Nemesis Sweeps the Seneca District
After another exciting two days of competition, Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis emerged as victors at the Seneca District Event, and as proud recipients of the Engineering Inspiration Award… for the “FIRST” time in Nemesis’ eight year history! The Seneca District Event is an annual competition hosted by Team 1647, the Iron Devils, at Seneca High School. After a tough win at Hatboro-Horsham two weeks prior, the team was anxious to see if their repairs to the robot’s battered frame and intake would hold out. And they certainly did, as Nemesis’ robot, Daedalus, maintained a number one ranking throughout the Qualifying Rounds.
Meanwhile, back in the pits, the Business and Build Team members fielded questions in numerous interviews with their respective judges, seeking to win awards for their creative engineering, world-class marketing and finance strategies, and extensive community outreach efforts. The judges, who returned to speak to the team multiple times, showed a great deal of interest in Nemesis.
Of the experience, first-time Marketing Team member Sophie Billings said, “It’s not every day that you get to be a part of a team like this. Being able to say that I helped win a prestigious award like the Engineering Inspiration Award is incredible.”
During Alliance Selection, Nemesis had their pick of teams, being ranked first during qualifications. They chose FRC teams 365 and 1626, the Miracle Workerz (MOE Robotics) and Falcon Robotics, who had both demonstrated innovative designs and clever gameplay strategies earlier in the event. MOE’s robot had a remarkable high goal shooting ability, even in autonomous mode, while Falcon Robotics’ robot was capable of scaling the tower and earning a major bonus at the end of the match.
Skillfully overcoming the two alliances faced in the quarterfinals and semifinals, Nemesis’ alliance looked ahead to a tough matchup in the finals where they stood against FRC 1640 SaBOTage and their alliance partners the Titanium Knights (FRC 6203) and SRNJ Rambotics (FRC 4573). SaBOTage and their allies made a formidable trio, twice setting a new high score in the semifinal rounds. It looked to be a nail-biting finale! In the finals, which are best of three, Nemesis and the red alliance rose to the challenge and won the first round, but the blue alliance came back in round two with a win of their own. Neck and neck, the teams prepared for the tiebreaker as the spectators watched with bated breath. The red alliance triumphed! Nemesis and their partners set a new high score of 179 points in the final match of the day to take the win.
“When the final match score was displayed and finalized, I was overflowing with emotions from the excitement and anticipation of our victory to the joy of our success, and finally the pride of knowing I was involved with such a wonderful team,” enthused junior Build Team member Charlie D’Amico.
In the awards ceremony, the team was honored with the prestigious Engineering Inspiration Award by the judges that had interviewed them in the pits, to commend their success and outreach efforts in spreading engineering throughout the community. Furthermore, Team Advisor Joy Wolfe, who has been the backbone of Team 2590 since its inception, was awarded the Woodie Flowers Nomination in recognition of her work with the team and the FIRST Community. Nemesis enjoyed a joyous team dinner after the event, and looks forward to competing at their next competition, the South Florida Regional in West Palm Beach, Florida, on March 31st-April 2nd. Wish them luck!
Nemesis would like to thank their sponsors: 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.
Murphy’s Law Debunked: Nemesis Wins Hatboro-Horsham Again!
A swift pass through the portcullis. A goal scored. The screeching of the drive train. The roar of the crowd. Robbinsville’s champion, Daedalus, scores a goal and starts to breach another defense when suddenly, it stops in its tracks. Team members in the stands are shocked. This is the final match of the Hatboro-Horsham District event, after two days of perseverance over countless challenges for the Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis. Narrowly surviving into the quarter-finals, fiercely overcoming the first seeded alliance in the semi-finals, and splitting the first two final matches until this ultimate battle for the crown, the team isn’t prepared to surrender easily. 10 seconds left. Still no activity. The Drive Team is pursuing all options to revitalize the robot. Refreshing the code, resetting the encoders, healing potions, nothing works. 5 seconds. Just as suddenly as its stagnation, Daedalus springs back to life and smoothly drifts onto the batter, earning last-minute points, shaking the gymnasium with applause. Nemesis, along with its alliance partners Captain FRC Team 1218 Vulcan Robotics and FRC Team 5407 Wolfpack, has won the Hatboro-Horsham District Event for the 4th consecutive year. Inconceivable!
FIRST’s game for the 2016 season, Stronghold, basing itself on heavy medieval influences, splits a field in half for each alliance of three teams and features motif-fitting game pieces. Teams breach portcullises, gates, and moats to enter their opponent’s courtyard and launch 10-inch diameter foam balls into either low or high goals to capture the enemy tower and win the match. Alliances earn increased points when scoring a high goal due to its heightened difficulty. Each match starts with a 15-second autonomous period, wherein robots are solely controlled by pre-programmed code rather than remote human operation.
Daedalus, Nemesis’s latest robot, was designed to address as many aspects of Stronghold as possible while retaining a focused plan. Build Team members opted to construct this year’s robot with an offensive strategy in mind.
Grappling with Daedalus’s main feature- its articulating shooter and intake- falling apart after nearly every match, it appeared that everything that could go wrong, went wrong. In an attempt to repair the multitude of small yet collectively destructive problems, the Build Team completely dismantled and reassembled Daedalus in under two hours.
With time running low, Nemesis put Humpty Daedalus back together and out on the field, hoping to recover from the previous losses. The impromptu repair session yielded positive results almost immediately, increasing the point output and number of high goals scored, yet not enough to pick up the distance between Nemesis and the top eight teams who would later become alliance captains. Unfortunately, instead, the team fell from 13th place to 15th place to 22nd place just in time for alliance selection. The team remained optimistic, a sentiment paying off when they were the first pick of the fourth-seeded alliance.
Behind the scenes, the Software Team entered a frenzy from the first match, attempting to reform the glitch-prone code in time for Daedalus’s next showing. During the autonomous period, the robot consistently crossed into the opponent’s courtyard successfully under the low bar obstacle, but failed to score with similar consistency. Upon resolving one problem, another promptly appeared in the ensuing match. However, much like the Build Team, Nemesis’ Software Team executed a complete overhaul of the code. By quarter-finals, within the autonomous period, Daedalus not only swept the enemy defenses, but also scored the coveted and punishing high goal, effectively laying the groundwork for the Drive Team’s triumphs later in each match. The revised code played an essential role in establishing a strong point lead over opponents early.
Although the Build and Software Teams may have experienced a much more exhilarating event, the business side of Nemesis did not walk away empty-handed. The team’s Chief Financial Officer Colin Riley became a Dean’s List Finalist, recognizing his efforts in exemplifying the core values of FIRST and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics). Additionally, the team was honored with the Quality Award, recognizing their robust robot design and construction.
Few times in Nemesis’s admittedly short history have there been such an emotional rollercoaster as this past weekend at the annual FIRST Mid-Atlantic Hatboro-Horsham District Event. A story befitting the medieval legends its central game was based on, Nemesis rose to the challenge and overcame considerable obstacles on and off the field, despite facing difficulty at nearly every turn. While it seemed that every facet of the event possible of going wrong did, in fact go wrong, Nemesis and its alliance partners stuck the battle out to its victorious end.
Next, Nemesis will be competing at the Seneca District Event on March 19-20th. Nemesis would like to thank their sponsors: 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 Team Advisor Joy Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 Week 5: Build Journal
With Build Season coming to a close, the Build Team is working around the clock to finalize designs and finish fabricating parts. All of the designs have been finished and the team is working to assemble and test the robot mechanisms.
For week 5 the team was focused on fabricating the drivetrain, shooter, and intake parts. All pieces of the robot were machined by students using the school’s CNC Mill and CNC Router. Not only was this week spent advancing robot production, but also teaching underclassman how to use these machines. Upon completion of fabricating the parts, the practice robot began to be assembled. With testing, the team began tweaking and further improving the design.
The Software Team is working diligently to tackle various autonomous routines and better understand vision processing. Meanwhile, the Electronics Team fitted the assembled drive train with electronics.
For week 6, our team hopes to finish assembling and fine tune the robot. Everyone is looking forward to the final push before the bag and tag.
2016 Week 5: Marketing Journal
Week five of the 2016 build season was yet another great week of accomplishments for Nemesis! Emerging from yet another very successful Sponsor Networking Night -- that the entire team spent the first four weeks of build season preparing for-- the business team felt a well deserved wave of relief immediately followed by an increased concentration and focus on the upcoming competition season. The Finance Team worked on finishing the business plan which will be presented to judges at competitions and will serve as the basis for our team to compete the Entrepreneurship Award. Meanwhile, the Marketing Team wrote and mailed thank you notes to the generous parents and sponsors who supported the team with donations and “sorry we missed you cards” with information about Sponsor Networking Night to those who missed the event.
Marketing also worked on designing apparel for the team to wear throughout the upcoming competition season, as well as writing articles to promote the team's community outreach programs. The Logistics Team is still hard at work continuing to arrange travel for our upcoming trips to South Florida, and hopefully St. Louis.
Another exciting development in the Robbinsville High School Tech Lab was the creation of the first 3-D printed hand for our partnership with e-NABLE. With them, Nemesis plans to donate prosthetic hands to those in need.
The Marketing and Finance Teams are very excited to see the robot that the Build Team has been working on for the past six long weeks and that the Marketing Team will be writing, promoting, and talking about for the next year.
2016 Week 4: Build Journal
As week 4 is coming to a close and the competition season is just around the corner, the build team's productivity levels are still going strong. As prototyping is officially over, most of the build team has started to work on the final robot. We are working wholeheartedly to make sure that the robot will be completed in time to ensure our drivers get to practice before bag and tag.
This week we worked on milling the final parts of the drivetrain. The exec team is evaluating their options for the electrical board and requirements for the drivetrain.
The complex game obstacles are giving us a run for our money. The intake and shooter have final designs and have been tested on a practice bot.
During Week 4, everyone, from freshmen to seniors, was hard at work developing the robot.
2016 Competition Dates
Build season is coming to a close, and competition season is right around the corner. Nemesis invites you to come to any of the free high energy tournaments the team will be competing in...
Hatboro-Horsham District Competition: March 5 - 6, 2016
Hatboro-Horsham High School
899 Horsham Rd, Horsham, PA 19044
Seneca District Competition: March 19 - 20, 2016
Seneca High School
110 Carranza Rd, Tabernacle, NJ 08088
2016 South Florida Regional: April 1 - 2, 2016
Palm Beach Convention Center
650 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
We hope to qualify for:
FIRST Mid-Atlantic District Championship: April 14 – 16, 2016
Stabler Arena, Lehigh University
124 Goodman Dr, Bethlehem, PA 18015
2016 FIRST Championship: April 28 - 30, 2016
Edward Jones Dome
901 N Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63101
2012 St. Louis World Championship Reflection
As I enter the St. Louis Convention Center for the first time on Thursday morning, the magnitude of the event is overwhelming. Teams yelling “Robot! Make way” are heading to the competition field, a few teams are carrying toolboxes to the pits, and a group of students sporting Mohawks are heading to the stands. I head to the pits to meet up with my team and enter a sea of 400 FRC teams and at least as many FTC and FLL teams. The morning is spent in the pits checking all robot systems, deploying new code, and running practice matches. We have our first qualification matches that day.
The next morning every team heads into the stands of the Edward Jones Dome for opening ceremonies. The scale of the competition is enormous with four division fields and a champions’ field occupying the floor of the dome. Bright lights glare down onto the fields and walkways between fields are empty of their usual robot traffic. Dean Kamen, an inventor and the founder of FIRST, steps up onto a stage at one end of the stadium. He speaks about the future of the country, the need for a new generation of engineers and scientists who will create new wealth, and the role of FIRST in doing so. He is not an extraordinary speaker, but the gravity of his speech and the conviction in his eyes are compelling. He ends his speech and the stadium erupts into cheers, then exits to prepare for the upcoming matches.
Competition is intense; between matches the pit crew changes the battery, scouts compile match data of teams, the drive team—which I am part of—talks about strategy with other teams for the upcoming match, and the robot gets tested on the practice field. Then it is time to queue and we roll the robot cart out to the Archimedes division field. Our robot has to endure nine qualification matches and then either be in the top eight teams or be selected by one of the top eight teams to advance to division eliminations. Because the matches consist of alliances of three robots, a total of 24 will make it to eliminations.
The matches are fast-paced, only 2 minutes and 15 seconds long, and our team does well. However, during some matches the robot misses shots and afterwards we take time on the practice field to recalibrate. Meanwhile the scouting team is recording match data and will later compile a list of teams to pick or to try to be picked by. Later in the day, the judges walk by. I tell the technical judges about every aspect of the robot: the drive train, the conveyor, the turret, the camera target tracking, and the dashboard. They are very interested in our tracking system and targeting display. At the same time, the marketing and finance teams explain to the business judges that our team is run like a high-tech startup and hand out copies of the business plan.
All day long the pits are a sea of multicolored shirts; team members walk around the pits to get a look at the perfectly machined robots of some of the elite teams, underclassmen stop at pits to collect pins that teams hand out, mascots are escorted around by a couple team members, and robot carts roll through aisles on their way to the dome.
By the end of Friday, we are all exhausted, but there is still more work to do at the hotel. The scouts, senior team members, and a couple of mentors file into my room to log the day’s scouting data into a Google Doc. It is clear who the elite teams are, and though we are not one of them we are a consistent scorer and have a chance to go far in the competition. Later, after a fun pillow fight I go to sleep; tomorrow is going to be a long day.
On Saturday morning we have our last two qualification matches. Strong performances—especially in the last match—propel our team to sixth place, not bad for a field of 100 teams. After our team realizes this we scramble to finalize the pick list. Then the announcer calls the top eight teams onto the field and I walk on to represent Nemesis. The top teams pick each other and when it comes my turn to pick our top pick is still available. I select team 1218, our friends from Pennsylvania. They had a couple tough breaks that kept them out of the top eight and they are a steal for the sixth pick. As the draft serpentines around, I talk with 1218’s representative and we decide on 2851, a team with decent autonomous, good defense, and the ability to triple balance.
The draft ends and I look at our quarterfinal opponents; one of them is last year’s world champion. Despite this we think we can win because the rest of the alliance isn’t as strong. I walk off the field and head back to the pits to help the pit crew bring the robot, batteries, and tools to the field. Once the double elimination matches start there will be no time to go back to the pits.
Eventually our match is on and I am finally behind the glass waiting to drive. The announcer introduces our team and our section of the stands erupts into cheers. “Three, two, one, GO!” The match starts and our team pulls ahead by a huge lead. The best robot on the other team is not working and we win handily. For the second match however, the robot is fixed and the other alliance wins by one point; it’s onto a third deciding match. Our team wins by a solid margin, breathes a sigh of relief, and prepares for the semifinals.
Our whole alliance knows how tough these next matches will be. We are against the second-seed alliance, which consists of two of the best robots in the world. Our whole alliance puts in our best effort, and despite triple balancing—a feat not many robots have completed—we cannot overcome the offensive power of these teams. They defeat us and go on to win the division.
Our team is satisfied with a solid performance, making it farther than we ever have before, and heads to the stands to watch the Einstein field of division champions. The matches are exciting, and when they are over confetti fills the air to celebrate the winners. Though we didn’t win, our team feels like winners. And I realize that is what FIRST is about: not winning or losing, but learning and celebrating technology and engineering.
Robbinsville High team Earns Honors with Student-Built Robotic Invention
ROBBINSVILLE — The robotics team at Robbinsville High School has scored a slam dunk this year, earning a spot at an international competition later this month with a student-built robot designed to pick up and shoot basketballs.
After taking first place in a field of nearly 40 teams at a regional competition in Montreal last month, the students will travel to St. Louis later this month for the championship round of the U.S. FIRST Robotics Competition, a bout that will draw competitors from across the globe.
“It’s a great team,” said team adviser Joy Wolfe, a technology teacher at the high school. “They design the whole the thing from scratch.”
The team, called Nemesis, also took top honors at another regional competition in Tabernacle, this one featuring schools from throughout eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, last month. It will compete again in Philadelphia later this week.
The team includes roughly 60 students who are divided into several groups each tasked with different responsibilities. From designing and building the robot to marketing, fundraising, and managing a budget of close to $60,000, the students take the lead in handling it all.
A group of mentors made up of faculty, staff, and parents help guide the team.
“We’re really proud that we gave the students the chance to run their team like a technical business, so people were able to segue their experiences here as they go on to college,” Wolfe said.
The annual competition presents students with a set of challenges their robots can tackle. For each task a robot successfully completes, the team gets a certain amount of points. This year, the team had to design a robot that can pick up and shoot basketballs.
After trapping the balls and picking them up via a conveyor belt, the robot operates much like a pitching machine as a set of wheels push the ball out of the machine and toward the basket.
In addition, the robot is also capable of tipping over a seesaw bridge with a pneumatic arm, another component of the competition.
While the robot can be operated via remote control, part of the competition involves programming the robot to function autonomously, a task team advisers said was entirely driven by the students.
Students said the team was a great way to take skills they’ve learned in the classroom and put them to use.
“I like the fact that you’re actually doing things,” said Eric Principato, a senior on the team who’s enrolled in Princeton University next year. “In schools there’s a lot of theoretical work but you don’t get to do any hands-on application of your knowledge, and FIRST Robotics is all about application.”
To see the article as it originally appeared in the Trenton Times, click here.
Lenape Champions, Chairman's Award and Website Award Winners
ROBBINSVLLE — It was a banner weekend for the Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590, Nemesis, which won the Lenape District qualifier and prestigious Chairman's Award, as well as an award for its student-managed website, FRC2590.org.
Team 2590 Nemesis, the Montreal Regional Champion, initially had a rough start at the Lenape District qualifier March 24-25 at Seneca High School in Tabernacle, where 40 teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware were competing. The 4-foot-tall robot built by the Robbinsville students wasn't hitting the basket with the same accuracy it had displayed in Montreal.
The team's Pit Crew scoured the machine, analyzing each component to see what was amiss. Then the Software Team decided to change the white LED to a green LED to simplify vision processing. Soon Nemesis was back in action and once again sinking its shots and scoring points.
Under the rules of FIRST's "Rebound Rumble" competition, robots earn points by shooting basketballs into hoops of varying heights inside an arena. Students need to form alliances with other teams to maximize their total points.
Although Nemesis' problem with its vision processing has been fixed quickly, it was too late to make the top eight teams and Nemesis dropped to the 9th seed, then moved up to No. 8 during the selection process. Fortunately, the 3rd seeded team, the Miracle Workerz, aka MOE FRC 365, had scouted the Montreal videos and asked Nemesis and Anomaly, FRC 816, to join their alliance.
With two shooters and Anomaly playing defense, the alliance won all but one round as it powered its way through the finals, winning the Lenape Regional. The alliance clinched a berth at the Mid Atlantic Regional (MAR) in Philadelphia April 12-14.
In other news, Nemesis won the Website Award thanks to the efforts its webmaster, Alena Principato. The award recognizes excellence in student-designed, built, and managed FIRST team websites.
Nemesis also won the District Chairman's Award, the most prestigious award honoring the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST, the not-for-profit founded in 1989 to inspire students in the engineering and technology fields.
In the wake of the recent victories that have put RHS on the road to St. Louis, Nemesis' Finance team has been contacting local companies to secure donations to cover the $20,000 in registration and travel expenses to the World Championship. Quick to respond were SRI International, McGraw Hill, Robbinsville resident Julie Thomas, and others who have all sent donations to the team.
Anyone wishing to help the team with its expenses, may send a check to FIRST Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis, 155 Robbinsville-Edinburg Road, Robbinsville, NJ, 08691.
Through The Eyes of The Freshmen: 2012 Season
As freshman on the build team, when we joined FIRST Robotics we had no idea what to expect. Little did we know how much it would change our lives and what a positive experience it would be. Being productive members of the team has helped us grow as people and as students. From robotics we learned the importance of time management, how to work well with others, and how to take pride in our accomplishments.
These are things that we will use for the rest of our lives. One exciting thing about robotics is that the problems we are given do not necessarily have a right answer. Rather, we are given a problem with an infinite number of answers and it is up to our creativity and determination to make one work for us. This requires a different type of thinking than what we are used to. As a result, the answer is more challenging to find, but it is also much more rewarding once it is found.
One of the highlights of Team 2590 is that we are all drawn together because of our love for the challenge. It is the glue that binds them like a second family. Something that really speaks to me about the family of Nemesis is that these kids are serious when they need to be and are laid back and relaxed the rest of the time. This makes the Tech Lab a very comfortable place to work in, almost like a second home. Spending so many hours together during build season was a brand new experience for us but well worth it. In Montreal, we had the opportunity to see Prince take first place at the Festival de Robotique. Together we scouted nearly 60 matches. We went out to eat, played in the pool, and even managed to get some homework done.
Robbinsville Robotics Team Wins in Montreal, Headed to International Championship
MONTREAL — The Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590, Nemesis, won first place in the Montreal Regional robotics competition last week and is now headed for the international championship in St. Louis next month.
Nemesis was ranked first after 11 qualification matches, conquering the language barrier and other robots and ultimately winning the entire competition.
Becoming the first champions of the new Montreal Regional, Nemesis made history and also achieved a personal best with its first regional win.
”We are so proud of the results of the hours, days, weeks, and months of labor the Build Team and their mentors: Scott Meredith, Peter Wolfe, Peter Borowski, Mark Banziger, Alan Schwartz, Ric Principato, and Tom Young dedicated to prepare, and create this basketball playing robot,” said RHS technology teacher and team founder Joy Wolfe on Tuesday.
”It is the finest robot we’ve built to date and a culmination of four years of experience for our seniors,” Ms. Wolfe said.
The Business Team brought home accolades from Montreal as well, winning its second consecutive entrepreneurship award in this season. Previously, the Business Team brought home the award at the Hatboro-Horsham District Qualifying event.
Nemesis hopes to qualify for the Mid Atlantic Robotics District Competition in Philadelphia from April 12-14 and is now eligible to attend the FIRST Championship Event hosted in St. Louis from April 26-28.
In preparation, the team is seeking donations to cover event registration fees and travel costs. The team needs to raise around $20,000 to adequately cover expenses for the international championship. The team would need to raise $6,000 to compete in Philadelphia.
Anyone wishing to make a donation, may send a check to:
Robbinsville FIRST Robotics Team 2590
Robbinsville High School
155 Robbinsville Edinburg Road
Robbinsville, NJ, 08691
Should there be any questions, please contact advisor Joy Wolfe at email@example.com. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.
To watch a video our final winning match in Montreal, click here.
Bienvenue au Québec
The team was up with the sun on Wednesday, March 14 and arrived at the high school by 7 AM in preparation to embark on our adventure. Excitement was in the air as we loaded our bags into the LEGOLAND bus and waved “good-bye” to Robbinsville and “hello” to Montréal and the Festivale de Robotique FRC a Montreal Regional.
But we had a lot of time to kill on the eight hour bus ride. In the middle of The Dark Knight, people starting dozing and Karla took this opportunity to snap… entertaining photos of the sleeping team members. Around the three hour mark, we stopped for lunch at Roy Rogers, then continued straight until the border. All team members were quickly “okayed” to cross into Canada (passport and green card holders alike) and it became the first time out of the country for Julia and the Principato family. From there, it was a quick 40 minute drive to the hotel.
Nemesis was ecstatic to arrive at the Le Centre Sheraton around four in the afternoon. After checking out our rooms and basking in the glory of three days off school, some team members met up for a series of intense card games, while our dedicated track team members hit the gym’s treadmills. A few build team members also went to drop Prince off at the Stade Uniprix, the arena where the regional would be held. A few hours later, we headed off to the pool for some games of categories and relaxing in the whirlpool. The day was ended with an interesting pizza meal, and the team was ready for the real fun to start the next day.
Celebrating A Quarter Century
Mr. Meredith’s evening full of celebration began with Mrs. Wolfe and the marketing team scouring the classrooms trying to find a lighter for the candles on his cake—from the ovens in the Life Skills room to the Bunsen Burners in the Science labs, while Baljot and Erica desperately tried to hide the secret birthday cake behind a cardboard box. Realizing that fire is a school safety hazard (who knew?), we proceeded to sticking two unlit candles on the cake and warning the Build Team of our entrance.
Finally, the doors were opened and the singing began—quite off-key, I must add, but I believe it’s the thought that counts. Also, since one cake was not going to cut it—no pun intended—for about fifty members, Mrs. Wolfe craftily borrowed the barely eaten RHS Cotillion cake from the teacher’s lounge. Continuing the night, some members agreed to give Mr. Meredith a present, or rather twenty-five of their present. From Eric, he received an engraved twenty-six sided shape (one more side for good luck). From Julia, he received a CD of twenty-five Taylor Swift songs, because he just loves songs to which “he can daydream about boys.” And of course, twenty-five pictures of ponies and horses from our—hush-hush—resident centaur, Jenna. Finally, Baljot and Karla created a large birthday card signed by each and every single one of our members. A half-eaten cake, a dozen pop country songs, and a rhombicuboctahedron later, dear Mr. Meredith’s birthday bash ends with a bang with a hilarious—including definitely no Googled pictures of Asian babies—montage video created by Baljot.
Charity walk "enables" Nemesis to give back
In an effort to reach out to the community and participate in more charity events as a team, Nemesis has partnered with Enable Inc., a non-profit agency devoted to supporting individuals with disabilities to live full and independent lives within the community. We have formed a team to participate in the Walk n' Roll with Enable event on Saturday, February 25th at Rider University. We plan to fundraise and/or donate pledges as a team to raise money, and then walk at the event on the 25th. The walkers will represent Team Nemesis while supporting a great cause to help individuals within the community.
SRI International Supports Team Nemesis with Generous Donation
We are proud to welcome a new sponsor, SRI International, who generously donated to Team Nemesis. Mr. Dimatulac, father of team member Karla, sent a request to SRI for a donation. They enjoyed reading about the dedication and success of the team, and support our mission. Alice Resnick, Vice President of Corporate & Marketing Communications, wrote “Best of luck to the team, and we wish you much continued success with your robotics program.”
SRI’s mission is to commit to the discovery and application of science and technology for knowledge, commerce, prosperity, and peace. Two of the consulting company’s main research focus areas are education and robotics. As a nonprofit research institute, SRI is very supportive of robotics programs which help to educate students in science and technology. The company believes robotics is a wonderful way to introduce and stimulate youth with an interest in engineering.
The contribution pays for the cost of parts and materials for the robot which will compete in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Mid-Atlantic Region competitions in 2012. Team Nemesis appreciates SRI’s commitment to educate and encourage interest in STEM and is very grateful for their generous donation.
ROBBINSVILLE: Robotics Team Ready to Rumble
"Prince," named after the team’s CEO Eric Principato, will be competing in district and regional FIRST Robotics competitions culminating in what the team hopes will be a strong showing in the 2012 national championship in St. Louis. The FIRST Robotics challenge for this year is called “The Rebound Rumble,” a competition that requires the students’ robot to earn points by shooting basketballs into hoops of varying heights inside an arena. The students need to work with their team and in alliances and “coopertition” with other teams for maximum points.
The robot, which has a shooter, a rotating turret and a conveyor, uses a camera to locate the basketball hoop’s backboard, calculate the distance of the shot, set the appropriate speed and then fire the ball into the hoop at a 50-degree angle.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a national organization that runs mentor-based programs designed to teach students about science and technology, while giving them experiences that build their interpersonal skills and self-confidence.
The Robbinsville team, known as Nemesis (after the goddess of revenge and retribution) Team 2590, includes 66 students, RHS technology teachers Joy Wolfe and Scott Meredith, and a dedicated group of adult mentors. The group has been at work since the beginning of the school year making the plans needed to meet their robot deadline, but the actual “build season” is compressed into six short weeks. During the build season, students are often working in the RHS technology lab many nights until 11 p.m., as well as Saturdays.
The robot is only one small part of the club’s responsibilities. The entire endeavor is structured like an engineering business would be, including the creation of a business plan. The team is made up of various sub-teams, including Software, Marketing, Finance, Web and Build. Each of these teams is responsible for their part of the model business required for participation in the FIRST competitions.
Last Saturday, the students were working in the lab to prepare for the competition season. Members of the Build Team were busy putting together the robot structure, while members of the Software Team were working on how to control the robot, using a software program called LabVIEW.
In the midst of his work on the robot, Team 2590 CEO Eric Principato, a senior heading to Princeton University in the fall, was explaining the process to state Senator Linda Greenstein and Assemblyman Daniel Benson, both D-Mercer, who were visiting. Members of the Marketing and Finance teams, Jess Friedberg, Chris Karousatos, Ralph Petagna and Michelle Principato, also led a tour and were obviously well-versed in every aspect of the operation.
The Marketing Team works all year contacting sponsors, designing brochures and building community outreach programs. The Finance team is responsible for all donations and expenses. Michelle, a member of the Marketing Team, explained the philosophy of the team members not directly involved in the actual hands-on building of the robot.
”We pride ourselves on being well rounded,” Michelle said. “Even though we don’t build the robot, it is important to know how it works to market it,” she said.
During the competitions, while the Drive Team puts the robot through the required tasks, members of these teams will be in “The Pit” where they will be required to answer questions from the judges about their process. They also craft presentations for the awards that the FIRST competitions offer.
The Web Team runs an award-winning website that is constantly updated with the team’s progress and contains specific information about its many endeavors. Ric Principato, the website mentor among other roles, is the father of four robotics team members, triplets Eric, Michelle, and Alena, and their younger sister Christa.
”I have had the pleasure of seeing this for four years,” Mr. Principato said. “I can’t even measure the value it has had for my four kids.”
Another facet of the team’s work is community service. They recently organized a food drive at Sharon Elementary School and have participated in various fundraising walks for organizations, including Enable. The team also hosts a Discovery Day every year for 2nd to 5th grade students, using robots to encourage an interest in science and technology at an early age.
”Our small club could have such a big impact on the local community,” said Jess Friedberg about the many community endeavors. “We want high school students to reach back,” Mrs. Wolfe.
The robotics team, started in 2007 by Mrs. Wolfe with a NASA rookie grant, consists of students in grades 9 through 12, many of whom learn about it in the school’s technology and Project Lead The Way pre-engineering classes.
There are more freshmen on Nemesis Team 2590 this year than at any time before. The seniors mentor the freshman so that the underclassmen can step in to leadership roles after the upperclassmen graduate.
Some recruitment to the team “family” comes from blood relatives. In addition to the Principato clan, there is a set of twins and many members who are siblings of Nemesis Team 2590 alumni.
The team brings together students of diverse skills whose future plans are also diverse. They have applied and been accepted to many prestigious universities and plan to major in fields ranging from engineering to finance.
The students, who recognize that schoolwork comes first, are also involved in other extracurricular activities, including sports, at Robbinsville High School. They all seem to excel in time management. Zach Brown (Software/Build Teams), CEO Eric Principato, and one of the two CTO’s (chief technological officers) Matt Schwartz will also compete in the Panasonic Challenge, where they will build a robot on a smaller scale with low-cost materials, vying for up to $5,000 in scholarships. Mentor Peter Wolfe, a software engineer by trade, who, alongside his wife, the enthusiastic Mrs. Wolfe, spends many hours after work and on weekends working with the team, summed it up. “It’s not about the robot, the robot is a Trojan horse; just a trick to get kids interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics),” he said. “The kids love this; it’s a lot of fun and they learn a lot.”
To find out more about the Robbinsville High School Robotics Team, visit its website: frc2590.org.
The Robbinsville High School robotics team includes: Ben Arenstein, Sid Ayyagari, Christopher Banziger, Vivek Barbhaiya, Brandon Bellero, Julia Borowski, Zach Brown, Shannon Casserly, Nick Cenni, Venkatesh Chinnakonda, Regan Clarke, Kate Coggins, John Coriasco, Karla Dimatulac, Al Drake, Julian Esteban, Erica Falk, Josh Falk, Michael Filipek, Justin Francis, Jessica Friedberg, Kyle Gavalchin, Dan Gavrushenko, Kendrick Grace, Mehaa Gupta, Dylan Hong, Maddison Hughes, Uddhav Joglekar, Ryan Jurek, Alec Karousatos, Chris Karousatos, Stephanie Kovacs, Meghna Kuppuraju, Scott LaRochelle, Bhargav Lingala, Urmila Lingala, Christian Marsala, Christopher May, Austin Mayweather, Taylor Mayweather, Zach Mclaughlin, Anisha Mohan, Jenna Mollica, Karthik Paka, Snigdha Paka, Antonio Papa, Avani Pavuluri, Ralph Petagna, Alena Principato, Christa Principato, Eric Principato, Michelle Principato, Jason Puglisi, Saveetha Raghupathi, Baljot Ranu, JP Ranu, Shravali Reddy, Alec Regulski, Ali Riad, Nick Sanders, Matthew Schwartz, Danielle Stepien, Shashank Sundararaman, Brett Vantassel, Arnav Vast, Harrison Young.
A Visit from Assemblyman Benson and State Senator Greenstein!
Assemblyman Benson and State Senator Greenstein visited Team Nemesis on Saturday, February 18 in the Tech lab. Michelle Principato, Jessica Friedberg, Chris Karousatous and Ralph Petagna welcomed them. The Website team was introduced to them by Michelle, while Jessica introduced the Marketing team and Ralph and Chris introduced the Finance team.
Michelle explained how the website is developed and introduced Ric Principato, the team website mentor, to them. Jessica discussed how the team’s message and current news are spread to the school, community, and corporate sponsors and about fundraising events such as the Shoprite bagging to the Assemblyman and Senator. Ralph explained in-depth how the Finance team manages the team’s money by taking care of the costs of bus transportation, competitions to how much money the team has left over as of the end of this build season.
After the introductions, Assemblyman Benson and Senator Greenstein went to the back of the Tech lab to observe the students working on the robot. Eric Principato provided them with details of this year’s competition and the logistics of the robot. Assemblyman Benson went to the basketball hoops in the hallway and even took some shots at the three hoops. Later, a team picture was taken with them in front of the basketball hoops with Assemblyman Benson and State Senator Greenstein each holding a basketball. This was a great experience for both the team members and the Assemblyman and Senator to discuss robotics. In the end, Assemblyman Benson and Senator Greenstein gave sound bites about Robotics that will be included in the team video.
An Army Runs on Its Stomach
Anyone who has made it through an FRC build season knows the truth in this statement. Long hours, a crowded lab and little sleep take their toll, and team members often forget that they need to find time to take in some nutrients in order to press on with the challenge at hand. Enter the generous families of team Nemesis. The team has been treated to many bountiful snacks, lunches and dinners; the latest sampling provided by the Gavrushenko family included salad, pasta with meatballs, garlic bread, cookies and cupcakes. After the dinner bell is rung four or five times, the team retreats to the Student Activity Center and eats family style. It's a much needed refueling / breather and also a great team builder. Many thanks to all the families that generously donate their time and the meals that help keep our small army running.
Nemesis Has ShopRite in the Bag
To relieve the expenses for future trips, Team 2590 members—armed with their very own, handy dandy donation buckets—took part in bagging groceries at the local Hamilton Marketplace ShopRite. The nine-hour long day was divided into slightly less hair-pulling timeslots of three hours, from ten in the morning until closing at seven at night.
As it turns out, ShopRite is actually a zoo on Sundays. Nemesis team members worked hard bagging customers’ groceries—eggs and bread on top, of course. Some helpful customers thought to offer endless constructive criticism about the art of bagging groceries. Fortunately, we all learned something by the end of the day. For instance, when the customer says they would like their groceries in both paper and plastic, Al learned to avoid lectures by placing the paper bags into the plastic ones (word of advice for all readers).
After a long, grueling day of particular “my-meat-cannot-touch-the-veggies” customers, the team satisfyingly went home with a whopping $1600.
Robotics Discovery Day 2011
"I think I'm going to be an engineer one day," said a camper as he proudly held his newly created robot, preparing to release it onto the track.
This boy and many other enthusiastic children took part in the RHS Robotics Discovery Day, hosted by Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis. The event was held on Saturday, December 3 and aimed to teach 2nd through 5th grade boys and girls the basics of robotics while having fun. Robotics team CEO Eric Principato said, "Robotics Discovery Day allows kids to learn about robots and helps them to pursue their interest in science and technology."
“My favorite part of this camp was making my robot, Speedy. I can't wait to make an even bigger robot when I get to high school.”
Upon arrival, the campers were split into three groups. All campers created simple and fun Bristle-bots out of toothbrushes, a vibrating motor, and a battery. Returning campers worked with "LEGO MINDSTORMS," a computer program to create code for autonomous robots. The kids worked in pairs with an RHS Robotics Team member, who was their mentor. After the design and build process, they raced their robots. Kids who were participating for the third or fourth time created sumo wrestler robots that competed to push the other out of the way.
The room bustled with activity all day. Over sixty enthusiastic young engineers made their own unique robots that could do many things using sensors like following a line on the ground, racing toward a wall and turning at the last moment, and even catapulting objects across the room.
The team worked hard to spread the enthusiasm of building and programming robots, and received a lot of positive feedback. "My favorite part of this camp was making my robot, Speedy. I can't wait to make an even bigger robot when I get to high school," said one camper.
To give the kids a taste of the high school level, everyone drove the team's competition robot, Andy. Working with the high school robotics team ignited the spark in the future generation as they applied their knowledge to create their own designs.
Robotics Discovery Day has continued to be a great fundraising event for the award-winning RHS FIRST Robotics Team, which is going to compete at multiple Mid-Atlantic events and the Montreal regional competition. The funds will be used to buy parts and materials for the robot and cover traveling expenses for the team. Please contact Mrs. Joy Wolfe, Robbinsville High School, 155 Robbinsville-Edinburg Road, Robbinsville, NJ, 08691, if you would like to make a donation.
Click here to see pictures from Robotics Discovery Day.
Nemesis Teams up with Sharon School to Give Back
Robbinsville High School’s FIRST Robotics Team is a program dedicated to developing students’ problem-solving abilities through the hands-on construction of a competition robot. Although the team focuses with science and technology skills, it also strives to embody the values of Gracious Professionalism in which we channel our commitments to bettering the community.
The team celebrated the holiday season by giving back—organizing a food drive with the Sharon Elementary School. Over 600 canned and boxed non-perishable goods were collected during the holiday season. The winning class, Miss Raymond’s first-grade class, collected a total of 73 food items and received a plaque honoring their hard work. All of the food collected was donated to the local Robbinsville Food Pantry to aid families in need.
The Nemesis Robotics students created the custom designed personalized plaque in Illustrator and engraved the design in acrylic using the RHS laser engraver. The students learned how to make the plaque in their Digital Fabrication class.