Fundraisers!

Though the official FRC season may have ended with the conclusion of the Championships in St. Louis two weeks ago, Raider Robotix has been hard at work planning events to help the team raise funds for the 2015 season. We’re holding two events this weekend!

Harlem Rockets Comedy Basketball Show
Friday, May 9th @ 7:00 PM in the NBTHS Gym
Tickets can be bought at the door. $8 for adults/$7 for kids.
For more information about the Harlem Rockets, visit http://www.harlemrockets.com/.

Bake Sale & Robot Demonstration
Saturday, May 10th from 9:00AM-2:00PM
Held at Major Car Wash in South Brunswick. Come eat some yummy treats, talk to our team members, and see one of our robots close up!

We hope you will attend one of these events and help support our team!

District and World Championship Recap

After our performances at the Hatboro-Horsham and Lenape-Seneca district events, Raider Robotix ranked 13th overall out of the 110 teams competing in the Mid-Atlantic district. Going into the MAR District Championship, held at Lehigh University from April 10-12, we knew we had to be on top of our game in order to qualify for the FRC World Championship to be held in St. Louis, MO two weeks later. Eighteen teams from MAR would go on to attend the world championship based on awards won at the MAR Championship and the final district point rankings. Winning the Engineering Inspiration award at the Hatboro-Horsham district event qualified us as one of six teams to compete to win the same award at the MAR Championship.

By the end of the qualification matches on Saturday morning, we had a 7-5-0 record and found ourselves ranked 16th, once again having amassed the most assist points of any team at the competition. Some other highlights from the qualification rounds included:

When alliance selections came around, we were the first pick of the 6th seeded alliance, captained by team 56, Robbe Xtreme. Our teams then selected team 1279, Cold Fusion, to round out our alliance with their two ball autonomous mode and long, lofty truss shot.

Unfortunately the third seeded alliance edged us out in the quarterfinals, winning the second match by a mere margin of 13 points. Though we were eliminated from the tournament, we garnered enough points via our qualifying match wins and alliance selection to be in contention as one of the teams to qualify for St. Louis via the district point rankings. Judges had been visiting our team’s pit all weekend, so we were hopeful that we might have won a technical award, which would give us just enough points to secure a spot in the MAR top 12.

After the 7th seeded alliance of team 2590, 11, and 341 beat out 1089, 193, and 484 in the finals, we sat anxiously on the edge of our seats during the awards ceremony. As all the robot design awards were handed out, we did not hear our team’s name announced. Then the judges started to read the description of the first of MAR’s two Engineering Inspiration Award winners. They began to describe a program that was bringing hands-on STEM activities to elementary school classrooms, which sounded very much like our Parson’s Elite program. We erupted with excitement as the judge’s announced the award went to one “catchy” team, Raider Robotix!

Winning Engineering Inspiration at the MAR District Championship automatically qualified us to attend the World Championship in St. Louis (we also ended up ranked 11th overall within MAR). With flights and hotels quickly booked, we made the journey to the midwest two weeks later.

At the World Championship, our team was assigned to the Newton division, which we previously won twice before in 2006 and 2011

At the end of the qualification rounds at the world championship, we ranked 23rd out of 100 teams in our division with a 6-4-0 record, and the 6th most assist points. Our team also had the second lowest cumulative teleoperated score. This statistic, when compared to our other stats, highlighted the effectiveness of the low goal/assisting specialist strategy we played.

During alliance selections, we were drafted as the second selection of the 7th seeded alliance, the 10th overall pick. We joined an alliance with teams 4039, MakeShift Robotics from Hamilton, Ontario, and 3539, the Byting Bulldogs from Romeo, Michigan. 4039’s captain explained to the alliance how they selected us because no matter where the game ball was, we were always able to fight our way through field traffic and acquire it. For the elimination rounds, we took on the role of inbounder and defender. After initially receiving the ball from a human player (made easier by the giant target of our catching net), we would pass the ball off to 3539 and then play defense against the opposing alliance’s main scorer. In the quarterfinals, we faced the second seeded alliance, which included our friends and alliance partners from when we won the World Championship in 2012, Team 16 – The Bomb Squad. After three intense matches, the third including a record setting number of fouls on both sides, our alliance emerged victorious and moved on to the semifinals. After losing the first match (by 27 points), we came back strong in the second and won 215-151, forcing a third match. The outcome of the final round was 171-147 in our opponent’s favor.

However, this year there was also a new award structure at the championship, where technical awards were given out at the division level instead. We were honored and delighted to have won our division’s Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox for our unique strategy of play and catching ability!

Lenape Seneca Event Recap

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After winning the Engineering Inspiration Award, becoming event Finalists at our first District Event at Hatboro-Horsham, and taking the Mid-Atlantic Robotics region by surprise with our unique and innovative design, there was again quite the buzz online about how Team 25 would perform at the Lenape-Seneca MAR District event. Chief Delphi’s Looking Forward mentioned us once again in his Week Four Post:

“25 took a different approach to Aerial Assist than most teams, and right now are looking pretty smart, despite only having a silver medal.”

After taking one of the highest total assist points (330) in week one of MAR and ranking 8th in MAR points, we felt confident in our robot’s design, driver capability and strategic role on the field as we entered our second competition of the season.

This time, the pit crew and trailer arrived without any pre-competition roadside accidents to load in on Friday afternoon. With the exception of having to replace some recalled pneumatic air tanks for ones provided by FIRST, we moved through robot inspection with no problems at all.

In our Saturday morning practice matches we impressed teams with a couple of catches and felt good going into the qualification rounds. While the drive team warmed up, juniors Sarah Sleiman and Keertana Chirra spent the entire afternoon interacting with judges, sharing our team’s story, robot design, and community outreach efforts. In between small  repairs and regular robot maintenance, Seniors and pit crew leaders Tristan Tushinski and Urmil Shah answered questions about our robot for any scouts from other teams.

Our elimination alliance at the Lenape-Senece District Event. Photo courtesy of Team 1647.

Our elimination alliance at the Lenape-Senece District Event. Photo courtesy of Team 1647.

We ended the qualification rounds on Sunday ranked 5th out of 40 teams with an impressive record of 9-3, and the highest assist points in MAR and second highest of any Week 4 event (790). We were invited to join the 3rd seed alliance by our friends and alliance partners from Hatboro-Horsham, Team 1647, Iron Devils to see if we could go for the gold this time around. We completed our alliance by inviting Team 1923, The MidKnight Inventors, from the West Windsor-Plainsboro School District in New Jersey. Before the beginning of the Elimination matches, the coaches, drive team members and head scouts from all three teams met for an alliance strategy meeting in one of the computer labs at 1647’s high school. We won the first quarterfinal match against the 6th seeded alliance (816, 1218, 708) with a score 224-113. Unfortunately, in the middle of our second quarterfinal match, one of our alliance partners’ pickup mechanisms stopped working, which rendered us unable to score the three assist cycles that gave us an edge. After taking it to a third match to determine who would advance to the semifinals, we suffered a narrow 4 point defeat.

At the end of the day the judges transitioned into the awards ceremony. Team 25 was selected as the recipient of the Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox for our unique design and game strategy. We had a great time at Lenape High School and would like to thank all of the volunteers and Lenape Regional School District for helping make this event run as smoothly as possible. At the end of week 4, we are ranked in the top 15 out of 105 teams in the MAR Region and are optimistic about our chances of attending the MAR Regional Championship to be held April 9-12th at Lehigh University.

Breakfast with the bot fundraiser!

Raider Robotix will be holding an Applebee’s Pancake Breakfast fundraiser on Saturday, March 15th from 8 AM to 10 AM at the Applebee’s on Ryder’s Lane in Milltown.

Tickets cost $10 and can be bought in advance from any Raider Robotix team member or by emailing breakfast@raiderrobotix.org. Extra tickets will be sold at the door. Each meal includes pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and a beverage (coffee, juice, soda or tea.)

Please come on out to have a delicious meal and support our team!

Download flyer [PDF]

Hatboro-Horsham Event Recap

This past weekend, February 28 – March 2, Raider Robotix competed in our first official event of the 2014 competition season.

FRCGameSenseHHIn the week leading up to the MAR Hatboro-Horsham District Competition, there was some online buzz about how Team 25 would perform. On ChiefDelphi, Looking Forward, notorious for his event predictions, mentioned us twice. On the new online webshow, FRC Game Sense, four out of the show’s five hosts predicted Team 25 would either seed first at the event or be part of the winning alliance. We felt confident in our robot and design strategy coming into the event (that our new driver also had three weeks of practice under his belt helped too).

In typical Raider Robotix fashion, we encountered transportation issues on the way to the event. Unlike our battery cart falling off of a bus onto the NJ Turnpike in 2007, running out of gas on the way to kickoff in 2008, or having a bus break down on the way to Championships in 2012, this time the battery in the truck we rented to transport the robot to the competition had died.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 10.38.34 PMOnce the robot finally arrived at the event, we set up our pit display, which included a new pit banner and a 7% scale 3-D printed model of our robot. Our pit was located right next to the robot inspection station, so we received a lot of attention from all of the teams passing by. In the room full of robots with catapults and other launchers, our dedicated catching robot stood out in a good way. We happily demoed the robot’s functions to everyone who asked.

3D Printed RobotIn our practice matches Saturday morning, we performed two successful catches and felt good heading into the qualification rounds. Unfortunately since this was a week one event, there were a variety of field issues and inconsistent referee calls. After playing 12 qualification matches, we had a 6-6 record and were ranked 16th out of the 40 teams attending. Ignoring the field issues that decided the outcome of several of our matches, we all believed we played and strategized well enough to be a top pick during the alliance selections. Our friends on Team 1647, the Iron Devils from Tabernacle, NJ, seeded third and selected us as their first round draft pick. We then rounded out our alliance with Team 2234 from Newtown Square, PA.

We swept the quarterfinals in two matches, posting the highest scores in the series. In the first quarterfinal match, our robot caught two balls, one of which was a last second buzzer beater! In the video below, you can hear the crowd erupt in excitement!

We then went on to win our semifinals in two matches, advancing us to the finals to play against the number 1 alliance consisting of Teams 2590, 341, and 272. In the finals our alliance partners experienced some mechanical difficulties that prevented us from playing to our full potential and we lost in two matches. However, the powerful #1 alliance was very deserving and we congratulate them on the win!

Hatboro-Horsham TrophiesIn addition to winning the District Finalist award at the competition, we were ecstatic to have been selected by the judges as recipients of the District Engineering Inspiration Award! The Engineering Inspiration award “Celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community” and is one of the top honors in FIRST. Our team will go on to compete against the five other MAR Engineering Inspiration Award winners at the MAR Championship held at Lehigh University in April. We also received a peer “Stormie” award from Team 2729, STORM Robotics, for our robot’s creative design.

Our next competition is March 22-23 at Seneca High School in Tabernacle, NJ.

2014 Build Season Update

The new FRC season began on January 4, 2014. Raider Robotix attended the local kickoff event at Montgomery High School to participate in workshops, watch the game reveal, and pick up our kit of parts. After the event we met to read the game manual and discuss various strategies and scoring methods. Meanwhile, several Raider Robotix mentors had traveled to the official FIRST kickoff site in New Hampshire to go hands on with the playing field for this year’s game challenge, Aerial Assist:

In the past three weeks, Raider Robotix has been silent-but busy! During the first week of build season, the team spent time brainstorming strategies, modeling and prototyping potential designs, and fabricating different field components. The Drive team mocked up a catching device on an old practice base and drove it around to see how feasible catching the ball would be.

During the second week, the mechanical team finalized the design for our drivetrain and chassis. We then began to manufacture and assemble it, which included shaving down and cutting tread into our custom Skyway wheels. We’re in the stages of completing the design for the superstructure and mechanisms that will be mounted on top of the drive base.

The Scouting team held a presentation to introduce the process of scouting to new team members. Since then, they designed the paper scouting sheet that will be used to collect data about robots’ match performance at competitions. Now, they are working on developing scouting software that will aggregate and display the collected data. We also received a generous donation from Penn Warehouse & Distribution Inc., which the scouting team is using to buy a camcorder and memory storage to use to film matches at all of our events.

The Awards team has been very busy brainstorming and assembling information for our Chairman’s Award submission. After choosing a theme and completing an outline, they have begun drafting the essay. They also wrote a preliminary script for the video and will begin filming in the coming weeks.

Build season has been exciting and tiring, but we manage to stay afloat thanks to the support of our coaches, mentors, and meal support from the RRPMA on late nights. Stay tuned for more progress throughout build season. Be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates on what we’re up to!