St. Louis World Championship — Completing Our 21st season

Raider Robotix has ended the season on a great note! The St. Louis World Championship was the biggest competition yet and much more challenging than anything we had faced thus far in the 2017 season. There were robots from all over the country and around the world! It was interesting for our pit scouters to see all the different robots in our division and attending the whole competition. There were teams all the way from Israel and Canada to Florida and Texas to friendly faces from Mid-Atlantic Robotics.

We were placed in the Carson division along with a few other friendly faces from the region, such as Team 303. After a tiring 114 qualification matches, our team ranked 25th out of 68, with a 6-4 record. During alliance selections, our team was was picked by alliance #1, captained by Team 303 – TEST team, with whom we won Mount Olive, Team 2451 – PWNAGE, and 2194 – Fondy Fire.

As the fourth team picked for the alliance, we were the backup bot. Should anything happen to the other robots, we were ready to take their place. However, our scouts and strategy team provided information to the alliance to shape the game play on the field. Our drive coach, Shaun, proved valuable behind the player station glass, helping to execute strategies. The alliance made it past the quarterfinals, but then lost in two semifinals matches with scores of 472-538 and 411-532. Despite this loss, Raider Robotix had a very successful season winning two blue banners at the district events. After a four year drought, our team now has now earned 21 total blue banners over the course of our 21 year history.

This season we had a completely new drive team and pit crew and they worked tremendously together and did outstanding for their first time. Our scouts, being all freshmen, learned a lot about how FIRST works and helped us a lot throughout the season. In all, everyone on the team played a vital part in the success of this season. We’re looking forward to our next event, our annual off-season, Brunswick Eruption, hosted here at North Brunswick Township High School! We’re looking forward to seeing all of you there to support our team!

MAR District Championship Event – World Championship here we come!

It was a crazy four days for Raider Robotix! Starting from the first day of the Mid-Atlantic Region District Championship when the Pit and Drive Team set up, to the last day when we qualified for the St. Louis World Championship, it was a ride!

The President of FIRST, Don Bossi, happened to stay at the same hotel as our team and took note of our team’s conduct. During the first day’s opening ceremony, Don gave our team a shout out for exemplifying the concept of “gracious professionalism” while representing FIRST in public. This recognition made our coaches and mentors proud of the team.

With over 100 qualification matches to be played, our scouts were hard at work, looking to see which teams would be best align with ours to to try to win 


the regional championship event. The level of competition at this event was higher than our previous two district events, as all 60 teams from the NJ/PA/DE area had to qualify to compete there. Amongst the competitors were robots with a lot of different features, all of which could be useful to win.

During alliance selections, the #8 seeded team, Team 1923 – The MidKnight Inventors picked us and Team 75 – RoboRaiders as partners for their alliance, which was the same exact alliance we assembled at the Montgomery District Event the previous week! Everyone from the teams was very excited to see what we could accomplish together again. From working together at the Montgomery event, we already had a good camaraderie and knew what our game plan would be for the playoffs.

Unfortunately, our Alliance did not make it through quarterfinals and were eliminated from the tournament. However, our cumulative performance at our first two district events and this regeional championship earned us enough ranking points to qualify Raider Robotix for the St. Louis World Championships! We have previously won the World Championship in 2000 and 2012 and hope to add another blue banner to our two existing ones from this season!

We are looking forward to our next competition at the St. Louis World Championships at America’s Center Dome in St.Louis, MO April 27-29! Especially because this will be the last year the championship will be held in St. Louis!

Montgomery District Event – Another Victory!

It was another amazing weekend for Raider Robotix! We competed in our second district event of the season at Montgomery High School and our alliance once again soared to first place! Along with us, the other two teams were Team 1923 – The MidKnight Inventors from Plainsboro, NJ and Team 75 – RoboRaiders from Hillsborough, NJ. It took all three teams working together as one with their different skills to prevail at this intense competition.

As all events begin, our scouting team kept an observant eye on the ‘alliance-worthy’ teams as 74 qualification matches were played. Our scouts work hard to record the best data possible to help determine which other teams’ robots would best compliment our own for the elimination rounds. Throughout the competition, our pit crew and drive team were hard at work performing robot repairs in between matches to keep it running in tip-top shape on the field. We ended the qualifications rounds with a record of 6 wins and 6 losses and ranked 22nd out of 38 teams. By the end of the intense scouting meeting that night, we thought we might get picked by Team 303 or Team 225.

We waited with baited breath during the alliance selection process to see where our team would be selected. We ended up being the first pick for Alliance #8, captained by Team 75 – RoboRaiders, who originallyseeded 11th. Since the draft is serpentine, we had to immediately select the third team who would round out our alliance. Our strategy leaders quite literally ran to the opposite side of the gymnasium to confer with Team 75 about who we wanted to select. Unanimously, we selected Team 1923 – The MidKnight Inventors to complete our alliance. It was nice to see friendly faces again because we won with Team 1923 at the Mount Olive MAR District Event three weeks prior! Anticipating how the other alliances with fuel-shooting capabilities would play during the elimination rounds, our alliance came together to develop a complete gear game strategy, complete with the potential for a two-rotor autonomous mode.

The strategy worked, as throughout the quarterfinals, we beat the #1 Alliance, which included the # 1 ranked team Team 303 – The TEST Team along with their partners’ Team 225 – TechFire and 4653 – Ironmen Robotics. During semifinals, our alliance beat Alliance # 5 (Teams 1676, 1279 and 223) two out of three matches. One of the matches we had an extra gear after getting four rotors started, and our pilots proudly held up in the air in excitement. We headed into the finals against teams 11 – MORT, 222- Tigertrons, and 2016 – The Mighty Monkey Wrenches.

This alliance played with similar strategies by trying to get four rotors started, which was accomplished in only the first finals match. In final matches 2 and 3, our alliance beat Alliance #5 by getting all four rotors started, and we beat Alliance #5 by 55 points in the third final match! It was a very close and amazing victory for Alliance #8 – Raider Robotix, RoboRaiders, and The MidKnight Inventors!

Starting from Mount Olive and making our way here, we have really grown as a team and hope to continue this winning momentum throughout the rest of the season! Our next competition is the Mid-Atlantic Region District Championship at Lehigh University at the Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA April 5-8.

Mount Olive District Event – Taking Home the Gold!

Oh, what a weekend it has been. This weekend, the Raiders participated in our first competition of the season at Mount Olive High School. Our scouting team constructed a winning alliance that soared to first place! Shout-out to our alliance members: Team 303 – the T.E.S.T Team from Bridgewater, NJ and Team 1923 – The MidKnight Inventors from Plainsboro, NJ. The win was truly a team effort requiring everyone’s unique skills.

The district event began on Saturday with qualifying matches where each alliance was psuedo-randomly assigned. All in all, there were 74 matches, each team participating in 12. Members of our scouting team sat in the stands keeping a tight vigil. We recorded a variety of statistics about all the teams competing, including shooting efficiency, rate of delivering gears, and ability to climb the rope. Very quickly, it became obvious which teams were able to consistently perform at a high level. Teams like 222 – Tigertrons, 293 – SPIKE, 747 – Flight Crew, and others caught our scouts’ attention. In one of our matches, our fellow alliance members didn’t show up, resulting in a 1 versus 3 game. We lost the game, but were still able to put up a large sum of points. Despite the setback, we relished the opportunity for our robot to shine solo and were sure other teams took notice.

The qualifying matches wrapped up Sunday morning and our team, along with teams 222 and 2016, scored the highest score of the event thus far (400 points) in the second to last match before alliance selections. With a record of 9-2-1, our team finished ranked second out of the 37 attending teams. During the alliance selection process, the number 1 seed, 293, selected team 222. We then selected team 303 and were excited to also pick up 1923 on the second half of the serpentine draft.

Our alliance bested the 7th seeded alliance in the quarterfinals and 6th seeded alliance in the semi finals. In the finals, we and our opponents (teams 747, 75, and 1403) had very similar strategies, focusing on gear delivery occasionally augmented by shooting fuel. Team 303 really shined in this area. Their firing rate and aim gave us the edge. While the points from fuel are small, they make a difference when opponents have matched gear delivery and climbing abilities. Ultimately, our alliance emerged on top!

Team 25 really shined today at Mount Olive. Between our pit crew, scouts, drivers, and alliance members, we all really clicked and were able to successfully execute our planned strategies. We hope our auspicious start is a sign of bigger victories ahead!

Our next competition is the MAR Montgomery District Event held at Montgomery High School in Skillman, NJ April 1-2.

Build Season 2017: Weeks 5-6

Week 5

As the weeks have flown by, more of the robot’s subsystems inch closer to completion. We are now driving the robot on a daily basis to find potential issues, debug them, and iterate our designs. We have also been using the drive time to test new robot drivers. Last year’s operator, Adam, will be this year’s driver. After some practicing, we were able to score five gears in two minutes. 

The scouts have made good progress in the past weeks. We quizzed them on their knowledge of the game rules so they now know the game inside and out. Their eagle eyed efforts will be essential when making alliances. Our publicity team is quite busy, designing and creating unique steampunk apparel and decorations tailored for the robotics team. You can see some of our pieces in previous blog posts. As the week comes to a close, it’s exciting to see that the end is nearly in sight.

Week 6

The final week is in progress, and the robot is finally complete. We’re glad to report that our robot is fully operational and ready to take on this year’s challenge! The build team was able to hit all bases with FIRST Steamworks. The robot can obtain and deliver gears, shoot balls in both the low and high goals, and get itself on the rope and hit the buzzer. This level of functionality came from the dedication and creativity of our build team. This year, our robot will perfectly encapsulate the spirit of Team 25, with many logos and colors adorning it. We are also making adorable buttons to hand out on game day. As the final week comes to a close, the tension is building, and we’re excited to prove our mettle in competition.

Travel arrangements are always difficult to make. Coordinating hotel booking, meals, transportation, and luggage delivery is a whirlwind of details. Every year, the Raider Robotix Parent’s Association (RRPMA) makes sure that all the travel arrangements are made in advance for the team. It just one of the many things that RRPMA does for team so that we run smoothly. So much is handled by the Parents Association, Team 25 wouldn’t be the same without their help. On behalf of Raider Robotix, we would like to thank our parents for keeping us running like a lean, mean winning machine.

Build Season 2017: Weeks 1-4

Week 1

The anticipation was gnawing at us as we entered Montgomery High School for the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition season kickoff. Like thousands of other students around the globe, we were eager to learn the details of this year’s challenge, FIRST STEAMworks. The secrecy was noticeable all throughout the kickoff. Game elements were safely tucked away in a locked trailer and the kickoff video was securely stored on a flash drive. Even files on the FIRST website were encrypted. Finally, all the teams in attendance gathered together in the auditorium to watch the live stream and the game was revealed to us. Our team members got to see wooden models of the game elements (hoppers, boiler etc.) and we started to formulate ideas in advance of our next meeting.

 

We held our first meeting of the season on the Monday after Kickoff. The biggest topic of the evening was our strategy. We prioritized which parts of the game we wanted to focus our attention on and made a plan for achieving our goals. Two of our mentors, Kristian and Shaun, traveled a long way to help us out. Both of them are team alumni who have influenced many of our older members and their experience has helped our team focus ideas and bring them together.

Week 2

The team was super fired up for the build season. We started creating designs in CAD and figured out ideas for manipulating the game elements. In terms of progress on the robot, we hit some key milestones. We finalized the drivetrain design and started assembling it using parts we had in stock. We are awaiting the delivery of other parts we ordered (like new idler gears) before it can be fully completed.

On the scouting front, Spencer Ng started to create our Android scouting app. This app will be used to record information about other team’s robots during matches. Since it will be hard to count exactly how many balls each teams will be scoring this year, we had to develop a model that allows scouts to estimate these counts.

Last season we graduated a large class of seniors and so we have a very young team this year. It took some time for our newer members to settle in, but they’re finally getting into the swing of things as the build season momentum picks up. All in all, we’ve made some great progress this week!

Week 3

The construction of the robot is developing thanks to the dedication of the build team. With the rest of the parts we ordered in hand, we finished fabricating the drivebase. We decided upon a method for storing balls effectively and framed out the upper portion of the robot (we anticipate being able to hold at least 80 balls). Next, we began to brainstorm methods to successfully climb up the rope. Furthermore, we started creating the robot’s bumpers making sure we had the proper clearance to adhere with this year’s new robot-sizing rules. Once they are complete, the robot will start resembling its final form.

The team parents have really been pitching in and making sure that the team has everything they need to succeed. Parents have been taking turns bringing in meals for us every day. Because of their efforts, the team is able to focus on building the robot. Hats off to our team parents for being so caring and supportive!

Week 4

This week we started working on wiring the robot’s electronics. Knowing exactly where the robot’s intake and shooter will be positioned allowed us to map out and permanently mount the control system components. With this task completed, the robot is now driveable! Currently, we are manufacturing the mechanisms required for the robot to pick up fuel from the ground and score it the boiler. We have also created a prototype mechanism for climbing up the rope; however, it has not yet been attached to the robot as we continue to iterate its design.

Our team coach, Mr. Cokeley, has been providing invaluable direction for us. He takes the time to teach us how to use our workshop tools and educate us on safety guidelines. We really wouldn’t be where we are without him! On a team spirit note, Team 25 is producing personalized steampunk themed items like goggles and hats!;

Student News: North Brunswick robotics competition goes medieval

This article originally appeared on myCentralJersey.com, 11:32 a.m. EST November 10, 2016.

On Saturday, Nov.12, Raider Robotix-FRC Team 25 hosts Brunswick Eruption in their 15th off-season robotics competition at the North Brunswick Township High School.

Teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and beyond will be traveling to this event where FIRST Stronghold, the game from the 2016 FIRST robotics season, will be played for the last time by these teams.

Raider Robotix invites the community to attend and learn more about FIRST Robotics and also to bring non-perishable food donations for the local food pantry and gently used shoes for the Raiders’ shoe drive. Admission to this event is free and open to the public. Food and drinks can be purchased at the event as well as souvenir T-shirts.

The doors for the Nov. 12 event will open at 8 a.m.

During the matches, teams will play First Stronghold, according to a news release. This is a medieval-inspired game in which two alliances made up of three robotics teams each will try to capture their opponents’ castle tower by scoring balls, or “boulders,, into openings. Each boulder scored through an upper story window or ground-level goal earns the alliance points and reduces the tower’s strength. If enough boulders are scored, the tower becomes weakened and can be “captured” for bonus points if all three robots surround it at the end of the match.

In addition to scoring boulders, points are earned for driving over or through obstacles placed on the field. In the last 20 seconds of the game, robots may also attempt to climb the opponent’s castle wall for additional points by grabbing a 6.5-foot-tall rung and elevating at least 2 feet off the ground.

During the robotics season, all FIRST events are open to the public and admission for seating is free. For more information on FIRST Robotics, visit http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc.

The Evil Sundae contest will be held prior to Elimination Matches, and awards to the competing robotics teams will be handed out at the end of the day. To learn more about Brunswick Eruption, visit www.raiderrobotix.org or the Raider Robotix’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BrunswickEruption.

Also during Brunswick Eruption, tickets for a pancake breakfast benefitting [sic] Raider Robotix-FRC Team 25 will be available. The pancake breakfast is being held Sunday, Dec. 11, at Applebee’s in Milltown. For only $10, participants will be served breakfast by a champion from Team 25.