Go Space Cookies

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Silicon Valley Regional this year was simply put…AMAZING.
We were placed 14 out of 48 and at one point in the competition we actually placed fourth. Because we have an amazing driver as well as human player we were chosen as a member in one of the top alliances. We were so excited because it’s been about four years since we were chosen for such a prestigious position. Not only that but we beat some of the top teams and made it to the FINAL ROUND!!!!!!! Although we did not win the final round we are so happy to have made it so high in the competitions. WOW.
After finals we had pretty much thought that the second place runner up was the only award that we were going to get.
BUT boy were we wrong! We won the ENGINEERING INSPIRATION AWARD which is the second highest award at a FIRST competition. We won it because of our endless outreach to the greater community and younger girls. This means  we get to go to championships in ATLANTA. =)
The entire team can be easily labeled as speechless because our hard earned work has been awarded. GO SPACE COOKIES!!!!!

Fembot's Practice Day

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By Sarra Hilali

My Gosh, we have been busy! Yesterday our robot was shipped, and I am sure that was one of the happiest days of my life. I haven’t had time to update because we have been so busy building.

So I will take this opportunity to fill you in on what has happened the past two weeks: In the past years we have never taken the time to paint our robot. We’ve gone to competition after competition with an aluminum colored robot. There’s nothing wrong with that but honestly it dosen’t look as snazzy as the painted ones do. This year we have decided that only waiting for a day to get the robot very awesomely colored is worth it.

We have also decided that this year we should have a practice robot. In other words we’ll be building a robot that is identical to the original so we’ll have a robot to practice perfecting our strategy and other skills.

This Valentine’s Day we went to visit another All-girls team, the Fembots of Saint Francis High School in Sacramento. They were hosting a practice day where we had the opportunity to practice with 17 other teams before we ship our robot. I believe that this is a huge improvement to before where we were last year. But the 12th,, which was a Thursday we were supposed to work on the robot, which was still not put together to prepare for the practice day.

But to our great misfortune the parts that were greatly anticipated did not arrive…ahhhh! So we had no choice to stay all day Friday and Saturday morning working on the robot, when we were supposed to leave San Jose at 5:30 a.m. to arrive at the practice match on time. Several of us stayed until about 1:00 am and some did not go home and left the lab to go to the practice match. Talk about dedication.

The Practice day was AMAZING. We actually got our robot to drive and SCORE POINTS. Unfortunately we do not have video footage of this joyous occasion but we will when we go to the Silicon Valley Regional, (SVR) Competition. Our awesome human player, Isabelle did some amazing feats in the last round. It was a phenomenal event! But what was really cool at the practice event was that we were able to get the chance to see how other teams’ robots looked and how they worked.  I can say that for all the robots we saw had polycarb lining and some type of conveyor system.

Now the rest of the two weeks before SVR will be spent on strategy, the bill of materials, the Chairman’s Award and other details.

The Two Faced Titan

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By Sarra Hilali

The game this year has been interesting and a complete surprise from FIRST. Usually FIRST will give you a ‘box’ to stay in at the beginning of the game and as the game moves along you can design the robot so that it will move out of the box (this is usually important when making a claw or some other mechanism that is meant to grab things). But this year the box with dimensions for the robot is fixed throughout the entire game. Not only that but each robot is to be attached to a trailer where balls are supposed to be scored into on separate alliances). To add to that this year the playing field floor is completely different in the sense that the flooring is no longer carpet….but plastic that acts like ice for the robots, not to mention the fact that there are certain wheels that each team is required to use. Here’s a link so that you can learn more about the game.

Finally after about a week and three days into the 2009 season we have picked our robot! YAY!!! We have named our robot the Twoface Titan for the idea that it can be two robots in one. The bottom part of the robot is the 2006 season robot while the top hopper can be used to have the human player throw in balls into trailer.  I am extremely excited that the robot has been picked and we can truly get on with the real fun part…BUILDING!

Prototyping

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By Sarra Hilali

So the prototyping begins for the Two Face Titan…
In regards to the rollers that are supposed to be in the bottom part of the robot we identified that it would be more efficient to have one roller rather than two. We reconnected the old robot from the 2006 FIRST game and found out that the second roller does not help bring in or ‘spit’ out balls that rather one roller works just as well.
We’ve done much prototyping with the top hopper, experimenting with a rough wooden model that is slightly smaller in size compared to the actual size it’s supposed to be. On the inside width of the box we attached a slanted piece of plywood on each side this way when you throw balls into the hopper they sort of roll into the middle; then we can control them more. This slanted side also provides that the length of the front is two balls wide rather than four. By having the width only two balls wide when the balls are ‘dumped’ into the trailer they supposedly all go in rather than having balls flop out around the trailer. There has also been another suggestion of using polycarb and bending it into a sort of half sphere shape, like a scoop as the top hopper. It has also been brought up that we may not use a door to let the balls out rather have a roller to shoot the balls out.