Saturday, January 16. 2010
What we ate! Two meals today!
Actually before I start with the actual food, I need to start with the thing that is the most important to the mentors, especially on Saturday mornings! Thank you Mentor Leann for supplying a brand new and CLEAN coffee pot! She also brought the coffee! (The American Red Cross is currently giving a pound of coffee donated by Dunkin Donuts when ever you make a blood donation. Yesterday she gave platelets! Go Leann!)
Lunch was provided by Peter, Ben and Mentor Christian’s Mom / Wife. Rolls and cold-cuts, cheese, veggies and fruit. Apparently the team ate like ravenous wolves, and late arrivals, like me, missed out!
Dinner was provided by Justin and Mentor Mark’s family. They called it a southwestern stew, in meaty and veggie versions. Very much like a chili, served with corn bread, a deluxe tossed salad and chocolate chip squares!
It was very difficult to come to robotics today because it is 40+ degrees out and the sun is shining! For those of you that know Rochester in the winter, you know how significant this is! And yet there were students and mentors that were here at 9 am, and a rather large crowd for the afternoon. Getting into the school still seems to be difficult; sometimes the doors are open to let you through and sometimes they aren’t.
Today’s Challenge! How to function without access to the school’s computer network! Fortunately, Mike from the school’s IT department came to the rescue! Thanks Mike!
Integration Meeting: I arrived in time to sit in on the integration meeting, but missed the drive-train report. And most of the field team is on a run to Home Depot. Their status was that the two tunnels and two of the bump sections are done, and they are working on making the goals.
The Mech2 team is in prototype mode and has determined some of the criteria to determine success of the prototype. Lots of drawings have been uploaded to the Wiki.
The Mech1 team is doing lots of calculations on the feasibility of using a mechanism to allow the robot to right itself but creating a shift in the Center of Gravity. The goal across the board is to keep the robot’s center of gravity as low as possible.
The electrical main team was speaking in a foreign language called acronym-speak. If I spoke it, I’d let you in on the discussion… anyway they are starting to work on their bill of materials (BoM) and making use of the library of “CAD-ded” parts to start their drawings, and they are considering using a light curtain – ball sensor to tell when the ball is in place for kicking.
The controls team is coming up with unique design features, but you’ll have to wait before those concepts are released for public viewing. They are working on a mock board, looking for used joysticks to play with and are considering a briefcase to house the box.
The programming team is working on tracking software and on drive-train code which apparently is still a little sketchy. Each sub-team included purchasing requests in their reports and the programming teams request was for 1,000,000 “ones.”
That covers the integration meeting. The programming, controls and mechanical sub-teams continued to meet to hash out some additional needs and concerns.
News Flash! Paul J. has just walked in! LOOK AT HIS HAIR!!!! It looks like he is getting ready for competition season hair!
The team members here today are being amazingly productive. Around 3:30, I went looking for a student to do some carpet calculations but I couldn’t find anyone who was not doing sub-team work!
Drive-train update! They have finished! Ok, not quite, but they have put together a complete mock-up. Mentor Josh gives this clarification – it has the wrong wheels, the wrong transmission, missing encoders … but it is an accurate physical and geometrical representation of the actual drive-train. And it is enough to tell us that, as it is, the robot will drive up over the balls. Another design opportunity!
One more pass through the shop and room before I wrap it up for the night. Mech1 is sketching some designs. Mech2 is agonizing over their prototype. Groups of students are going through the Inventor tutorial. The field team is still cutting big sheets of plywood into smaller pieces. Mentor Tom C. is still organizing the closet where he has been all day. Matt is asking who he can help. Calvin is a jellyfish. Programming is programming. Crystal is drawing her control board box for the 1511th time. Larry is ordering rivets and other exciting robot components. Still a lot of productivity, but you can tell that it has been a long day. Tomorrow’s team time starts at 10 am. See you then.