2010 Las Vegas Regional

Never would I have thought that joining the robotics team would bring me to meet some of the nicest, competitive, and hard-working people. The people and experience that I have encountered while being on Team 25 has greatly changed my life and my outlook on things. My sophomore year, the team traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the Las Vegas Regional at UNLV. This experience ranks as one of the best experiences in my entire life and the memories will stay with me forever. Competing and winning at UNLV was amazing! Competing with “The Cheesy Poofs” (from California) during Breakaway was great and winning the Las Vegas Regional was just a plus. Aside from the competition, the team traveled and experienced so many other activities. We saw and traveled to some of the most well-known casinos/hotels in Las Vegas; including The Mirage and Caesars Palace. We walked up and down the strip and experienced a lifestyle which does not compare to the New Jersey Lifestyle. The team went to a Blue Man Group concert which was phenomenal. We went to an indoor amusement park and a huge arcade. In addition, me and several other teammates were able to visit the Pawn Stars, Pawn Shop! I watch that show every Monday night and walking into the actually pawn shop was too exciting! Lastly, I was able to experience a city that is like no other with my great teammates, mentors, and chaperones. Las Vegas is a place I will NEVER forget and will continue to have the memories forever. Not many students my age can say they traveled to Las Vegas with a competitive, hard-working, and caring team; having that opportunity certainly separates our team from all other clubs/teams at NBTHS.

Rebound Rumble

The upcoming 2012 FRC season is right around the corner and you have probably just begun preparing for this season’s game, Rebound Rumble. The main objective of Rebound Rumble is simple: Collect basketballs that are littered around the court and then successfully shoot the balls through one of the four baskets which are located on three different tiers. However, you must strategically decide which basket to aim for as the highest tier basket is worth three points, the two middle baskets are worth two points, and last but not least, the lowest tier basket is worth a single point. The course is riddled with many obstacles, while the game itself is filled with challenges. First, there is a central obstacle located on the field, causing movement through the center of the play area to be a struggle. In order to cross onto the opposite side of the field, a team must either have their robot travel over a small steel beam that is located directly across the center line of the play area, or the team may decide to cross to the other side of the field by lowering a bridge and crossing it without tipping over. Finally, if you thought the beginning and middle parts of the game were fun, then you will think that Rebound Rumble’s end game is a blast! During end game, it is recommended that alliances attempt to balance as many robots as possible on the three bridges. The Coopertition Bridge, which is directly in the middle of the field, requires one robot from each alliance to help balance it in order for both alliances to earn extra “Coopertition” points. These points will help teams qualify higher in the rankings. If robots balance on their respective alliance bridge, they will earn regular points for that game only, which has the potential of providing enough points for an alliance to clinch victory in that match. In summation, the objective of this year’s FIRST robotics game is quite simple and entertaining: score as many points as possible by scoring basketballs or balancing bridges to help your alliance win the match.

To better understand this year’s game, watch the Rebound Rumble game animation below:

Congratulations to JV Raider Robotix

Our three teams had a great day today at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. Roger Weiss, our Volunteer Coach, works extensively with the FTC program and our JV teams. Roger wrote:

Hello All,

As you all now ponder solutions to this years FRC challenge I am PROUD to congratulate teams 2825 and 3568 for winning awards today at the well documented Liberty Science Center which earns them a spot at the state championships at NJIT on Sunday Feb 12th.

We had a very exciting and rewarding day at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. Our 3 teams performed well coming away with two awards. Team 2825 was a semifinalist , Team 3719 played each game diligently but luck was not on their side today and team 3568 was no threat as they demonstrated the path of pure frustration to enlightened achievement.

Team 3568 – the ICE Wolves – won the “Think” Award This award is given to the team that best reflects the “journey” the team took as … robot. Journal entries of interest to judges for this award will include those describing the steps, brainstorms, designs, … going as planned. A team will not be a candidate for this award if they have not completed the section of the Engineering Notebook …

Team 2825, team SWAG- won the “Connect” Award- This award is given to the team that most connected with their local community and … an essential part to their success. The recipient of this award is recognized for helping the community understand FIRST , the … Challenge, and the team itself. The team that wins this award is aggressively reaching out to engineers and exploring the opportunities …

In the four years participating in FTC, Liberty Science Center, in my opinion, is the best place to host this type of competition. The touch tunnel is back and in operation!!!

See Howard in Action as referee, See Deep and Urmil focused on controlling their robot, Yes, Team 2825 painted all their faces yellow and blue. See Diyvia and Alexa’s reaction after a match – check out nj.com’s pictures of the event.

Also watch Tapesh and Deep focused on playing the game at NEWS 12, NJ. I turned on channel 12 when I got home and that was the first event on the NEWS.

Of Course POPE JOHN’s 247 played against 248 in the championship with one of the “Watts” teams. Also as an FYI, Pope John is number 1 in the US for the Lego Space Shuttle Challenge at MIT.

Enjoy your Sunday
Mr. Weiss

Congratulations to our JV teams!


Brunswick Eruption 10 Results

Thanks to all of the team members, coaches, volunteers and parents who stepped up to make this an event to remember.

The Brunswick Eruption winning alliance consisted of Teams 1676, 1075 and 2554.
The event finalists were Teams 25, 2559 and 369.
The Top Eight teams were  167610751089, 2559, 2180, 25, 41 and 56.
The Mike Wade Memorial Award winner: Jim Giacchi, Team 41.
The winner of the Minibot Challenge was Team 2607.
The Food Drive Champion was Team 806. (But all contributors were winners in the eyes of the North Brunswick Food Bank!)
The Aloha Award winner was Team 303.
The Dave Beck Memorial Award winner was Team 2180.
Best Autonomous Mode went to Team 1075.
The Big Kahuna Award winners were Walter Suchowiecki and Mike Lubniewski.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Don’t forget to check out the event photos in our gallery.

IRI and Off Seasons

Even though our performance at IRI was not one our team’s best (we had multiple robot issues all related to a late discovered failing digital sidecar), we all still had a great time. For some of us, the joy of being served by one of our own mentors (see the picture at the right) is a memory that will last a while. Maybe we should head back there next year…

Brunswick Eruption is only few months out and will be the last chance to play with or against our bot from this year! More on Brunswick Eruption here!

Another Perspective

While watching from the stands many team members do not always see what goes on just before a match. Who better to hear from on this topic than a member of our drive team?

Hi, my name is Prash Ramani, and I am a member of the Raider Robotix drive team. I was able to experience the Saint Louis Championships from a unique point of view—on the field. Compared to all of the regionals, the Championship was CRAZY! Queuing, the Pits, and the excitement on the field was ridiculous! This is how my day went, along with the other drive team members:

Our match comes up: We have to get ready to go. The drive team heads down to the pits to get the robot ready for field play. Along with the pit crew members, we make sure the batteries are fresh, zip-ties are locked, the pneumatic system’s air pressure is filled to capacity, the bumpers are the correct color, and the mini-bot is in place and ready to go. Once all systems are checked, we roll out, through the narrow little walkways making sure that innocent bystanders are safe as we tow the robot and control board towards the field. Once we get to the queuer, he/she points us to where we have to be, depending on our alliance’s color and driver station position for our next match. As we are waiting, we watch the intense ongoing matches, seeing tubes getting put up in bunches, mini-bots flying up the poles, and the crowds cheering and chanting their brains out. That’s when the anticipation builds up in my mind and in the minds of the other drive team members, as we eagerly wait for our match to come.

Once we are up, I take the drivers station, and head over to our designated area, and hook up the controls to the field. The other drive team members place the robot on the field, carefully aligning the robot with the desired peg for the autonomous mode. Once the station is set, I head over to the opposite side of the field, to my human player spot, making sure all 9 of my tubes are inflated. Then the teams are introduced, and the anticipation builds up even more. The match begins, and the robot begins to move in autonomous, and I look on from the opposite side, hoping that the robot hangs the tube. When it does, I get excited and pumped up. When it doesn’t, all I think to myself is “Shaun screwed up the alignment…”, but he gets it most of the time, he’s good at that.

Watching the match, I survey what tubes are on the field and what tubes our alliance needs, and I use my overhead toss method to throw them out there. It’s a great feeling when the tube goes straight into the scoring area for our alliance to easily grab, or when the tube goes straight to our robot, and the drivers pick it up and score it. But when my throw is off, I feel bad, and almost embarrassed.

It’s near the match end, and it’s time to see the mini-bot race! I always feel like we are going to win the race, but I know in the back of my mind that one little thing could screw it up. The drivers align the deployment and I try my best to signal them if they are aligned, or if they are off. Then when I see the mini-bot FLY up to the top and see those four lights go off indicating first place, joy overcomes me. That is a great feeling.

Walking back to the pits, I eagerly wait a few minutes to see the score, which can sometimes take a while to appear on the screen. Then when the score finally comes up, and we win, I signal towards our team members in the stand by giving a few emphatic fist pumps.

We then go back to the pits, fix a few things depending on the current state of the robot, and wait for our next match, which is usually around an hour or so later.

But in the playoffs… Imagine this but with 100x more intensity! That’s how it was at the Championships. Not a lot of time between matches, and usually a lot to change or fix on the robot. Even though it got hectic, and tempers even flared at times, it was a great experience and I can’t wait to go through it all again next year.