Climbing Up The Competitive Ladder
The horn blew signaling 30 seconds left in the match. Nemesis attempted to mount a gear to the airship but were too far away. After multiple attempts they gave up on the gear and headed straight for the newly released rope. Suddenly Nemesis was driving in circles. 5 seconds remained. More circles.The horn blew declaring the end of the match. A win would have sealed the victory delivering Nemesis’ fifth consecutive Hatboro-Horsham win. With this devastating loss, Nemesis was carried off the field only to discover it was missing a wheel.
It is Saturday March 5th and the Hatboro-Horsham District competition is underway. Nemesis FRC2590 from Robbinsville, New Jersey is one of the 36 robotics team from New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania at the event. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, Nemesis arrived at Hatboro High School in Horsham Pennsylvania ready for the 7:30am start. With matches not starting until 11:00, Nemesis is hard at work in the pits. Build Members are scurrying about, making last minute modifications to the robot and Marketing Members are taking pictures and eagerly awaiting visits from the judges.
During their only practice match, Nemesis had a rocky start, struggling to place gears on the pegs, but showcased a successful climb. The Build Team knew what needed to be fixed, and exactly how to fix it. Nemesis was ready.
Back to the pits to prepare for their first qualification match and to fix the gear issue, Nemesis impatiently waited for their time on the field. While Build Members were working on the robot, the Marketing Members were conversing with judges about what it means to be on Nemesis and how “we run our team like a high-tech business”.
Let the games begin. Eris, Nemesis’ FIRST Steamworks robot, had a rough start. After losing the first three matches, the Drive Team worked hard to counteract each issue as it arose and things started looking up. Nemesis finished the qualification matches 6-4-0.
Sophomore Build Team Member, Bhargavi Lanka professed, “My first competition was such a surreal experience! It’s incredible seeing our robot start at the bottom and climb its way up the competition.”
Sunday, shortly after 11:00, alliance selection began. Nemesis found itself on the third seed alliance joining captain FRC3974, E=mcD, and their alliance partner FRC2539, Krypton Cougars.
Dominating both the quarterfinal and semi final matches, Nemesis and the Blue Alliance headed into the finals hoping to bring home the district championship trophy. Alas, the alliance encountered several unwanted difficulties.
The first three finals matches were a win, a tie and a loss for the Blue Alliance. Throughout the tie breaking match the Red and Blue Alliances kept the scores close. By the end of the match the score was 240, Red, and 235, Blue. It all came down to the climb and when a Red robot fell off of the rope the Blue Alliance knew they had the win. But, as Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” As fate would have it, with less than two seconds left on the clock, a Blue Alliance scaling rope broke and the Krypton Cougars’ robot crashed to the ground as the final bell tolled. Because of this series of unfortunate events, the score remained 240-235, with the Red Alliance taking home the win, breaking Nemesis’ Hatboro-Horsham District Event win streak.
The Nemesis family joined together to watch Eris play in her a inaugural competition. Not only were team members and parents on hand to cheer her on, but also, alumni, alumni families and Nemesis friends. Nemesis also had many alumni volunteering at the event and Nemesis students volunteered at the Mid-Atlantic Robotics donation table.
Nemesis took home the Entrepreneurship Award showcasing the Marketing and Business Teams hard work and efforts. The award celebrates a team which has developed a comprehensive business plan and the business skills to ensure a self-sustaining program.
Nemesis and Eris will be competing at Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy District Event, March 18-19 and Festival de Robotique - Montreal Regional, March 23-25.
Network It Out
Deep in the thick of build season, Nemesis 2590 briefly halted prototyping, put down their tools, and took a collective break from the organized chaos of Build Season Week 3 to host their fifth annual Sponsor Networking Night.
Sponsor Networking Night is the best and most direct means of thanking and maintaining a thoroughly personal relationship with sponsors. Through presentations, personal interactions with team members, and hands-on demos, sponsors are offered penetrating insight into the inner workings of Nemesis.
The night began with Nemesis team members from all subteams greeting representatives and leading them into the Robbinsville High School (RHS) Technology Lab. Sponsors became increasingly intrigued as build executives Charlie D’Amico and Mariko McMurtry discussed the previous season’s successes before divulging information regarding the 2017 robot and the FIRST Steamworks game. Surprised by the game’s complexities, sponsors were extremely curious as to how Nemesis’s 2017 competition robot would tackle this fresh challenge. Answers did not have to wait, as sponsors freely questioned team members 1-on-1 between demonstrations.
Next, marketing executives in the adjacent Student Activities Center gave an overview of the team’s finances, competitive standings, and community outreach. During this presentation, Nemesis’ true nature shined through. 2016 produced the team’s most successful food drive yet, multiple competitive awards, and expanded the horizons of Nemesis influence. Operated as a high-tech business, Nemesis 2590’s marketing sector directly interacts with sponsors who essentially act as investors. However, instead of investing with the intention of monetary returns, sponsors reap the healthy profit of potential employees and a diverse, strong future STEM community.
Assemblymen, industry representatives, and parents marveled at the final presentation: a hands on operation of Daedalus, Nemesis' 2016 competition robot. “I think it’s awesome what’s going on here. It’s a near completely student-run organization and these students are doing things reminiscent of what’s actually being produced in the technology field,” brightly observed NAVAIR representative Colonel Cynthia Wong of the United States Air Force. Sponsors swerved, drifted and spun Daedalus across the Nemesis practice field, pausing only to ask questions or launch foam balls from the robot’s powerful shooter. Also found in the RHS commons was the programmable, dancing, walking, and talking NAO Robot as well as several Nemesis 2590 produced videos.
It’s been 10 years since Mrs. and Mr. Wolfe, an intensely dedicated group of students, and the RHS administration came together to form the Robbinsville Robotics Team, FRC 2590 Nemesis. In that time, Nemesis has won numerous awards and jumpstarted the careers of countless Robbinsville students. These accomplishments would have been rendered impossible without the generous and vital support of their sponsors. To them, Nemesis 2590 extends its sincerest gratitude.
Nemesis would like to give a special thanks to: Robbinsville High School, NAVAIR, CCL Label, DoDStem, Knowledgement, Nordson, Leidos, the Robbinsville Educator Association, Lockheed Martin, Sharbell Development Corp., the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Investors Bank, RAS, the Robbinsville Education Foundation, Triangle Copy, Skylink, Coldwell Banker, Northstar Vets, Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, Designtree, Siemens, SRI, McGraw Hill Financial, as well as all the Friends and Family of Nemesis.
2017 Week 2: Build Journal
During Week 2, the Build Team continued to spend their time prototyping in the Tech Lab. As the second week of prototyping comes to an end the team made decisions about some the prototypes and finalized some designs. The CAD Team members started to recreate the finished prototype subsystems. The Build Team discussed how to best configure them on the robot.
Build Team members continued to debate strategy to determine the best course of action.
Several subteams were created to focus on different aspects of the game:
The Gear Subteam continued to modify and finalize their design to obtain gears from the feeder stations and deliver then to the airship.
The Shooter Subteam spent the week testing out two shooter prototypes for accuracy, speed, and consistency, and made the final decision about which design to use on the robot.
The team that worked on the robot’s climbing mechanism decided on a final design that proved to be very successful in lifting a great amount of weight.
The Intake Team has made several prototypes to collect fuel from the ground, hoppers, and feeder stations and continues to work on identifying the best solution.
This year’s robot is beginning to take shape. Everyone continues to put in their best efforts. We anticipate finishing prototyping, continuing CADing throughout Week 3.
2017 Week 1: Build Journal
It’s finally here! Planning, prototyping and long hours in the tech lab, all accented the first week of the Build Season. Starting at kickoff, we became more familiar with the objectives of our robot and what we needed to succeed in this year’s game, FIRST STEAMWORKS! Knowing that this year our robot would have to climb a rope, collect and deliver gears, be able to shoot fuel into the boilers, as well as collect fuel from the input, our analysis meeting brainstormed several brilliant strategies. We broke up into subteams, and began prototyping many different features in order to make this year’s robot the best it could possibly be.
Here’s a quick re-cap of this week's progress made by each subteam:
The subteam working with the challenge of the gears, were able to create a path that would catch the gear and have considered multiple ways of getting it onto the spring. Over the week they have tried several variations of these parts in order to improve the success rate.
The climbing subteam worked on two prototypes this week. Both prototypes were able to lift 110 pounds in a short amount of time. Only time will decide which version will work best with our robot design.
The sub team for the hopper worked on procuring fuel from the input.. They were able to create various prototypes this week. They tried out many designs to see which one would be the best at accomplishing the task.
The sub team for the shooter was able to create many prototypes to see which one would work best in the game. Most of the prototypes were able to shoot a long horizontal and vertical distance at a very quick speed. One of the prototypes was able to shoot the fuel at a quicker rate.
With every subteam working diligently on various parts of the robot, it would be truly rewarding to see it eventually be cohesively integrated into the finished product!
Lots and lots of prototyping still happening. Nothing definite yet, but soon! Little by little its all coming together. We can’t wait to see what week 2 brings!
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 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.
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 email@example.com 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 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.
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.
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
Nemesis Hosts Its Biannual Food Drive
It is winter, the holidays are over and people are still hungry. To the rescue is the Robbinsville Food Pantry, the students of Sharon Elementary School and Nemesis, Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590. To stock the shelves they hosted their biannual food drive, collecting canned goods, nonperishables, and personal hygiene items. Sharon and Windsor Elementary Schools generously donated items and Nemesis team members sorted and delivered them. The food drive was led by Stephanie Kovacs, Erica Falk, and Samantha Young.
“It feels really great to give back to the community.” said Samantha Young, a sophomore and member of the Nemesis Build Team.
“It was exciting to see the reactions of the kids when I went to pick up the food.” says Erica Falk, a senior and member of the Logistics team.
“I have heard that people got laid off. We don’t really think that it affects us, but it does. You do what you can to help. ” says Mitaali Taskar, a sophomore and member of the Marketing Team.
It is important to Nemesis to help out the community that supports our team and we highly encourage everyone to donate to the Robbinsville Food Pantry throughout the year. The food pantry is located at the rear of the Robbinsville Senior Center at 1117 U.S. 130, Robbinsville, NJ 08691. Please contact Renee Burns via e-mail at Renee@robbinsville-twp.org or phone at (609) 259-1567 for more information.
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.
Nemesis Kicks Off FIRST Season
Tens of thousands of students around the world waited with baited breath to hear the new FIRST Robotics challenge, Aerial Assist. Teams of robots will pass, catch and shoot 2 foot large balls across an arena with their teammates into six foot high goals. Each team has six weeks to design and build their masterpiece.
Braving the snow and the ice, team members appeared as early as 7:15am to hear this year’s game announcement. Nemesis, the RHS FIRST Robotics Team 2590 and other area FIRST robotics teams took advantage of workshops on topics such as pneumatics, gearboxes, and the judging criteria for the Chairman’s Award, the competition’s most prestigious honor, while they waited for the official broadcast to begin.
Students from Robbinsville, Hamilton, Allentown, Ewing, Hightstown, Bridgewater and other communities gathered at Montgomery High School on January 4 for the kickoff of the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition season and watched the NASA-TV webcast revealing this year’s challenge. All over the world, 2700 teams were assembled at similar gatherings to watch the announcement broadcast live from Southern New Hampshire University.
Every year, FIRST (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 district, regional — and if they’re successful — national and international events.
The buzz in the air was electric as students sat on the edge of their seats. The excitement was palatable as teams awaited FIRST Founder, Dean Kamen’s unveiling of Aerial Assist. A hush fell over the room as students & mentors voraciously watched the game video.
Aerial Assist is played in randomly selected 3 vs. 3 alliances in rounds that are two minutes and 30 seconds long. During the first 10 seconds of the match, called the Autonomous Period, the robot follows pre-programmed instructions to shoot a large 24 inch ball in the ‘hot’ goal. Then the student drivers step in for the Teleoperated Period. Here, cooperation is of utmost importance. Teams pass the ball from robot to robot across the court, earning bonus points for tossing and catching as well as successful cooperation. The final robot shoots the ball into various goals to score cumulative points for the alliance. Although the task can be completed by a single robot, high bonus points are awarded to the amount of passes each team completes before scoring.
Nemesis Chief Technical Officer, Julia Borowski enthused, “We are prototyping in Autodesk Inventor, our Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, to design, test and simulate our various components before we machine and assemble our competition robot. I am looking forward to my final competition season and preparing our underclassmen for years to come.“
RHS sophomore, Samantha Young pointed out, “Teamwork is essential in this year’s challenge. I am very excited to see how well all the teams cooperate.”
“Definitely a challenge, but it will be fun to solve,” laughed Arnav Vast, RHS Junior.
And then they were off! Nemesis members raced home to read the rule book and get ready to share their ideas and begin prototyping that evening.
Nemesis 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.
”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.
Nemesis would like to thank their sponsors: Robbinsville High School, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, CCL Label, Lockheed Martin, Siemens, Nordson, Citibank, Elite Dental Care, Robbinsville Education Association, Carfaro Fencing, DesignTree, Gilbane, McGraw Hill Financial, R.A.S. Process Equipment, Gaum, and SRI International. For additional information please visit www.frc2590.org or contact Team Advisor Joy Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discovery Day Proves An Overwhelming Success
Robbinsville High School (RHS) Robotics Team FRC 2590, Nemesis, hosted their annual Discovery Day Robotics Camp, an event welcoming second through sixth graders to work with team members to create unique robots. On Saturday, December 7th and Sunday, December 8th, ninety-two excited campers gathered in the RHS Technology Lab to learn more about engineering and design from Nemesis team members and mentors.
When given the opportunity to drive Nemesis’ 2013 robot, Athena, participants vibrated with excitement. “It was really cool—I liked building the robot and driving the robot,” gushed Atishay, a second grader. With assistance from Antonio Papa, lead programmer, students took Athena for a spin, aiming and shooting Frisbees into the high scoring goal.
Younger students participated in the Ping-Pong Projectile Challenge. Participants created remote-controlled, motor-powered robots challenged to fire ping pong balls the furthest. Students Ava and Ruhi designed and engineered a robot that launched the ping-pong ball an impressive distance of 78.5 inches. Griffin, a fourth grader, made the suggestion “messing around with the trajectory a little bit” which improved his machine.
Choosing from a variety of sensors, experienced campers completed the NXT LEGO® Mindstorms Basketball Challenge, building robots able to carry and shoot ping-pong balls into a basket. With a winning time of 1.17 seconds, campers Luke and Gurveer programmed and tweaked their robot for success.
Discovery Day provided participants with a new perspective regarding Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science (STEM). Students successfully learned the importance of not only creating a good design, but how to approach solutions to difficult problems. “There’s a lot of error in making a robot,” explained fifth grader Kavya. “You have to troubleshoot.” Steve David, father of a satisfied participant, enthused: “thank you to you and all the students that ran the program—it certainly presented a compelling picture of a career in engineering [for my son], and in my opinion, was an overwhelming success.”
Discovery Day prompted excitement from both participants and Nemesis team members alike. Several other students expressed their excitement for next year’s program, leaving with content smiles. The event serves as one of Nemesis’ largest fundraisers, allowing them to travel and therefore compete in regional and international competitions.
High school robotics team aided by teachers’ union
THE MESSENGER-PRESS: Amy Batista
Debi Bella, President of Robbinsville Education Association, presented a check to the FIRST Robotics Team for $2,000 prior to the start of the meeting.
”We’re so excited to be able to make a donation to such a worthwhile program,” said Ms. Bella after the meeting.
This was the first time the REA has made a donation to the robotics team.
”We’re trying to expand our outreach programs,” Ms. Bella said. “It’s just great to see how far they’ve come and what they’ve been able to accomplish.”
Tom Staab, first vice president of the REA, was happy to support the team. “I’m glad to come back and see where the kids are now,” said Mr. Staab “It’s cool to see the next level of the program.”
Mr. Staab said the seniors coming through never had the opportunity to do robotics in the middle school, which was just started within the past few years.
Team advisors are Joy Wolfe and Scott Meredith, who are both technology teachers at the high school.
Joshua Falk, 17, of Robbinsville is the CEO of the 56-member team, which is broken down into different subsections.
”Our team is split up into half marketing and finance and the other half is build,” said Baljot Ranu, 16, of Robbinsville, CFO of the team.
According to Baljot, the team is set up “like a business.”
”We try to include almost like a Fortune 500 company – we have a build side and a then a working finance team,” Baljot said.
The team is looking to generate more interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among kids and have fun while doing it.
”Basically our goal of FIRST is to generate more interest and get more kids involved in science and technology,” said Joshua, who further noted that each year the team is assigned a different game or task and has six weeks to complete the challenge to build the robot.
”We compete over a few months,” Joshua said. “The past two years we’ve been really fortunate. We’ve done really well.”
The team has competed in Region Championships at Lehigh and at World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri.
”Last year we actually we won the Mid-Atlantic region and we were voted twelfth overall in the world,” Joshua said. “We’ve done really well recently and we are hoping to keep that up.”
The game this past year was “ultimate ascent,” which included shooting Frisbees into goals, which varied at different heights and for different point values and also included a metal pyramid the robot could climb for “bonus points.”
Baljot said there is a “strong” connection between the technology curriculum in the classroom and the robotics club that meets after school.
”For a lot of the build team members, we go through project lead the way courses at our school which is pre-engineering series of classes,” Joshua said. “We learn how to design, solve problems, introduction to engineering and things like that and how to use computer-aided design (CAD), which is the 3-D model.
”We are really lucky to have our school support as well as our sponsor support,” Baljot added.
Sponsors who support the team throughout the year include but are not limited to – Robbinsville Board of Education, Robbinsville Education Foundation, CCL Label, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Siemens, Citibank, Elite Dental Care, Carfaro Inc, Gilbane, McGraw-Hill and Guam Incorporated.
We thought none of this was actually possible,” Baljot said. “That’s why we’re really lucky to have all of the support.”
The team is working on organizing a sponsor networking day.
”We love that day,” Baljot said. “Our sponsors get to come in and actually see what we’ve done and the support they’ve given us.
”Overall it has helped me so much,” she added. “I came into this team thinking I was going to build a robot and after the first week I saw a whole other side of it and I got interested in the marketing and finance.”
She said because of her experience with the team when she walked into her college interviews “she feels prepared” and that the interviewers take an interest in her being in an “interactive club.
”I get a real life experience,” Baljot added, as she explained how she is accountable for money and budgeting finances of the team unlike other clubs she is in.
For the students, working with people who work in the field doing it for a living find it “cool.”
”The coolest thing it is all student done and student run and mentor advised in addition to our two technology teachers who at the school but then people’s parents who engineers or programmers or in marketing who come by after school and help us,” Joshua said. “We are actually working with people who do this for a living. That’s really cool.”
In addition, to the REA contribution, Lockheed Martin also donated $2,000.
Robotics Discovery Day lights a Spark of Inspiration
Starting early on Saturday morning and ending on Sunday afternoon, Nemesis hosted 92 students in grades 2-6 for our annual Robotics Discovery Day. Although the four sessions seemed very long to us, the kids enjoyed the time together and we made a huge impact on them. Excited and inspired, here's what happened when one camper returned home as related by his father:
"I just wanted to tell you about what an impact the robotics session had
on Griffin this past weekend. He was so fired up about it that when he
got home, he was inspired to make something out of spare parts. He
dismantled an old broken remote control helicopter, and we combined it
with some legos to make a working remote control car!! He was so proud of this achievement that he took it to school for his 'share' today.
Also, I asked him about the HS kids on the robotics team that worked
with them, and he described them as 'really smart'. :)
THANK YOU to you and all the students that ran the program -- It
certainly presented a compelling picture of a career in engineering, and
in my opinion was an overwhelming success.