Day 4: First Day of Competition


We started the day with an early breakfast, and then it was off the the competition. We arrived around 7:20 and walked in, rocking out to Eye of the Tiger dressed in our jumpsuits (Ryan could hardly wait). 

The first plan of action was to fix some issues from yesterday before competition began. An issue that arose yesterday, of using three of our four batteries at a time, was fixed by using a portable cellphone charger to power the beagle bone, the computer that runs much of our robot (solving problems that matter). Many issues today that were encountered were solved by rewiring the robot. We ended up rewiring the robot a several times throughout the day.  We got the gimbal working, but have yet to mount in on the robot (not as high of a priority) . 

Throughout the competition, teams were using tethers to connect to their robots (instead of using wifi) because there was so much signal interference. We encountered many issues early on with signal interface, but we did not have a long enough ethernet cord to be able to traverse a whole obstacle tethered. Specifically, our first challenge was affected by this, resulting in no points being scored. Our solution to this was two team members racing to the hardware store and purchasing a ethernet coupler and running back between challenges.

During one of our missions today, the robot needed to be reset. It was described by Mrs. Andersen as an ER surgery where students were borderline frantic fixing the robot, letting their counterparts know which tools to put in their hands, and commenting on what they were doing as they acted. A few students took the lead, got in, and like a Nascar pit crew, disassembled the parts that needed to come apart, patched up the robot, and we were able to fix the robot before time was up. Impressive.

Cool things from today: We are currently ahead of an Iranian team (because of a technicality). Another team showed up with helmets and face shields and we soon found out it was because of their robot—the robot was a flying drone with a spherical shield, which would break and shoot out parts whenever they did a challenge because it would fly it into walls full speed. There is a robot here for display that looks just like a bird when it flies!

To avoid the stress of the competition, occasionally team members redirected their focus from the robot to crepes. There is a crepe stand here with a wide variety of fillings for delicious crepes. Four team members discovered there is an outside area with beach volley ball, basket ball, and human foosball and spent some time outside during their lunch break.

Our greatest success was when Kayla (our driver) scored us 2 points by navigating through the centering test (where she drives diagonal through an area as wide as our robot) forwards and then backwards. The RKRS cheer-team went wild! (Exciting things happen about 1:30 into the video)

We ended up getting a bunch of compliments from both NIST and other competitors here. They were REALLY impressed with our problem solving abilities. That is a huge deal at this really tight competition.


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