May 2013 Update


It's hard for us to believe Robot Springboard and our website has been up and running for almost a year!  This has been both a busy and exciting year for us personally and for Robot Sprigboard as well and so we decided it was time to update this section.


In the  Fall of 2012 we both received the NCWIT (National Center For Women and Information Technology) Award for Aspirations in Computing for the Philadelphia region and also received national runner-up recognition.  There were over 1800 applicants for the awards this year and we were 2 of the 10 girls from the Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware area that received Philadelphia area honors.  NCWIT has been an incredibly helpful and supportive organization for our work and you can read more about it here.


In March of 2013 we learned of an opportunity to apply for an NCWIT Aspire IT grant to help develop programs to teach middle school girls more about computer science.  We were fortunate to learn that Dr. Popyack of the Computer Science department at Drexel University was interested in working with NCWIT in helping to develop an outreach program in the West Philadelphia area.  With Dr. Popyack's mentorship we applied for and were awarded an NCWIT grant which will fund the Drexel Tech Camp you can read about by following the link on the header of this page.  (Please note, the Drexel Tech Camp for 2013 is now completed and you can read about it under the "Completed Projects" link.  We are working on plans for a Drexel Tech Camp for 2014 so please check back.)


In addition to the above we were busy with 3 separate robotics teams this year!  We helped start-up and co-captained our school's Vex robotics team and were able to recruit 22 classmates to participate.


In our inaugural season our school's Vex team was on the winning alliance at the Norristown Robotics meet and won a Sportmanship award at the Haverford Stampede.


Even though we were on a school robotics team we had really enjoyed our experience with FLL and wanted to continue with FIRST programs.  We made a number of inquiries via email and were thrilled to be invited to join an FTC team, "The Silver Soldiers" in Pottstown PA and shortly thereafter were able to join an FRC team in Downingtown PA as well.


Our FTC Team qualified for the State Championships in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.  We were on the winning alliance in the Delaware State Championships, the 2nd place alliance in the Pennsylvania State Championships and won the 1st place PTC design award in the New Jersey State Championships.

Our FRC team (1640) was on the winning alliance at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals and qualified for the World Championships held in St. Louis.  Just going to the World Championships was an amazing experience. In 2013, the competition reached over 50,960 high-school-aged young people on over 2,548 teams in 58 regional events.


In order to qualify for the World Championships teams must compete and rank high enough in two local qualifying tournaments and a regional championship.  Our team competed in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship held at Lehigh University and were the regional champions this year.

 

At the World Championships in St. Louis, there were 400 teams from 37 States and 7 International countries qualified to compete.  Out of the elite 400 teams competing, our FRC team was on the alliance that won it’s division championship (there are 4 divisions of 100 teams each) and made it to the prestigious “Einstein Field” and Final 4 of the entire tournament before loosing in a very close semi-final bracket thus placing us in the third or fouth best alliance in the world for 2013.



We're really proud of the robot our team created.  It has a swerve drive and a very unique climbing mechanism which we termed a "caterpillar drive" that allows it to climb up the angled side of the pyramid.  There are a set of three clamps as well as rollers on the undercarriage of the robot which with the aid of sensors can clamp and release so that the robot can, like a caterpillar, raise up and over each of the horizontal bars which would otherwise be an obstruction.  The first video below has a really nice demonstration, (especially if you enlarge the video), of the climbing mechanism in action at a tournament.  The video below that is a "season wrap video" that shows our team's robot in various season events.  It's robot number 1640 with blue or red bumpers depending on which alliance we were competing. You can see a good close up of us wearing safety glasses and holding clipboards at about 4:17 as we strategize with another team during scouting.  (We did not produce or create this video - it was put together by one of our mentors as part of the application process for the Indiana Robotics Invitational Tournament held in July).


Short Climbing Video Below:



Season Wrap Video 


 

Each robotics experience has had different challenges and taught us different skill sets and we have had a great time learning and working with our teammates and mentors.  We're looking forward to learning more!