All posts by Colin Hauch

Pre-Halloween Update

The Halloween Parade is on its way! The past few weeks we’ve been getting ready for the parade. We’ve made serious progress on float decorations, successfully prepared both robots to drive in the parade.
We were one of the FRC teams selected to get a copy of the new roboRIO on-board robot software and libraries early so that we would go through and work out all the kinks of the system. We will report back to FIRST, telling them about the things they may have missed during their own internal testing, so that they will release improved software to the public. We are the “Beta Testers” which is a standard part of the testing process. We are super excited to have early access to the system and we are currently working on our own tests.
We also announced and released Strongback, find us at www.strongback.org or at our twitter: @strongbacklib
Work on a new chassis for our off-season robot has begun! We think we’ve reached the final design and we are currently in the fabrication process.

Fall status update 1

Alright, the off season has really gotten started! The past few meetings we’ve been getting the projects we want to work on in the off season started. The main project that nearly all the individual teams are contributing to is a Off-Season Robot (that is not yet the final name). We want to build a robot that the programmers can test new code on and use as a test bed for Strongback. The Mechanical team will practice building and setting up the new two-speed gearbox, and designing and constructing the modular structure. The electrical team always wants practice wiring and playing with new actuators, sensors, and the new control system.

Each team has smaller side projects that will help them practice while we design and order the parts for the Off-Season Robot. Electrical is figuring out Arduino, Admin is working on grants, sponsorships, budgeting, and documentation, and Mechanical is working on figuring out the two-speed gearbox.

We are looking forward to getting into the Fab Lab and working with hardware. Until then we are working in the classroom and limited to more conceptual prototyping and computer work.

The first fall meeting of 2015

This past Thursday evening, Edwardsville Technologies met for the first time since the end of last year’s season. We discussed the various robotics-related things the students have been up to this summer, including multiple students attending various science, robotics, or computer camps. We also discussed our new open source project, Strongback.

After a few emails, Slack was set as the main student to student / mentor to student communication program. Slack is an Apple and Android compatible app for phones, tablets, and computers that allows for the discussion of different topics, each topic having a “channel” (for example: an electrical team channel, an administration channel, an outreach channel, a events channel, etc.). Students receive what is essentially a text alert when there is activity on Slack, and hopefully this will help making communication between mentors and students more reliable, because some students have a bad habit of not checking email regularly (including myself).

We also talked about Fall plans and potential projects, including things such as the Gateway Robotics Challenge, writing code for and designing lockers and a tool “vending machine” for use in the new Lewis and Clark Fabrication Laboratory (The Fab Lab), and building a telepresence robot so that kids at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital can visit the St. Louis Zoo!

We had a few newcomers, and after we explained FIRST, FRC, and what we do, they seemed pretty excited about joining the team. And finally, we determined the Fall meeting schedule: SUNDAYS from 2-5PM and WEDNESDAYS from 7-9PM. Unless otherwise mentioned, all meetings will be at the N.O. Nelson campus of Lewis & Clark. Our next meeting will be at 7PM on Wednesday, Aug 26.