboro-Horsham District Event, Robbinsville High School’s FIRST Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis came to the Lenape District Event on Saturday, March 22nd ready to follow up their tremendous success from two weeks prior.
Seneca High School came to life early Saturday morning as teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware arrived with their robots, anticipating a weekend of fierce competition. The challenge? Aerial Assist, a game played 3 versus 3, the objective being to place a ball into the floor goal or to shoot for the high-scoring goal. An emphasis is placed on cooperation, with 10 points added to an alliance’s score for each assist.
Bellerophon, Team Nemesis’ 2014 robot, was designed by team members using CAD software, and then constructed using the student’s specifications. Sporting a claw and a spring-powered linear punch shooter, Bellerophon was designed to swiftly grab balls and launch them into the high-scoring goal.
But the team didn’t just build a sharp-shooting robot. According to Parth Mandrekar, a sophomore Build Team member, one of Bellerophon’s biggest assets is “his ability to cooperate with other teams through passing and receiving passes effectively.” And this versatility on the field clearly sets Bellerophon apart from other robots.
Indeed, Bellerophon proved a force to be reckoned with. Although the event had a less than auspicious start, what with two replays of Nemesis’ first match, it wasn’t long before the team picked up steam. Team Nemesis powered its way through the first day of Qualification Matches, sustaining only two losses in nine rounds.
Bellerophon wasn’t the only one under pressure, however. Seniors Julia Borowski, Baljot Ranu and junior Arnav Vast spent Saturday morning with the judges, presenting Nemesis’ 2014 Chairman’s Award. In the world of FIRST Robotics, the Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious honor that can be given to a team, recognizing them as the best model for other teams to emulate. Chairman’s winners not only demonstrate exemplary community outreach and commitment to STEM, they best embody the purpose of FIRST. And this event saw Nemesis pitted against 19 other teams from across three states. After rehearsing until the presentation was just right, the team had only to wait for the concluding Awards Ceremony on Sunday.
Moving forward, day two of the competition saw even more success for Team Nemesis, who won all of their remaining Qualification Matches. Blazing through the competition, Nemesis captured 1st seed, boasting an impressive record of 10-2. During Alliance Selection, Nemesis elected to captain Team 1640 Sa-BOT-age from Downingtown, PA and Team 223 Xtreme Heat from Wanaque, NJ.
It certainly didn’t take long for the competition to heat up, though. The gaps between final scores were closing, with sometimes only a few points securing an alliance a victory. Although Nemesis moved through the quarter-finals unscathed, they sustain a loss in the semi-finals during a best two-of-three match up, with a nail biting final score of 147-146. Team 341 Miss Daisy from Wissahickon, PA presented a strong defense, shadowing Bellerophon the entire match in an attempt to curtail Nemesis’ score. With victory nearly in reach, Nemesis kicked it into high gear, fighting for their spot in the finals. It was hard-won, but Nemesis triumphed in the following two matches, securing their alliance a spot in the finals.
But as the spectators in the stands cheered for Nemesis’ win, the team in the pits discovered a problem. A particularly nasty collision in the previous match had damaged Bellerophon’s wiring, rendering him unable to shoot. With mere minutes between matches, the team had no time to repair, and all out of timeouts, Nemesis was forced to enter the finals sans a shooter.
Bellerophon immediately adopted the role of the defensive robot, attempting to hinder the opposing alliance’s offense. But with two offensive robots taking on three, the gap in alliance points grew too quickly. The other alliance took first one match then the other, and Team Nemesis and their alliance partners were named District Finalists.
Although the loss in the finals was disappointing, the entire team was proud of emerging Finalists in such a competitive event. The day wasn’t over yet, however. As the judges transitioned into the Awards Ceremony, the team began to grow anxious with anticipation. Members from the Marketing and Finance teams glanced at each other, wondering if this could be it.
“Congratulations to the 2014 Lenape District Event Chairman’s Award winners… Team 2590 Nemesis!”
The stands burst into applause and hugs were exchanged as the team’s Chairman’s Award video began to play on the big screen.
“Winning the Chairman's Award is incomparable to any other award in FIRST. When I see our team name displayed on that screen in front of the entire arena as the winner, I feel immensely proud because this award is a true confirmation of the hard work we've done together, from the build team's countless hours spent building a winning robot to the Marketing and Finance Teams' endless editing of our business plan,” expressed Baljot Ranu, the Chief Business Officer.
Nemesis’ next competition will be the Mid Atlantic Robotics Championships held at Lehigh University Stabler Arena from April 10th through 12th. Admission is free to all.
Nemesis Takes First at Hatboro-Horsham
Hot off the heels of their six-week Build Season, Robbinsville FIRST Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis arrived at Hatboro-Horsham High School ready to impress.
Following the stream of students and robots, Team Nemesis made their way to the pits, down a hallway filled with the sounds of power tools at work amidst yells of “Robot coming through!” Saturday, March 1st marked the beginning of Competition Season, and forty FIRST Robotics teams from New Jersey, Delaware, and eastern Pennsylvania flocked to the Hatboro-Horsham District Event for a chance to show off their creations. This year’s game, Aerial Assist, would be played 3 versus 3, the objective being to place a ball into the floor goal or to shoot for the high-scoring goal. An emphasis was placed on cooperation, with 10 points added to an alliance’s score for each assist.
Nemesis’ new robot, Bellerophon, was designed by team members using CAD software, and then constructed using the student’s specifications. Sporting a claw and a spring-powered linear punch shooter, Bellerophon was designed to swiftly grab balls and launch them into the high-scoring goal.
The articulate design paid off, as Nemesis instantly shot to first seed during the beginning of Qualification Rounds. Bellerophon proved to be an unstoppable offensive robot, and Nemesis seemed poised to end the day with an undefeated record. Their winning streak came to a crashing halt, however, when Bellerophon’s claw broke after a run in with particularly zealous defensive robots.
In a rush of adrenaline, Bellerophon was raced back to Nemesis’ pit, where team members immediately set to work removing the broken claw. The good news: the team had the time and resources to build a second practice robot during Build Season equipped with a fully functioning arm. The bad news: swapping out the claws would take time, a luxury the team wasn’t afforded. While Nemesis worked diligently to fix Bellerophon, two of the team’s matches came and went. Short a robot, Nemesis’ alliances lost, and the team dropped to second seed with a record of 7-2.
Not all of the action was taking place on the field, however. Back in the pits, members from Nemesis’ Marketing and Finance Teams presented their Business Plan to FIRST judges, outlining the team structure, explaining their SWOT analysis, sharing the team’s exemplary community outreach, and offering a breakdown of the team’s budget and finances.
Despite the Saturday setback, Nemesis entered Day Two of the competition even more determined to claim first seed. By the time the team’s first match of the day was called, Bellerophon was fully functional and ready for action. Picking up steam once again, Nemesis won all their remaining Qualification matches, clinching first seed with an overall record of 10-2.
As the first seed, Nemesis was named an alliance captain and given the chance to pick two teams to join them going into Elimination Rounds. The first picked, Team 341 Miss Daisy from Ambler, PA, would add a strong defense, while Team 272 Cyber-Crusaders from Lansdale, PA was chosen to round out the alliance. The crowds cheered and roared as the alliance worked as a single, well-oiled machine, tearing through the Elimination Rounds undefeated, claiming first place.
Amidst the team’s celebration of their victory, the judges quickly transitioned into the Awards Ceremony. In addition to the coveted blue Winner Banner, Nemesis was awarded the Entrepreneurship Award for their comprehensive Business Plan.
“While winning the competition was an honor, it was nice to have the Business Team recognized for their continuous hard work as well. Horsham was definitely a victory for the entire team,” said Karla Dimatulac, the Director of Marketing.
Nemesis’ outstanding performance at Hatboro-Horsham will count towards their standings in the Mid-Atlantic Robotics Region (MAR).
Their next competition, the Lenape District Event on March 22-23, is free admission for all fans.
Find Us on Facebook!
Nemesis is now Facebook official.
On Saturday, Nemesis joined the world of Facebook, garnering an impressive 230 “likes” in less than 12 hours. Friends, family, and fans of Nemesis now have even further access to the team through their new profile. Team members will be frequently updating the page, so be sure to go “like” Nemesis 2590 for the latest news.
Sponsor Networking Night 2014
It takes more than a snowstorm to derail Nemesis. Despite the inclement weather, Robbinsville High School’s Technology Lab opened her doors to corporate America, leaving the visitors quite impressed with FIRST Robotics Team 2590.
This past Thursday, Team Nemesis took a break from their hectic Build Season to host their second annual Sponsor Networking Night, an event planned as an opportunity to give back to the sponsors who are so vital to the team’s continued success. Financing the construction of a competition robot is no small task, and it is essential to maintain steady revenue. A seven year establishment now, Nemesis was initially founded with a start-up grant from NASA. In order to sustain the team, students rely upon donations from local businesses and corporate sponsors.
“As a team, we prioritize our sponsors. We make sure they know how much we truly appreciate their continued support throughout the seasons,” expressed Karla Dimatulac, the Director of Marketing.
The event had an impressive turn-out, with Robbinsville Superintendent Dr. Steven Mayer, Robbinsville Mayor David Fried, Assemblyman Daniel Benson, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, and New Jersey Senator Linda Greenstein in attendance, along with Nemesis’ returning and newfound sponsors alike.
Sponsor Networking Night is one way to guarantee sponsors are kept up-to-date on all things Nemesis. The team is run as a technical company, with the business-savvy students in the Marketing and Finance sectors acting as a contact point between the team and their sponsors. Members of the Finance Team contact potential sponsors through cold calls, while the Marketing Team ensures all donors are kept apprised of Nemesis’ progress throughout the season.
“What impresses me is the way everyone on this team has a role. As I say, the Robbinsville students are definitely at the top of their game,” says Senator Greenstein on Team Nemesis.
Team members Julia Borowski, Baljot Ranu, and Parth Mandrekar started the evening with a presentation detailing the accomplishments of the 2013 season, including the team’s two regional victories, their trip to the World Championships, and the win of the coveted Chairman’s Award. In recognition of their outstanding generosity, each sponsor was awarded a personalized certificate created by the Design Team. To conclude the presentation, the team gave a preview of the 2014 FIRST Challenge, Aerial Assist, and the robot currently under construction.
Afterwards, Build Team offered a tour of the Technology Lab and demonstrated Athena, the 2013 Frisbee-shooting robot. Athena was a hit with the visitors, and sponsors even tried their hand at driving the agile, sharp-shooting robot. Most importantly, the companies were presented the opportunity to network alongside each other.
“Team Nemesis and dedicated mentors went all out to make their sponsors and dignified guests feel welcomed and appreciated during the Sponsor Networking Night. It was an enjoyable evening and it was a pleasure to network with other prominent businessmen and elected officials,” said Ms. Marie Thadal, a representative from the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists and Coptis, two of Nemesis’ generous sponsors.
2014 Week 4: Build Journal
Over the past few weeks, the Build Team has been hard at work prototyping different elements for this year’s robot. From the shooter to the intake, the build team has been making everything they could possibly imagine. This week, though, the build team put the machines hard at work. From the CNC mill constantly milling to the new router powering away, the sweet sound of grinding metal filled the room. We ran back and forth between watching the parts being made, taking them off quickly, and starting a new part before dinner is just the way we like it. First, Team Deburr smooths out the edges. Then, Team Scotch-Brite® takes the parts and makes them pretty and shiny. It has been no-stop work, well except when food comes or when it snows. Next step- testing.
New Logos, Pins, and T-Shirts for 2014!
Nemesis unveils its new t-shirt designs, illustrated by Michael Filipek and Alex Wolfe. Team members, friends, family, and supporters are welcome to purchase team t-shirts ($17), hoodies ($30) , sweatpants ($22), and drawstring bags ($6). Order forms are due Sunday, January 26th, 2014. To order online, e-mail the team at firstname.lastname@example.org to send in your order!
Through the Eyes of the Freshmen: 2014 Season
It’s two weeks into the build season, and the freshman are getting used to Nemesis’s hectic schedule, and are enjoying every minute of being on Robbinsville High School’s FIRST Robotics Team. It was an exciting preseason, starting from the very first day. Every freshman remembers their first time coming into the Tech Lab, sitting down, and not knowing what to do. They had no idea what to expect. That changed in a matter of days. They learned that being on Nemesis requires commitment, responsibility, and hard work. Within a few weeks, upperclassmen, mentors, and supervisors trained and taught them basic skills and also showed them what it means to be a great role model for the team. First came GirlPOWER, the first preseason competition of the year. Nemesis did exceptionally well, winning the tournament, and the new members first handedly experienced what the competition environment is like.
Then came Discovery Day, and freshmen learned what it is like planning an important event, and working to get children interested in robotics, science, and engineering. Some freshmen remember their first time attending Discovery Day, and now they could remember the first time hosting Discovery Day. As everyone anxiously counted the days before Kickoff, it was time to finish learning all the skills required before the season started. Freshmen learned so many skills and will use these skills during the build season and will apply these skills to real life experiences.
All in all, new team members look forward to an exciting build season!
Week 2: Build Journal
Continuing to prototype the shooter, we were met with increasing levels of success. In the second test, we used expansion springs, allowing the motors to stretch the springs rather than compress them. Varying the number of springs in the tube, we were able to successfully launch the ball nearly to the ceiling, as well as into the goal from various distances. To test more combinations, we experimented with springs of different lengths and force constants. After reviewing our data and videos, we decided that the optimal design was with four six-inch springs that were used on Andy, our 2010 robot. Using these springs, we were able to shoot from a distance of 18 feet into the top goal. Later, we attached a potentiometer to the gearbox on our shooter to calculate the pull-back distance of the springs. This will be used to identify the exact expansion of the springs so we can optimize our shooting.
We finalized the design for our drivetrain and sent the CAD drawing to one of our sponsors, Gaum Inc., to machine some elements of our design. They will be machining the rails for our drivetrain in duplicate so that we can construct a practice robot alongside our competition robot.
The software team worked on coding various PID controllers. We used a PID controller with a potentiometer to control the angle of an arm and another to control the pullback on a spring. We reprogrammed last year’s robot, Athena, to use a PID with a feedforward term to control the shooter.
Week 1 + 2: Marketing Journal
The Nemesis marketing team has worked vigorously thus far in the month of January. With the business plan in an acceptable state at the moment, the team has turned to focus on its newly-launched website. Aside of the webpage, the marketing team now works to create and distribute new and improved promotional items..
Though the website is now fully-functional and updated with biographies, links to other social media sites and information regarding robots, many other features will soon be implemented including pages dedicated to spreading the FIRST message and directing fans to competitions. The site now hosts numerous articles regarding team progress, outreach and success, allowing the elaborately-descriptive yet simplistically-interfaced webpage to generate togetherness within the Nemesis community.
Discovery Day 2013
Our team hosted their annual Robotics Discovery Day, an event where second through sixth graders worked with team members to create robots on December 7th and 8th. We had ninety-two camper’s gather at the technology lab excited to build a robot and drive Nemesis’ 2013 champion robot, Athena.
The younger campers were participated in a Ping-Pong Ball Challenge. Campers created remote-controlled robots that launched ping pong balls as far as possible. Students Ava Blando and Ruhi Dua designed the winning robot that launched a distance of 78.5 inches. Experienced campers completed the NXT LEGO® Mindstorms Basketball Challenge, building robots able to carry and shoot pin-pong calls into a basket using ultrasonic and touch sensors. With a time of 1.17 seconds, campers Luke Delcampe and Gurveer Grewal won the challenge.
We had a great turn out, a fabulous review from parents and the campers can’t wait to come back again.
For more information about Discovery Day 2013 visit: Here
Week 1: Build Journal
After attending kickoff and becoming more familiar with this year’s game, Aerial Assist, we returned to our school for some preliminary strategy and game analysis. Determining that we would need to construct a robust robot capable of picking the ball off the floor, rotating it up toward the target, and shooting from a decent distance away from the goal, we began sketching ideas. Gathering many possible designs, the team began to CAD their ideas so that they could be translated into prototypes.
We started prototyping by breaking into two groups: shooter and intake. For the shooter, we tested a spring-loaded linear punch mechanism. The first design that we tested involved compressing springs within an aluminum tube. Unfortunately, the springs wanted to be in their longest state and ended up bowing within the tube.
Additionally, we prototyped several variations of claw mechanisms for our intake. We started with a three prong mechanism—two prongs on the bottom and one of the top with a roller. In parallel, we built an intake that grabbed the ball from the sides and had two rollers to control the ball. After creating these prototypes, we decided that we needed a floor intake that would be able to change angles to shoot and a shooter that could vary its power.
We decided on an eight-wheel drivetrain which would be an updated version of a drivetrain that we had developed over the summer. The drivetrain included eight four-inch traction wheels with the center wheels dropped which would allow for easier mobility. The wheels will be run by timing belts which will be fully inclosed within the rail. For gearboxes, we plan on using VexPro Ball Shifters.
Computer Science Education Week
December 9th-15th, 2013 saw Computer Science Education Week, an annual event dedicated to sparking an interest in computer science in kids K-12. It also marked the official launch of Code.org’s “Hour of Code”, in which the organization asked teachers to dedicate one hour of class time to learning about computer science and programming. With the help of Microsoft and Apple and support from President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, over 15 million students participated in the online programming tutorials, 51% of whom were female.
This program came just in time, too, for according to Rip Empson (writer at TechCrunch), 9 out of 10 schools in the U.S. don’t offer computer programming classes. A need for more accessibility to coding and computer science is just one of the reasons Team Nemesis works tirelessly to spread awareness of STEM education. At the team’s annual Robotics Discovery Day, kids in grades 2-6 not only construct their own robot, but learn to program their creation using LEGO Mindstorm technology. In 2012, New Jersey Senator Linda Greenstein and Assemblyman Daniel Benson issued Nemesis a Joint Legislative Resolution, recognizing the team as a program that spreads STEM education throughout the community.
Luckily for member of Team Nemesis, the local high school offers a wide range of Project Lead the Way, technological design, and computer science classes to students in all grades. In fact, Robbinsville High School has been nationally recognized for fostering exemplary Career and Technology Education programs. Furthermore, due to Team Nemesis’ tremendous success, Project Lead the Way courses have been introduced to the local middle school, requiring all eighth graders to take at least one technology course before matriculating to the high school.
So, interested in learning to code? Visit Code.org for more information.