DEPARTMENT UPDATES AND KICKOFF
Last Saturday, Team 2485 kicked off our 2020 campaign, and our team has already been hard at work preparing for the upcoming competition season. This year's game, Infinite Recharge game involves two alliances of three teams each, with each team controlling a robot and performing specific tasks on a field to score points. The game centers around shooting foam balls known as Power Cells into high and low goals to activate a Shield Generator, manipulating a Control Panel to activate this shield, and returning to the Shield Generator to park or climb at the end of the match. The objective is to energize and activate the shield before asteroids strike FIRST City, a futuristic city modeled after Star Wars. To view FIRST's reveal video for the 2020 season, click here. Team 2485 will be making its first competition appearance of the season at the Del Mar Regional, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego, from March 5-8, 2020.
Each of our departments has written a brief recap of their fall season below, and are excited to begin work for our new season!
Build and Design
The Build department has emphasized training new members, fabricating and assembling projects, and improving our machine qualifications for the upcoming build season. The team has recently acquired a new CNC router will improve our in-house manufacturing ability. Trainings on this machine, as well as with electronics, and pneumatics have encouraged the joining of 12 new members in the build department. Our practice manifested itself in the form of the manufacturing of a new robot cart for the competition season and two experimental gearboxes. Additionally, we showcased our creativity and expertise in Operation 2485, an event that accommodates both new and old members in their effort to feel most comfortable on the machines.
The Design team instituted its first official curriculum that includes lasting documents that can be passed down and improved year to year. This curriculum consists of project based learning and a design simulation of a hypothetical game, Rollerball! The intent of such is to necessitate reasonable applications of what will be expected during the build season. These internal improvements have doubled our team’s size from previous years with the recruitment of 10 new members. Furthermore, our team has endeavored in exploring emerging technologies with brushless motors.
This fall season, Software made some astounding progress. We explored new ideas and trained the largest group of rising freshmen in software history. Guided by the department head, Nathan, and the software leadership consisting of Aditya, Ian, Mark, and Jayna, the software department is excited to launch into build season. The fall season started off early in the summer with plans to rework our robot code structure and organization, alongside testing SparkMaxs and Neos. Time was also spent researching advanced control systems to build upon the successes of our last season. The overarching project throughout the fall was conducting a full 2019 code rewrite. Whereas in the past our code lacked a strong organization and was difficult to follow, it has now been rewritten to be more understandable and user-friendly. This should streamline both developing and testing as we work further into build season and our first competitions.
In addition to many long-term projects, our team completely redesigned our training curriculums. We added plenty of new Java practice exercises, flushed out our robot code training, added two additional electrical classes, and designed a control systems curriculum from the ground up. We utilized these revamped lessons to teach over twenty new freshmen—one of the largest groups in software history—how to code in Java and apply these skills to program a robot. Although we had some bumps along the road, we are going in to build season with an outstanding group of programmers ready to push our robot’s software to new limits.
Business and Outreach
This fall, our Business and Outreach team have made efforts in our preparation for awards and contributions to community outreach events. We kicked off our fall season with a successful Project Mercy, where 24 W.A.R. Lords went down to Tijuana, Mexico. Here, our team’s members utilized the skills they had learned in our build department and built three houses for families in need.
Additionally, once Chairman’s supplemental questions had been released, we began drafting responses to them. In concurrence with this, we began developing a Chairman’s theme, in anticipation of Chairman's rehearsals beginning soon.
As well, W.A.R. Lords represented our team and showcased our robot to our sponsors at a World STEM Day event hosted by Qualcomm. This event was an amazing opportunity to show our sponsors all that our robot is made of and how our team functions.
Additionally, we put on three OrionEds, where we showed off our robot and the various departments of our team, first to the students of the Nativity School in Rancho Santa Fe, second to the Boy Scouts of Troop 500 in Point Loma, and finally, to our school’s elementary school students. All in all, these workshops went well and we were able to show off our team amazingly.
Finally, just this past month, W.A.R. Lords and their parents came together on our campus to set up and host an FTC League Meet. W.A.R. Lords helped set up the game fields, and during the event helped to make sure it ran as smoothly as possible.