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.
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.