Mid-season update #1

We’re in the middle of build season and working to finish our Steamworks robot.

For game details, see Steamworks.

For our most recent picture and media look to our team Facebook page.

The theme of the website has changed for this year.  Most of the previous information is accessible through the menu.  The team’s robot history is being worked on, moving them into “portfolio” pages.  Other details, like current team members and sponsors, will be updated soon, so stay tuned.

 

 

Team Updates

News you can use

We finished our competition season after the Colorado regional.  You can read all about it in our Miami County Republic article.

Also in the news was our sponsorship by Monsanto Fund of $5000.  We thank them for their generous support of our team this year.  We used this money to help pay for our second regional this year, which really helped us to make great improvement to Sir Launch A Lot and to finish in 8th place.  The article is only available in the hard print version.

Kalmar Tour

We thank Kalmar for giving us a tour of their business and assembly plant.  The students learned about the global cargo distribution business.  Kalmar is a world leader in trucks and other equipment.  The Ottawa, Kansas, facility designs and builds terminal tractor for moving trailers around cargo distribution lots.  Their plant director, Alan Wilson, and engineer, Bob Hrenchir, both gave a couple hours of their time for the tour.  We also greatly appreciate Bob for being a mentor on 1108 and Kalmar for being a sponsor.

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Leonardo from Vinci, Italy (da Vinci)

Our team visited the exhibit on the great thinker and Renaissance man at the KC Union Station.  His written works, or codices, came alive with many model scale recreations.  The team enjoyed all aspects of his life from the mechanical machines to the great art (Last Supper, Mona Lisa), but especially enjoyed trying to recreate their own flying machines.

Robot scouts

Our shop had visitors from the local scouting troop.  They learned about building robots, saw the robot, and got behind the controls.  These young leaders were shown the fun and possibility of pursuing STEM opportunities.

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Practice Day at Colorado Regional

First of all we made it to Denver today.  We only had to wait until 9 am for the gates to open for the interstate.  We made it to the regional sometime after 1 pm.  Roads were interesting.

The robot has passed inspection.  But this did not happen until after 6 pm tonight.  We had some repairs to be made to the robot that weren’t completed earlier, from some damage during the KC regional, but these ended up a longer than expected time for fixing the robot.  We made one practice match, but practiced on the practice field.

Our first match is Friday at 8:58 am. The full match schedule is on thebluealliance.com.  There are also webcasts located on that site too.

We can’t wait to get back to it tomorrow morning.  We had good results with NRLB, having many opportunities to help teams, even lending a compressor at one point.  We helped the California team, 1138, who were delayed, and are in the lab next to us.

Pictures from today will post on Facebook, so be sure to look there as well.

 

 

 

 

Goodland

Today, we were bound for the Denver FIRST robotics regional at Denver University’s Ritchie Center.  Forty-eight teams from several states will meet to take on the challenge of this years game, FIRST Stronghold.  Twelve students and ten mentors, along with some parents, were hoping to arrive tonight to set-up our robot pit and to relax at our hotel before tomorrow’s practice day, but the fickle March weather had different plans dumping snow across Denver and the eastern plains.  With the high winds and snow, blizzard conditions led to the closure of Interstate 70 from Denver to the Kansas border.  After several hours of driving, our team was faced with the decision of how to proceed and have chosen to stay the night in Goodland, Kansas, and then proceed to competition in the morning.

We hope to get an early start and arrive in time to load-in the robot and equipment, and to get to work making some last minute repairs and modifications before having time on the practice field.  Snow across the region has affected many FIRST teams and volunteers.  Some teams were stranded waiting at airports, as the Denver airport was closed to all flights.  The regional asked for other volunteers to help with field set-up, as other committed mentors could not reach the venue.  The venue, the Ritchie Center, is located at the University of Denver, who cancelled classes today.  We expect that the regional will proceed normally, with a delay tomorrow as teams make their way in.

We are excited to meet and compete with the FIRST teams from Colorado and other states and hope they all have safe travels.  Many have already competed at other regionals, so the competition should be refined.  We are looking forward to working with other teams, sharing the knowledge, experience, and team spirit that 1108 is known for with the Denver regional.

To keep up with the team, be sure to follow updates on our social media sites (below).  For the Denver regional the events, possible webcast, and results are posted at https://www.thebluealliance.com/event/2016code.  On Twitter, look for the #coloradofrc tag or follow the Bionic Tigers’ (Team 1592) twitter list to keep up with the regional.

 

Kansas City Wrap-up

 

We, team 1108, had a fantastic time meeting and interacting with other teams at the Greater Kansas City Regional.

We are proud that our robot was selected into the 6th alliance which included The Cyborgs (#1825) and Team Scream (#4522.) Their robots were great in the offensive and we are grateful that we were able to work with them.

Our team is known for our No Robot Left Behind program, and teams that were assisted through this nominated us for the Gracious Professionalism award. Our team recognizes this as an award of high prestige and is extremely appreciative that we were able to earn this award.

It always amazes the team how connected first is. One of our mentors, Gregg R., was very engaged with helping other teams with their robots and providing his own expertise. It just so happens that Saturday, the 12th of march, was his birthday. So at one point during the day all of the teams in the stands sang happy birthday to Gregg. During a meeting after the regional, Gregg mentioned this being a key part in his experience at the Greater Kansas City Regional.

Here are some pictures from last few day, and be sure to look at more pictures and videos on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Kansas City – Day One

Today, we had our first taste of regional competition, in preparation of the next to days of the FIRST Greater Kansas City regional.  It is the 10th year and has nearly 60 teams competing at the Metropolitan Community College.

Arriving early, we were impressed by the spirit of Team Driven (#1730) and their welcome tunnel.  We helped cheer on volunteers, judges, and organizers.  Our Robot Panther mascot danced and posed for pictures until doors opened.

We went to work on get the robot readied for inspections, setting up scouting in the stands, setting up NRLB (No robot left behind) stickers and flyers to let teams know how to let us assist them in whatever way to get all robots running, and the other work.  Despite the attention to the robot, all the jobs of vital to the success of our team and the students impressed with their dedication to their individual jobs throughout the day.

We are also proud to have seven team members, and alumni, volunteer during the event.

Many people visited the pit during the day.  Some special guests visited our pit, learning about the robot.  Our driver, Chris P., did an outstanding job of describing the robot to on of these guest, taking her hand from mechanism to mechanism to let her feel the parts of the robot.  These students were visiting from a school for the blind, and were very enthused about robotics.  The questions being asked from one of the girls were very insightful and expressed her great interest.  I expect and hope that she’ll soon be competing in FIRST.

Finally to the robot, which had three practice matches and a few practices on the pit field.  In the first two, there were some mishaps with the arm, but still we won the match.  Not all teams were taking practice, possibly because they were making fixes and being inspected.  Our last match, we defeated three defenses by crossing each twice.  We also scored a couple boulders in the high goal and challenged the tower.  All for a total of about 45 points, and a reasonably competitive score.  We rounded out the day making minor fixes, including a new boulder stopper to keep boulder for getting trapped in the robots center.

Competition continues tomorrow, with more information in the previous post for visiting or viewing online.  A couple photos of the day’s activity are below, and also on Facebook and Twitter below.

 

Competition Week – Kansas City

This week, the Greater Kansas City Regional, takes place at the MCC Business & Technology Campus (see map and info below).  Panther Robotics will be competing among 60 mostly regional teams with our robot, Sir Launch-A-Lot.  Our robot is capable of driving over the most challenging obstacles, then picking up and launching boulders at our competitor’s castle.  We are looking forward to competing, and hope to scale the castle wall and to score many points in order to compete in the elimination tournament.

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Sir Launch-A-Lot 

Our Chairman’s team has been preparing to share our story of how our team has fostered the FIRST mission of inspiring students to technical career and inspiring people to support STEM education in our community and students.  At competition we will meet other students, teams, volunteers, and visiting public, and we get to share not only our robot, but our passion for our team in fun ways with “I LOVE ROBOTS” pins, our scrapbook of pictures of our year, our medieval standard (flag) showing our panthers, pit decorations, costumes, and cheering supplies.  We really  go all out for this three day celebration of ingenuity.  We welcome anybody to come and visit us, especially future FIRSTers, and see our robot in our pit and cheer on all the teams.

Competition Info:

Friday and Saturday (March 11th and 12nd) are best for visitors to watch competitions. The opening ceremony is Friday at 8 am, followed by matches until noon and from 1-6 pm. On Saturday matches continue between 8-12 am. After lunch (1:30 pm), the best teams compete in a elimination tournament. We hope to compete, but only the top 24 teams (out of 60) compete, so if specifically wanting to see one of our matches come earlier, but the finals are the most exciting part. The closing and award ceremony follow, ending at 6 pm.

Address: MCC Business & Technology Campus, 1755 Universal Ave, KC, MO 64210

For those not able to come, you can follow online through a video stream of the regional. These are located at The Blue Alliance, and the Kansas City Regional is at this link: http://www.thebluealliance.com/event/2016mokc or one the main site: http://www.thebluealliance.com/. For more information you can visit KCFIRST.org

Hot off the press

Read our new article (02/10/2016) in the Miami County Republic sharing FIRST and the 2016 STRONGHOLD game with our community.  The newspaper recently expanded its coverage area, now being the only paper in the county, giving the story further reach.  Miami county has a population of 32,835 (in 2013; source: US census) and is located at the south of the Kansas City metro area.  Thanks to the media committee for writing and getting the story in the paper.

Weekly bounce from the bottom

Like Patton said, “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom”. Bouncing over the defenses, our six-wheeled siege machine, yet to be named, bottomed out, so to speak.  Entering the final two weeks of robot build time, we are working very hard to finalize the mechanisms for the STRONGHOLD game, and to test the robustness of our drive by driving until the wheels fall off, often literally.

Our Chairman’s Team worked diligently and submitted the award essay, and have begun to prepare their talk for the judges.  A new page has been added to this website for helping other teams with Chairman’s preparations.  We are proud of our teams accomplishments in this competing for this award and its pursuit has sustained our team by sharpening our focus on the ideals of FIRST.  Please check it out and contact us for any questions.

We have continued to enjoy the support of parents, whether it is to provide one of the dinners, help with constructing the field elements, coming up with ideas for the robot, and the other ways they all have contributed.  Also, the 2016 sponsors make this team possible, and are listed on our About page.

To conclude, even through adversity of broken robot parts, this team is learning and, by that, building a better robot and becoming a better team.  We don’t yet know what the final weeks might hold, but their work thus far says they’ll rebound higher.  So back to work, and to leave another quote by Patton, “A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

Zeno’s Paradox

As we end our 3rd week of robot building, we are now in the Zeno’s paradox phase of our project.

However, the team is not discouraged, toiling away and suffering only mere flesh wounds (a testament to following safety warnings). All the wheels have touched the ground, and were driven (add video evidence – Chris P.). In the next weeks, we hope our vision and work leads to the holy grail of STRONGHOLD robots and not a quixotic vision of it.

Our diplomats (Chairman’s committee) are wrapping up the final touches on the essay and documents and will soon turn attention to the video. Our team’s history (link) is consistent with spreading the message of FIRST to our community and region, helping other teams succeed, and inspiring students. This year is no different and the team is excited to share the summary of our 2015-16 efforts.