Nemesis: Otherworldly Robotics
In a dimly lit conference room tucked away in the corner of a Hyatt situated near the St. Louis Arch, a tight-knit group of dedicated team members convened and heatedly debated their next move in the FIRST Robotics World Championship.
From the start, the World Championship, held in St. Louis, MO distinguishes itself from every other competition in the FRC circuit. Besides the obvious notion of its finality, World Championship holds up to its namesake by featuring a plethora of teams from the international community. Teams originate from every region of the United States, not to mention Russia, China, Turkey, Brazil, Australia, France and others.
Drive team leaders Parth Mandrekar and Christian Gavalchin, along with mentors and fellow members of Nemesis sit around a conference table, sifting through data accrued over the qualification matches. With the guidance of a mentor on call from home, the meeting goes late into the night.
Today is Friday, the second of two days comprised of near constant work and difficult challenges. With only a single day remaining, the Robbinsville Robotics Team FRC 2590 Nemesis is selecting its alliance partners for tomorrow’s finalist matches. While the sheer amount of data poses its own host of difficulties, Nemesis also grapples with electing just three teams to its alliance.
Nemesis kicked off World Championships with a rocky start, tying its first match and losing its second. Despite this and in true Nemesis fashion, the team held fast and maintained a positive outlook, as demonstrated by Parth Mandrekar, “...it’s going to be a battle but I’m confident we can come out on top...we’re pumped for the next few matches.” The optimism paid off, with the team sitting comfortably in second place out of all teams at the end of qualification matches for the Carson Division after a considerably extensive winning spree. This series of successes can also be attributed to skilled alliance partners such as fellow MAR team FRC 41 Robo Warriors. Another MAR team, 1089 Mercury, hailing from Hightstown, NJ, also performed exceedingly well.
With qualification matches over, Nemesis faces a greater challenge in the coming days upon entering the elimination rounds. As with yesterday and today, the team will no doubt continue to maintain a thriving optimistic spirit and excitement for each new challenge the FIRST Robotics World Championship offers
Let the games end!
Finalists In Florida
West Palm Beach: seventy-eight degree weather, an ocean view, and robots galore! On Wednesday, March 30th, Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team Nemesis 2590 hopped on a plane and headed to the Sunshine State for the South Florida Regional.
Proudly representing Central Jersey, Nemesis was one of sixty teams to arrive at the Palm Beach County Convention Center early Friday morning. There, an international showing of talent included teams from Turkey, the Dominican Republic, and Columbia. Team 2590 was lucky enough to play in the opening match of the competition. Their alliance scored an impressive 120 points, setting the bar high. The robot's success continued throughout the day, going undefeated throughout qualification matches and holding a strong grasp on the crucial number one ranking. Meanwhile, the Entrepreneurship Team and Pit Crew were busy in the pits conversing with judges about this year’s robot, the team’s award winning business plan, and community outreach.
Friday night, after a long, but successful day of qualification matches, Nemesis returned to the hotel to hold a crucial scouting meeting in which a list of teams was identified as potential alliance partners. Continuing their dominant performance into the final day of competition, Team 2590 held the first seed for the elimination rounds and chose to ally with Team 179, The Children of the Swamp and Team 5472, the Stallions, who had both made names for themselves in the qualification rounds.
Following alliance selection, Finance Team member Jared Glassband represented Nemesis 2590 in a friendly team mascot dodgeball game in the spirit of friendly competition. Clad in a toga to represent the Greek origins of Nemesis, he was supported not only by members of Team 2590, but by many others as well. A cheerful chant of, “Neme-sis! Neme-sis!” rang through the crowd. Of the game, Jared said, “I was impressed by the positive energy and friendly competition that I experienced not only in dodgeball, but all over the South Florida Regional. This place really has a great atmosphere.”
Returning to actual competition, as the matches wore on, Nemesis’ alliance faced some capable competitors, but was able to battle their way to the finals against the third seeded alliance: Team 1065, The Moose, Team 180, S.P.A.M, and Team 3932, The Dirty Mechanics.
The last three matches were among the most intense of the weekend. Vigorous play led to the field being damaged, which required the gameplay to stop, and the match to be discarded and reset-- not once, but twice! The third repeated match spelled disaster for our heroes. Team 5472’s robot, who played defense for the red alliance, took too many hits to its frame, and became so bent out of shape it was crippled for the remainder of the competition. Worse still, the Children of the Swamp’s robot succumbed to the increased stress of playing without a full alliance, and the sensory system fried itself completely. The game was paused while Nemesis and Swamp team members worked feverishly to repair the smoking robot. In the end, power was restored to the systems, but the dead sensors rendered the Swamp Machine blind during autonomous mode, and practically eliminated its shooting ability. As the match began, the Swamp Machine rolled to a dead stop on the field, and it didn’t move again. Battered and alone, Daedalus stood against the third seeded alliance, and were only able to score 94 points against their opponents’ combined score of 159. While Nemesis’ alliance managed to overcome adversity to take the second finals match, further technical difficulties in the deciding third finals match meant a disappointing end to Nemesis’ time in Florida.
Nevertheless, Robbinsville was ecstatic to receive a wild card slot at World Championships, as the finalists. The team also took home the Industrial Design Award recognizing a team with an efficiently designed machine that addresses the challenge of the game effectively.
Drive Coach Parth Mandrekar reflected, “All else aside, our performance here in South Florida has been our best by far. Our high goal shooting has improved drastically, as has our autonomous mode. We will certainly be a force to be reckoned with at FIRST Mid-Atlantic Regionals and at the World Championships!”
From the opportunity to meet and compete with teams from all over the world to the chance to escape the bitter cold of the Northeast for a few days, All members of Nemesis thoroughly enjoyed the competition in Florida. Despite losing the finals, everyone is incredibly excited to compete at the World Championship in St. Louis on April 28th-30th, 2016!
Nemesis would like to thank its generous sponsors for their continued support: Robbinsville Board of Education, NAVAIR, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CCL Label, NY Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Siemens, Lockheed Martin, Investors Bank, RAS, Robbinsville Education Association, EAG, Princeton Sports & Family Medicine, McGraw-Hill Financials, Robbinsville Education Foundation, Gilbane, Coldwell Banker, Carfaro Fencing, DesignTree, Triangle Copy, & GrabCad. For additional information, please contact FRC 2590 at email@example.com.
An Alumna Story: Stephanie Kovacs
Hello, my name is Stephanie Kovacs and I was a member of Nemesis for the entirety of my high school career, from 2010 to 2014.
I am currently a sophomore at Penn State University majoring in Advertising/Public Relations with a minor in Digital Media Trends and Analytics as well as possessing a certificate in Sports Administration. At school, I am an active member of the Student Programming Association (SPA), an organization that brings a variety of acts to campus, such as concerts, comedians, lecturers, and even magicians. These events are free for Penn State students to attend and I have the opportunity of planning, marketing, and running them. Some acts that I have facilitated as a member are: Matt and Kim, Bleachers, Abby Wambach, and Brandon Stanton.
In addition, I have had two internships to date, achieving considerable success in both. The first was during the summer of 2015 with the 14th Legislative District at the Office of Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo. Here I assisted staff with community outreach, data collection, and office organization, as well as learning a great deal about the industry. Currently, I am working at my second internship with Penn State’s College of Communications External Affairs Office, helping to organize alumni mentoring and networking events for College of Communications students. To do so, I produce programs and flyers, market the events to professors and clubs, and coordinate with the two Communications alumni boards to plan the events. I also assist in spreading the word of job openings to communications alumni through LinkedIn with weekly job postings. Finally, I write bios for many of the board members for the College of Comm website.
This summer, I will be studying abroad in Florence, Italy for 6 weeks, where I will take two courses, a Black and White Photography course and a Design Communications course, as well as exploring the plethora of cultural aspects presented by such an opportunity.
I began my journey with FIRST in 2010, right where my brother ended his. My brother, Tim, introduced me to FIRST during his graduating year and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity of joining something so unique. Nemesis became like a second family to me, and being a part of this team not only helped me to grow academically and professionally, but also personally.
During my time on Nemesis, I worked within the business team as the Lead Photographer and Marketing Manager. With the help of my teammates and mentors, I learned how to plan trips, photograph meetings and competitions, present to judges, write a business plan, and organize and run professional events. However, more than anything, I learned that dedication, passion and grit can only help when working towards aspirations. I could not be more appreciative to have been able to work with this team, and to have the pleasure of calling them my family.
Being a member of Nemesis for four years changed my life in every positive way possible. I have learned business, design, and leadership skills that will assist me through college and in a future job. I was fortunate enough to experience Nemesis’ transition from teammates to family. Although I have graduated, I will continue to be a part of this family. I am a registered mentor for the team and I will continue to be involved in the team’s activities by assisting members in any way I can.
An Alumna Story: Erica Falk
Hello, my name is Erica Falk and I was a member of Nemesis from 2011 to 2014
As a Sophomore at Arcadia University studying Elementary and Special Education as well as the president of the Arcadia Education Club, I’ve come to overwhelmingly appreciate all the skills I learned while part of the Nemesis family. I’m particularly excited on using my organizational and planning skills in junction with STEAM education for my future classroom and students. I have continued to be part of Nemesis as a second year college mentor.
For me and many others, being a member of Nemesis was the best experience I had during high school. While I was not a part of the team during my freshman year, my brother was and with a logistics team position open, I had an opportunity to join. What really convinced me was when the team was competing at an off season event, and Mrs. Wolfe approached for the first time to ask me to manage sign-outs as members left the competition. The following September, I stepped into the technology lab to join the team.
Once I became a full time member my Sophomore year, Mrs. Wolfe tasked me of getting the entire Nemesis team of 36 people (3 with green cards) over the border into Canada for our Montreal competition trip. After months of careful preparation, the team successfully entered Canada in under 15 minutes, allowing the team to compete in Montreal. The following year, I received the title of Chief Operating Officer, effectively shifting my responsibility to planning every competition, Discovery Day and Sponsor Networking Night for the remainder of my high school career. During this period, Mrs. Wolfe taught me how to communicate ideas and present cases via coordinating with the high school administration for each event.
Being a member of Nemesis gave me confidence and allowed me to be myself. When I first joined the team, I was very quiet and hesitant to do many things. With Mrs. Wolfe believing in me and pushing me to challenge myself, I overcame countless obstacles and learned so much.
Although I’m unable to attend most of the team meetings, the team knows I am just an email, text or call away. Being a member of Nemesis allowed me to be part of a group that I was able to call my second family, which isn’t just because my brother was on the team. The tech lab at Robbinsville High School is always going to be a place that I can call home, and I know that I can count on Mrs. Wolfe to continue teaching me valuable lessons that will translate into my future career and aspirations.
2016 Week 6: Build Journal
Wow! It seems like it was just yesterday that the team was brainstorming, yet here we are at week 6. This week, the Build Team worked tirelessly around the clock to finish assembling the final competition robot.
Week 6 went by in a flash without a single dull moment. Whether it was cleaning the lab to prepare for inspections or picking up last minute orders, everyone from freshmen to seniors had something important to do.
Luckily, the final assembly was completed without too many issues. However, we are close to the weight limit at 116.5 pounds. After assembling the robot, the team got right to work creating the technical documentation. While sections of the Build Team wrote documentation, the Drive Team began testing the competition robot. We are happy to say that we can conquer most of the obstacles and shoot from both the outer works and the batter.
We are sad to have finished build season, but are all incredibly excited for the upcoming competition season. Finally, we would like to thank the mentors and Executive Team for all their support and everything they have taught us over these 6 short weeks.
2016 Week 6: Marketing Journal
While week six included a surge of red, heart shaped Valentine’s Day purchases, the Marketing Team managed an outpouring of orders for red, Nemesis-branded apparel. Marketing members also continued working on Nemesis’ competition standard, which will be raised proudly at upcoming competitions. In a collective effort, the business subteams made edits to the business plan including adding new graphics, writing and editing, and updating financials.
Shadowing Chief Financial Officer Colin Riley and finance mentor Peter Barlis, rookie Finance Team members looked over the business plan and learned accounting tricks of the trade. Meanwhile, the Finance Team evaluated Nemesis Cares and Shares applications and maintained Nemesis’ financial well being. In conjunction with emails reaching out to local businesses, select marketing and finance members conducted an array of cold calls in hopes for potential sponsorship.
Throughout the upcoming weeks, the Business Team plans to continue preparing for the Entrepreneurship Award, the Chairman’s Award, and the Media & Technology Innovation Award. Competition season is just 14 short days away. With this in mind, Nemesis team members intend to hone their soft skills, by rehearsing for the upcoming competition season.
Hatboro-Horsham… Here We Come!
NYSCC Technology Transfer Abstract
In an environment where technology’s influence on the world is rapidly growing, progressive companies strategically utilize robotic devices and concepts to optimize supply chain and business efficiency, but ultimately to enhance human lives. Robotics design, construction, and application have endless possibilities. Through software and programming, robots are capable of accurately executing difficult tasks and optimize processes.
FIRST Robotics is a program that annually challenges STEM students to create a problem-solving robot by implementing the Engineering Design Cycle. This process involves brainstorming to capture ideas and generate potential solutions and strategies. Through CAD (Computer Aided Design), innovative 3D designs are created to virtually test how components function together; this is both cost-effective and efficient. The best CAD-modeled prototype is brought to life and fabricated with computer driven machines and techniques. The robot is then assembled and refined through extensive testing and ultimately, a successful product is made.
The use of robotics engineering is globally revolutionizing how organizations compete. Concepts of the design cycle can be applied to many industries including Personal Care & Cosmetics. Rapid prototyping leverages a company’s competitiveness and enhances speed to market. Educational programs worldwide promote the Design Cycle and robotics because they transform ideas into tangible products and solutions. Due to CAD and the latest technologies, the “gizmos and gadgets” of science-fiction dreams are becoming a reality in our everyday lives.
Concepts of Robotics technology will be featured at the 2013 New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists Technology Transfer Conference, Iselin NJ. For more information on our mentoring and sponsorship program please visit our website http://frc2590.org/ . You can also follow us on Twitter at @FRC2590 for information on FIRST Robotics competitions.
Nemesis wins $1000 Cosmetic Technology Transfer Conference Poster Contest
Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590, Nemesis, presented to the prestigious New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists.
Nemesis arrived first at the Renaissance Woodridge Hotel in Edison, New Jersey with Josh Falk, Baljot Ranu, Uddhav Joglekar, Arnav Vast, Jolia Thadal and Parth Mandrekar representing the team. We proceeded to erect our booth within our designated area of convention. Due to greater attendance than expected, the NYSCC lacked nametags respecting Falk and Joglekar. Though inconvenienced, Nemesis performed cleverly and with clear preparation: when asked for business cards, Falk and Joglekar presented them swiftly confidently.
After enjoying a generously-provided breakfast and aweing its audience with Athena and effective multimedia video by Karla Dimatulac, all received an invitation to the conference room where highly-involved and renown individuals provided presentations regarding their fields, totaling four. Provided information proved phenomenal and diverse from the Human Genome Project to the Importance of Innovation lectures. Team 2590 received exposure to professionally-conducted projects and extensive concepts prevalent globally.
Following the conclusion of presentation three, Nemesis enjoyed a spectacular and appreciated lunch, followed by an extensive period of marketing. Though launched with sparing attention, the effort eventually received bombardment by a myriad of individuals and organizations interested in the establishment. Team 2590 operated with unquestionable efficiency and deliberacy, highlighting the Design Cycle, enticing listeners from lectures regarding the kickoff to the competition. Vigorously answering questions varying interminably regarding topic complexity, Nemesis members conveyed its overarching messages to their attentive audience:
Nemesis requires more than technologically-adept individuals to function: this corporation requires both marketing and financials to operate effectively—and at all
Nemesis comprises itself with diversity regarding gender, interests, sociality and ability
Nemesis desires no less than to produce the most victorious and effective robots possible
Concluding this incredible event, the NYSCC generously awarded Team 2590 one-thousand dollars toward team funding. The Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team honors the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists for invitation and truly appreciates their patronage.
Congratulations, Team 2590!
Nemesis has the POWER at GirlPOWER
After a summer of working on a new robot, Robbinsville High School’s robotics team entered their first off-season competition.
Team Nemesis built a second competition robot for the game Ultimate Ascent, a challenge in which robots aim to shoot plastic discs through targets of varying heights and then climb a metal pyramid. While the team’s first robot, Athena, scoops up the disks off the field and shoots them straight into the top-scoring goal, the second robot is equipped with a full-court shooter.
On Oct. 12, while many RHS students were preparing for homecoming, the team traveled to St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Flourtown, Pa. for GirlPOWER. This competition required completely female drive teams and pit crews.
Nemesis’ new robot made its competition debut during the qualification matches. With the help of both robots, the team claimed second seed and chose Team 11 MORT from Mount Olive to join their alliance for elimination rounds.
The two teams moved through to the finals undefeated.
In the finals, best two out of three rounds determined the victors of GirlPOWER 2013. With one win already, Nemesis and MORT needed one more to clinch the crown.
With the sound of the buzzer, 11 disks autonomously launched into the highest goal, the robots relying on their pre-programmed instructions for the first 15 seconds of the match. When it came time for the drivers to set up, Athena and MORT dashed off to collect disks. Meanwhile, the full court shooter set up camp at the other end of the field, shooting disks into the highest goal.
Nemesis and MORT scored more than 100 points and were named champions.
However, the day wasn’t over yet. The team rushed back to Robbinsville, exchanged their t-shirts for dresses and celebrated their victory at the homecoming dance.
Nemesis’ next competition is Brunswick Eruption, scheduled to being 8 a.m. Nov. 9 at North Brunswick High School. Admission is free.
More information is online at frc2590.org.
Nemesis Welcomes New Members for the 2014 Season
With the first week of school behind us and fall well underway, Nemesis is gearing up for the 2014 Build Season. The team will have a booth set up for the Club Fair on Tuesday, September 17th, where interested students can come learn more about Nemesis.
A mandatory parent and student meeting will be held for all those interested in joining the team on Wednesday, September 18th at 6:30pm in the Technology Lab. Whether your interests are building, programming, or marketing, Nemesis has a niche for you. We hope to have you join us for another season of fun and excitement!
IRI 2013: Return to Indianapolis
The Indiana Robotics Invitational, IRI ,welcomed 69 world class teams to participate in the 2013 FIRST competition, Ultimate Ascent. IRI’s game however, tweaked rules and regulations to add a measure of excitement. Nemesis, FRC Team 2590, was Robbinsville, NJ’s contribution to the event. The team packed their bags, and headed out at 6:00 am, enduring a 12 hour car ride to Indianapolis. Upon their arrival, members unpacked Athena and organized the 8 square foot pit that would become their home away from home over the next two days. Within that square, team members would operate on the robot, sometimes calmly, while other times scrambling frantically. The long day ended in the hotel with the smell of local pizza and the sound of anxious chatter.
The sun rose and the first day of qualifications was up them. That morning, the lobby of the hotel, packed with robotics kids from all over the country (and Canada), buzzed with excitement. Everyone eagerly awaited the start of the long day of 104 matches ahead. Despite their tough schedule, Nemesis was confident of victory. IRI was advertised as a competition featuring the “Best of the Best”. It was amazing to see some of the best robots in the world playing on the same field. With the outstanding caliber of the competition, most alliances scored in the triple digits and many scored over 200 points. With their 7 disk autonomous routine and precision scoring, Nemesis showed that it belonged among the august group. To become more versatile, 2590’s software architect, Antonio Papa, wrote a midline autonomous routine, a different spin on the strictly 7 discs under the pyramid routine used all season. This new program was implemented several times throughout the day with great results. Aside from some minor fix ups, the day ran smoothly. Athena suffered no major catastrophes or serious damages. Led by Stephanie Kovacs, Team 2590 participated in a group scouting, run by Team 20. Thanks to FRC Team 20, Nemesis members took short shifts and had the privilege of participating in a large scouting program. In the last match of the day, Nemesis’s alliance scored a competition high of 254 points, winning 254-129. By the end of the first day of qualifications, drive team members Josh Falk and Antonio Papa had guided Nemesis into 12th place with a record of 4-2. Nemesis celebrated the conclusion of the day one with a Mexican dinner, and a long discussion regarding scouting results and strategy.
The third day in Indiana brought the qualification matches to a close. Nemesis ended with a record of 5-4 and a final ranking of 23rd out of the 69 teams. During alliance selection, Nemesis was selected as the third robot to join third seed alliance captains, Team 469, Las Guerrillas, and their first round pick, Team 118, the Robonauts. 3847 - Spectrum was the fourth alliance partner. Due to the opponent's full court shooter, the first elimination round was played by 3847 because of their defensive abilities. The alliance acquired a win but Las Guerrillas, 469, was broken and could not play in the next round. 2590 stepped in and played the second match. Unfortunately, this match did not go well for team Nemesis. Halfway through the match Nemesis collided with Team 1477 and the resulting impact disabled both robots. With Nemesis down, the third alliance lacked sufficient firepower to overcome their adversaries. With one win on both sides the fate of the third alliance rested on the tiebreaker, but with two damaged robots, the outlook was grim. 469 went back on the field in an attempt to recreate their previous victory. Alas, their efforts were in vain. At the conclusion of the tiebreaker, the third seed alliance was no longer in the running to win IRI. Despite the loss, the members of Nemesis watched on, excited to see the winning alliance. The day came to a close. The first seed alliance took the title of IRI champions.
Despite the unending efforts from the team, Nemesis was not able to secure a win at IRI. However, they were not without success. 2590 went home as the only team to represent the Mid-Atlantic Region in the elimination rounds at the Indiana Robotics Invitational. The trip gave the students a chance to work together and improve Athena even when competition season was not in session. Representing Robbinsville, a little town in New Jersey, Nemesis partook in one of the fiercest, most competitive, FIRST Robotics competitions the world had to offer.
2013 World Championships
With scant minutes between matches, time was of the essence and the alliance partners thought, "Is Nemesis in the game or dead in the water?" It was the quarterfinals of the Archimedes division of the World Championship when the floor intake of Nemesis’ Frisbee throwing robot, Athena, died. Switching quickly to defense, the top offensive robot finished the match. With an adrenalin rush, Jenna Mollica and Julia Borowski raced for the Pit to retrieve the spare Frisbee intake subsystem. With a gasp of disbelief and impending doom, their teammates, parents, and mentors were on the edge of their seats watching the intense activity below on the field. The alliance had to decide whether to forsake Nemesis and pick a substitute alliance partner or stay with them, gambling on a working robot for the next match.
With sure and practiced hands, Jenna, Julia, Josh Falk, Arnav Vast, and mentor Scott Meredith ripped off the bent system and replaced it with the spare in two minutes. Dan Gavrushenko working in parallel started repairing the original intake roller. Applause erupted from the other teams in admiration when the Pit Crew, working like a well oiled machine, smiled in satisfaction as the new intake system roared to life. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind, who built this award winning robot. On time and competition ready, Nemesis queued to enter the field with their alliance for the next match.
A seven disc shooter is de rigueur for alliances to gain the momentum needed to win the 2013 Ultimate Ascent game. After winning the Hatboro-Horsham District and Mid-Atlantic Region Championship, this young team competed in one of the top divisions, Archimedes, where high scores were in the 260s. One of the major reasons for their success is the 7 disc autonomous routine written by Antonio Papa, Lead Programmer, which scores 42 points in the first fifteen seconds of the match. Under program control, the camera senses the top target, automatically aims and rapidly shoots 3 discs for 18 points then drives forward over 4 addition discs. Switching to reverse, Nemesis drops the Frisbee intake system and sweeps up the 4 discs then returns to the original shooting position, where it senses the top target and shoots the 4 discs for an additional 24 points. Cheers erupt as they deliver up to 42 points at the start of each match before the Drive team takes over for the teleop phase of the game.
With two speeds, low gear with the torque to push most robots and a nimble and fast high gear, Driver Josh Falk takes charge and consistently scores 12 points per round trip cycle as the robot gathers 4 discs, returns to the home pyramid and shoots all 4 discs into the target. Deftly moving and dodging the defense robots, Nemesis is able to scoop discs from anywhere on the playing field. Josh’s strategy is to score as many points as possible and not be deflected into a push and shove contest. But the power is there when needed and Nemesis can bully it’s way with the best of them.
Finishing the season as the 12th ranked robot in the public poll of mentors, team members and alumni, the team is very happy with their 2013 season results.
RHS Robotics team advances to World Championships
Fifty of the best and the brightest from New Jersey, Delaware, and eastern Pennsylvania competed in the FIRST Robotics Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships, but Robbinsville High School and its alliance partners came out on top in a victory that advances RHS to the world championships this week in St. Louis.
The Stabler Arena at Lehigh University was filled with robot driving, Frisbee-flying, and pyramid-climbing action during the weekend of April 12. “Ultimate Ascent “ was the name of the game, and the goal was to shoot Frisbees into goals of varying heights and point values. For additional points, robots climbed to one of three levels on a pyramid at the end of each match. Each qualification match lasted 2 minutes and 15 seconds and was played between two alliances of three randomly selected robots.
The competition at Lehigh University was quick to heat up, with one of the first matches ending with a score of over 200 points! It soon became clear, however, that victory would be hard-won, with scores sometimes differing by only a couple points. Teams were forced to make every point count, facing the fiercest competition of the 2013 season.
Nemesis quickly rose in the rankings thanks to its superb drive team: students Josh Falk, Antonio Papa, Dan Gavrushenko and mentor Scott Meredith. In one of the closer matches, Nemesis was losing with seconds left on the clock. The crowd began to count down, 3…2…1…, and Nemesis climbed the pyramid at the last second to take the win! In fact, by the end of the second day, Nemesis was the second-ranked team.
Not all of the action was taking place in the arena, however. Back in the pit area, scores of judges visited Nemesis to see the robot and learn more about the team. Students presented the team’s business plan and community outreach events to the awed judges. The safety advisers also stopped by to visit Nemesis’ Safety Captain Parth Mandrekar to ensure the team followed all regulations.
The third and final day of competition kicked off on Saturday. Dance music blasted and teams cheered as the last few qualification matches were played. Alliance selections for the finals were made before lunch, in which the top eight teams picked two others to join them in the finals matches. Working with Storm Robotics from Lenape Regional High School and Sa-BOT-age from Downington High School East in Pennsylvania, Nemesis was part of the first-ranked alliance.
In the quarterfinals, Nemesis faced off against the exact alliance that had triumphed over them in the TCNJ District Event. This time, however, it was Nemesis who emerged victorious. As the quarterfinals advanced into the semifinals, scores were becoming higher and matches were growing closer. One nail-biting match ended with a final score of 191 to 171! Eventually, Nemesis fought their way into the finals. The winner would be determined by best two out of three matches. After winning the first match, Nemesis got ready to face off for the title of MAR Champion. As the match began, robots went flying across the playing field to collect disks, and shot one after another into the goals. There was no doubt it would be a close one, as spectators lost count of all the disks flying into their targets.
Teams cheered and waited in eager anticipation as the final score was tallied by the referees. The announcer called attention to the projection screen where the outcome would be displayed. “With a final score of 140 to 136 … Alliance One takes the crown!”
A triumphant roar erupted from the stands as Nemesis and its alliance celebrated their hard-fought victory. At the awards ceremony, Nemesis was presented with the Excellence in Engineering Award, recognizing the team for its elegant and innovative intake for the swift retrieval of Frisbees.
Nemesis now advances to the World Championships being held this week (April 23-26) in St. Louis.
“Now that we’ve won the MAR Championships, it will be exciting to go to the World Championships and see how we stack up there,” student Josh Falk said.
Originally published in the Robbinsville Sun on April 23, 2013. Click here to read original story
Team 2590 Emerges Victorious at TCNJ, wins Chairman's Award
Robbinsville High School’s FIRST Robotics Team 2590 continued its successful 2013 competition season at The College of New Jersey District Competition. Hot on the heels of a district win at Hatboro-Horsham, Team Nemesis clinched second place at TCNJ on March 16 and won the prestigious Chairman’s Award, presented by Anisha Mohan (Marketing), Julia Borowski (Build Team) and Baljot Ranu (Finance).
RHS students designed the team’s competition robot “Athena” using CAD mechanical engineering software and constructed it in the high school’s technology lab in just six short weeks. Local Robbinsville businesses and sponsors custom manufactured Athena’s parts as per the students’ design specifications.
Excitement ran high as Team 2590 arrived at TCNJ for their second two-day district level competition of the 2013 season. As 38 other teams rolled in from New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and Delaware, Nemesis prepared for a day of Frisbee-flying, robot-climbing fun.
Dance music blasted and teams cheered as the games of Ultimate Ascent began, in which robots aim to shoot plastic discs through targets of varying heights and then climb a metal pyramid. The first day of qualification matches were played between two teams of three randomly selected alliances. Athena quickly shot ahead of the competition, accurately shooting one disc per second into the highest scoring goal.
Throughout the day, supporters stopped by to cheer Nemesis on including Schools Superintendent Steve Mayer, RHS Principal Molly Avery, RHS teachers Sandy Overton and Lisa Peters. Frederick Egenolf and Diane Delandro from Nemesis’ sponsors Bristol-Myers Squibb and Citibank, respectively, also joined Team 2590 in the stands, to root for Athena. State Sen. Linda Greenstein, D-Mercer, an avid team supporter, dropped by as well to see Nemesis perform firsthand.
Team 2590 finished the day as the second seeded team, thanks to the excellent remote-controlled driving by student team members Josh Falk, Antonio Papa, and Dan Gavrushenko, under the guidance of RHS teacher and mentor Scott Meredith.
Nemesis saw even more success on Day Two of the competition. The team became the highest scoring alliance of the day, accumulating a whopping 168 points in a single match while partnered with Team 103 Cybersonics from Kintnersville, Pennsylvania. When the qualification matches came to a close, Nemesis clinched second seed with a record of 10-2, one win behind Team 103, the first seeded team. Without hesitation, the Cybersonics invited Nemesis to join their alliance for elimination matches, rounding out the alliance with Team 1881 Gamma Elite from Paterson, New Jersey.
The alliance sliced through the eliminations, quickly securing their place in the finals. After a couple hard-fought matches, Nemesis emerged the finalists of the competitions, taking home second place. The biggest success, however, was yet to come.
Team members sat perched on the edge of their seats throughout the awards ceremony, waiting restlessly as more and more awards were called. Finally, it came time to announce the Chairman’s Award winner. The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award given, honoring the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and inspires appreciation of science, technology, and real-life rewards and opportunities in these fields. It also recognizes a team for an outstanding commitment to their community.
Nemesis waited with bated breath until, finally, “The winner of the 2013 TCNJ District Chairman’s Award is. .. Team 2590!” The stands erupted into applause as team members ran to receive their medals and the team’s Chairman’s Video was played on a large screen. The team eagerly lined up to take a photo with their newest addition to their growing collection of banners.
“The Chairman’s Award Video was definitely a labor of sleepless nights and hours of editing. So when I saw the video up on the big screen, I’m not ashamed to say there were a few tears of joy,” gushed Karla Dimatulac, the main Chairman’s Video editor.
Following the TCNJ competition, Nemesis ranked 8th out of 1,400 teams in an unofficial international Offensive Power Ranking (OPR) of FIRST robots.
“It’s an amazing achievement, to be internationally recognized as a powerful force within the world of FIRST Robotics,” said mentor Karen Young.
Team Nemesis is now preparing for the Mid Atlantic Region Championships. It will be held April 11-13 at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena. The team hopes to qualify for the World Championships in St. Louis set for April 24-27.
“We had proved to be a top team at the district events, so it will be interesting to see how we do at the MAR and World Championships,” said member Jenna Mollica.
Visit the team’s interactive website, frc2590.org, at any time for updates on the 2013 season.
Sponsors of Team 2590 Nemesis, whose donations help pay for the equipment needed to build the robot and the entry fees for the various competitions, include: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lockheed Martin, BAPS Charities, CCL Label, NASA, Siemens Corp., Robbinsville Education Foundation, SRI International, Citibank, Skylink Technology, NJ Chamber of Commerce, Elite Dental, McGraw Hill, McGraw Hill Federal Credit Union, APCO, Gaum Incorporated, Evans Analytical Group, Gilbane, DesignTree, Carfaro Fencing, ShopRite, Mannino’s Three, R.A.S. Process Equipment, T-Slot and the Robbinsville Board of Education.
Robbinsville Robotics Team Wins First Place at Hatboro-Horsham District Competition
Robinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team, Nemesis, won first place at the Hatboro-Horsham district competition March 2, 2013.
Nemesis competed against 36 teams from New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware with their robot, Athena.
In the qualifying matches, team members Josh Falk, Antonio Papa, Dan Gavrushenko with advisor Scott Meredith steered Athena in a disc throwing competition. The robot launched one disc per second into the highest goal helping Nemesis land on top of the leader board.
On the second day, the team continued their success and ended the qualification rounds with an undefeated 11-0-1 record. They were ranked in the first place seed and chose to ally with teams from Ambler and Pottstwon, Pa. for the final matches.
The Nemesis alliance faced off against a team from Wilmington, Del. and their alliance, called MOE, in the semifinals. The final score was Nemesis 150 and MOE 120.
Robbinsville robotics earned the Quality Award for excellent execution of the robot design and an overall outstanding robot.
Their next competition is March 15 and 16 at The College of New Jersey Student Recreation Center in Ewing. Doors open at 9 a.m. Admission is free.
Originally posted at mercerspace.com
Investing in students
The business donors who help make Robbinsville High School’s FIRST Robotics program possible came to Team 2590’s recent networking event where they drove the 2012 basketball-shooting robot and saw the almost-finished 2013 model, which will toss Frisbees and climb metal pyramids when the next competitions begin March 1.
“It’s amazing that they can do this level of work in just five or six weeks,” said Peter Mavroudakis, of Lockheed Martin, as he surveyed the activity in the high school’s expansive technology lab.
Steve Morales, of Siemens Industry, said what he found equally impressive was the program’s comprehensiveness. The 66 members of Team 2590 Nemesis work in sub-teams devoted to all aspects of a successful robotics program, including the creation of a business plan, finance, fundraising, marketing and running a website – not just designing, programming and assembling a robot.
“It’s impressive,” Morales said. “There’s so much more that goes into this besides the building of robots.”
The Feb. 6 Sponsor Networking Event at the high school drew about a dozen representatives from a range of global and local companies in the fields of technology, automation, software development, custom-machinery manufacturing, finance, pharmaceuticals, and the aerospace industry.
Students, dressed in black business attire, gave a polished presentation that highlighted the benefits of corporate sponsorship as well as Team 2590’s achievements in last year’s FIRST Robotics “Rebound Rumble” competitions. RHS advanced all the way to the semifinals at the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis where it finished among the top 4 percent of the more than 400 teams there.
The 2012 season also included district entrepreneurship awards for the finance and marketing team, the prestigious chairman’s award for overall excellence, the regional best website award at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, and a regional entrepreneurship award at the Festival de Robotique in Montreal.
Donations from corporate and community sponsors are key to the team’s success because the grants pay for the equipment, competition fees and team travel expenses, said RHS technology teacher Joy Wolfe, the advisor to Team 2590. Last year the team’s operating expenses totaled $60,000 because the team advanced all the way to the world championship, Wolfe said.
After the students’ presentation, the veteran of last year’s competitions, a 4-foot, 120-pound basketball-shooting robot dubbed “Prince,” was whirring about and sinking baskets on an oversized wooden backboard affixed with four hoops of varying heights. But the main attraction was the unfinished machine on a lab table that will soon be competing in FIRST Robotics’ new 2013 challenge, a game called “Ultimate Ascent.”
FIRST challenged high school students on Jan. 5 to build robots that can shoot Frisbees through targets of varying heights and then climb a metal pyramid. The robots will earn points based on how many targets of varying degrees of difficulty they make and how high they can climb on the pyramid before time runs out. The students were given six weeks to design and build their robots.
“This year’s game is nothing like we have ever seen before, pretty much the hardest challenge that FIRST has ever issued,” said Team 2590 CEO Josh Falk. “It’s going to be interesting to see how different teams tackle the challenge.”
Uddhav Joglekar, an executive on the build team, said the team’s strategy for amassing points is not to waste too much time on the pyramid.
“As a team, we decided that climbing the pyramid to the top row is not what we want to do,” Uddhav said “So we have a robot that is designed to right now shoot our Frisbees and get that quick bottom low hang at the end of the match.”
Build Team Executive Julia Borowski said a Robbinsville-based custom machinery manufacturer, Gaum Inc., has been instrumental in providing a lot of the parts for the 2013 robot.
“This year, our students who have taken Project Lead the Way (pre-engineering) classes, where they learned to use CAD (mechanical engineering) software to design many of the parts, and we were able to send that to our sponsor Gaum to manufacture these parts,” Julia said. “They fit excellently on our robot.”
The Robbinsville robot will roll out for the first district-level competition of the 2013 season on March 2-3 at Hatboro-Horsham Regional High School in Horsham, Pennsylvania.
Nemesis Hosts Sponsor Networking Event
As gratitude for all the support our sponsors have given us, Nemesis grabbed their black dresses and red ties last night when the team hosted our sponsorship networking event. Our sponsors were invited to the high school to attend a brief presentation, led by CEO Josh Falk and CFO Baljot Ranu, about our team's recent success, a tour of the technology lab, and a demonstration of last year's robot, Prince. Everyone enjoyed seeing our sponsors using their body language to control the robot via the Kinect. Jenna Mollica and Dan Gavrushenko described the new challenge Ultimate Ascent and our strategies for the 2013 robot, Athena.
Additionally, we presented each sponsors with a customized plaque, designed by Michael Filipek, thanking them for everything they've done. Finally, we treated our guests to some humble hors d'oeurves--from chicken fingers to mini pasties (yum)--ordered and donated by our parent volunteers. Once all the sponsors left, heels were taken off in celebration of a successful evening. Needless to say, by the end of the night, the team was so hungry, even the celery sticks were completely devoured.
But no special Nemesis event is completely over until we take a couple hundred photos--here are just a few of the exec board, donned in such dapper businesswear.
Better Brush Up On Your Frisbee Terms: Nemesis PULLS Into 2013
On January 5th, the sun had barely risen when members of Team 2590 woke up bright and early just hours before the much-awaited disclosure of the 2013 season game challenge. Along on our kickoff adventures were our fresh rookies—still unaware of this wild-but-in-a-good-way lifestyle that is the FIRST Robotics Build Season. Shortly after the whole team arrived at the local Montgomery High School Kickoff at around 0800 hours, members dispersed into the available workshops. Topics such as pneumatics, LabVIEW, and the Chairman’s Award were discussed in each of these seminars.
Fast forward to a couple hours and a T-shirt cannon later, one could hear the sound of every robotics kid in the auditorium having heart palpitations once Dean Kamen’s lovely face appeared on the large screen—always a popular time to start hyperventilating.
“Good luck and we’ll see you at this year’s competition!” the video concluded, leaving its audience quite stunned. Blobs of people charged to the game pieces as soon as they were revealed. Armed with a video camera, Karla and Anisha recorded a few people’s thoughts concerning this rather…perplexing challenge.
“So…we have to build a robot…that throws Frisbees…and climbs a pyramid,” many expressed skeptically. “I wish the FIRST rookies much luck this season.”
“No problem. We’ll have this done by what, Week Three?” Mr. Young assured confidently. This statement was accompanied with Samantha’s nervous laughter.
“Wait, are you recording this?”
And so, here ended the tale of this fateful day when Ultimate Ascent was at long last exposed. Though this wondrous account of events is coming to a close, this is merely a brief prologue in this team’s story. Another epic saga of optimistically fantastic journeys awaits 2590. Who knows, maybe in a few months, the website shall headline, “Nemesis Ascends To Ultimate Victory.”
KICKOFF | Ultimate Ascent
ROBBINSVILLE — Their task is to design and build a robot that can climb a metal tower and toss Frisbees through targets faster and more accurately than thousands of other robots. And they have six weeks to do it.
Students from Robbinsville, Allentown, Hamilton, Hightstown and other communities gathered at Montgomery High School on Jan. 5 for the kickoff of the 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition season and watch the NASA-TV webcast revealing this year’s challenge. All over the world 51,000 students were assembled in similar gatherings to watch the live announcement broadcast from Southern New Hampshire University.
Every year, FIRST (an acronym that means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) reveals a new challenge that gives students the opportunity to test their robotics and engineering know-how in arena-style competitions at regional — and if they’re successful — national and international events.
This year’s challenge is called Ultimate Ascent and requires robots to throw Frisbees through several targets to earn points, then climb metal towers at the center of the playing field. High schools will form three-team alliances during the competitions, assigning robots to specific tasks such as tossing, climbing, and retrieving Frisbees on the playing field.
The RHS FIRST Robotics Team 2590 and other area high schools were able to take advantage of workshops on topics such as pneumatics, the LabVIEW software design system, and the judging criteria for the Chairman’s Award, the competition’s most prestigious honor, while they waited for the official broadcast to begin.
The atmosphere was reminiscent of Christmas morning jitters, as students exchanged curious glances and strained to peek under the curtain hanging 2 inches off the ground. As the minutes passed the students’ guesses about what was to come were becoming wilder.
”I bet it’s a pyramid!” called out Julia Borowski, a member of the RHS Robotics Build Team.
Finally, around 11:30 a.m., everyone was called to attention. The auditorium waited in nervous anticipation as the new game was announced and an animation explaining the rules was played.
”Good luck and we’ll see you at this year’s competition!” the video concluded, leaving its audience in stunned silence.
And it was for a good reason. The robots must not only be able to toss Frisbees into small goals of varying heights, they must also be able to climb pyramid-shaped metal towers located in the center of the 27x54-foot arena.
Under the rules of Ultimate Ascent, robots will be able to earn 1 to 5 points, depending on the difficulty of the target, but the most points are awarded to the robots that can climb the pyramids. During the last 20 seconds, robots can earn 10 to 30 points, depending on how high they can climb before time runs out.
Ultimate Ascent will be played in randomly selected 3 vs. 3 alliances in rounds that are two minutes and 15 seconds long. During the first 15 seconds of the match, called the Autonomous Period, the robot will follow pre-programmed instructions to score as many goals as possible for double points. Then the student drivers step in for the Teleoperated Period, and the disks really start to fly.
Since the various school alliances are randomly selected each round, cooperation and gracious professionalism are expected.
”FIRST isn’t about competing, it’s about cooperating and recognizing that if you have the right tools, you’ll be able to make this world a better place for yourself and for the country,” said Dean Kamen, the president of DEKA Research and Development and FIRST founder.
Despite their initial incredulity, after a day of reading the manual and brainstorming ideas RHS Nemesis Team 2590 members returned to the Robbinsville High School Technology Lab with high hopes for the design and build season. The next few weeks will be filled with lots of hard work, but when the robot is finally complete, all of those long hours will be worthwhile.
Holiday Food Drive
The Robbinsville FIRST Robotics team, Nemesis, and the Sharon School collected an impressive 1,749 food items for the Robbinsville Food Pantry. Four minivans and one car load of food was collected was dropped off at the Senior Center. The winner, Mrs. Martin's 1st grade class, donated 342 food items to win a pizza party at Mannino's Three on December 5, along with a custom made plaque designed and engraved by Michael Filipek during his Digital Fabrication class. The high school students and parents picked up the donations, sorted, tallied and stocked the Robbinsville Food Pantry shelves. The food drive project was lead by Samantha Young, Stephanie Kovacs, Erica Falk, Uddhav Joglekar and Kiera Wolfe.
Also, the Robbinsville Extended Day (R.E.D.) program just completed a holiday food drive at Sharon School, where the children amassed nearly 500 cans for the Lifetree Community Church Food Bank. Pantries throughout the state have been depleted by Hurricane Sandy and Thanksgiving, so all donations are meaningful at this time so please help if you can.