FOX News came to Newtown High School recently to conduct a new segment called ‘The Big Idea: Junior’. Our lead coach, Ms. Gonzalez very kindly prepared a series of questions in order to ensure we didn’t look completely dumbfounded at the startle of a camera. The morning that FOX came to our workshop the majority of us were pulled from class and given a few words by Mr. Paolino and Ms. Gonzalez. When the camera crew arrived we were told to act as we would any other day. Everyone was doing their assigned task whether it was working on tabs or working on the program. We used the practice robot we had instead of the actual robot we had built since we weren’t really supposed to take the official robot out of the bag. Dan Bowens interviewed around five members of the team: our Captain, Chrys, our head programmer, Li alongside Sade, our head designer Manish and myself. We were asked questions similar to those Ms. Gonzalez had anticipated. We were asked about our role in the team, the function of the competition and the function of the team in general. We were very excited and enjoyed having this experience.
This week was a combination of practicing and perfecting. Our driving team Chrys Sanchez and Manish Shretha maneuvered the controls to best complete the objective we needed. We practiced getting totes to and fro from their designated areas. We saw the various ways in which we could stack the boxes and in how many sets of them at a time. The team looked for the easiest and fastest way to get more done in a smaller period of time. Apart from this we also did a lot of troubleshooting, in the sense that we looked how to solve any problems that my come our way during competition. We checked how we would lift the can if it were on its side or even upside down. Overall, this was a week of problem-solving.
This week was particularly heavy for our programming department. This was the week in which we would test all of the functions and make sure that everything was working the way that it should. Our head programmer Li, alongside our mentor Bob led most of the testing on the robot. They ensured that the actuators were working at the same speed so that there would be no problem when trying to pick up totes and put them down. We didn’t want one actuator moving faster than the other, that would be unfortunate. Also during this week, we tested out our Autonomous. We had some difficulty in this department being that we got off to a rough start. However, by the end of the week, our programming team figured out the issue and made it run smoothly. Also towards the end of the week we got to do some practicing with a different school, Brooklyn Tech, they were kind enough to lend us some practice space. This week was quite a long one but in the end its where we made the most improvements on Midas.
Week three of building we spent testing our prototype robot. The tests were run by the programming department. They tested out the function of the prototype and decided on what adjustments it was that they wanted to make on the robot. After we saw what it was that we needed to fix we repaired all minor mistakes. We realized that there were two pieces that were the wrong distance away from each other and made th correction. Overall, I like to think that the mistakes were not that major. The test ran smoothly the majority of the time. Li and Sade worked alongside our mentor Bob to make sure that everything was running the way that it was supposed to. It was a calm week filled with trouble shooting and problem solving.
Last night the team’s parents gathered together in order to obtain information on what it is that their children were going to be dogmatically working on for the next six weeks. During this one hour session, parents were told what the competition was going to be about and anything pertaining to it. We took this time to answer any questions that parents may be having and addressed any concerns. Through a video presentation and former robot display, parents became familiar with the FIRST robotics competition. This was a successful evening due to everyone getting informed whilst enjoying a wonderful time.
A new year, a fresh new start, Team 1635 starts their season with an introduction meeting. They welcomed new members, familiarizing them with the “Veterans”. As they gathered in the room that they would be working in for the next 6 weeks until competition, they introduced themselves to one another. There was a dialogue amongst everyone on what it was each member was interested in and what it was that they specialized in. As they discussed about what brought them to joining the team there was various answers but a common motive.This was a great opportunity for everyone to get to know one another and make new friends. In the end a team is meant to bring people with a common interest together and make something wondrous. That day was the official moment that diverse individuals became a team.This team left the school with an understanding of unity and the readiness to work.