December 6th, 2013
This week’s meeting was the last general meeting, during which we discussed the following points:
*VEX Synopsis and January Competition
*Intro to FRC
*FRC Kickoff @ GATech
1. Upcoming Meetings
Inventor meetings will still be held on Thursdays through December 12th, programming meetings will be held on Thursdays through December 12th, and Business Team meetings will continue through December 10th.
2. VEX Synopsis and January Competition
The VEX event two Saturdays ago was a success, said the consensus of the meeting on Tuesday. Receiving praise from attendees from neighboring counties, the team’s annual regional competition went smoothly. Congratulations were given during the meeting to the team of Rikhil and Rohil Shah, who now qualify for advancement to state competition.
Through the success, student leadership this week encouraged team members sure to think about possible improvements in both robot design and functionality and the hosting of competitions. Team members were encouraged to apply the newly learned material to the VEX and FRC seasons alike.
For Jay Krishnaswamy, Vice President of Business, learning from experiences seems vital. “It’s always good to learn from our mistakes,” he said. “When we don’t reach the goal we strived for, we become stronger for our next opportunities.”
A limited number of teams can signup for an event in McDonough occurring on January 25th, 2014. While this will interfere with FRC build season, interested teams discussed options after the meeting this Tuesday.
Teams who decided against competing again solemnly said their goodbyes and disassembled their robots after the meeting. All the while, they maintained organization by returning parts to their respective places.
“When the room is tidy,” said Nicholas Allison, the Vice President of VEX and who headed this year’s disassembly, “I always feel at ease. It brings a sense of order and professionalism.”
3. Intro to FRC
With a boosting momentum, the Robolions are eager to begin preparations for the spring semester, which involves the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).
Andy Bare, Vice President of FRC, is particularly excited. “I get like a rush of adrenaline,” he said, grinning. “It feels amazing to compete in something that involves so much cooperation and engineering yet is so much fun.”
During FRC in Spring, the team is given six weeks to design, build, and program a large bot for a game released in January. This release, the “Kickoff,” which the team plans to view at Georgia Tech (more information in the next section), marks the beginning of the building season and thus the competition.
Throughout the six-week period, the team will work intensively from 5 to 7 days a week and even on weekends. “It’s a lot, but it’s worth it too,” said Krishnaswamy, nodding with anticipation. “We will have a schedule decided on the day of the Georgia Tech Kickoff.”
“We’re going to build two bots:” said Bare, “one to send off to competition and one to drive and train with.”
The dual-bot strategy has proved useful in past years, as the six-week limit ends a few days before the upcoming competitions.
The team plans to attend Palmetto Regional (held in South Carolina) and Peachtree Regional (held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta). The Palmetto Regional will be especially limited in terms of team members.
“We can’t take everyone, unfortunately,” said Krishnaswamy. “So those who have strong commitments to the team, who know enough about our robot, and who have higher attendance will attend.”
4. FRC Kickoff @ GATech
January 4th is the date of the Kickoff, near the end of the student Winter Break. The team will travel down to Georgia Tech in cars.
“It will give team members an opportunity to look at the new field,” said Rikhil Shah. Shah is the President of the PRHS Robolions and is eager to visit Georgia Tech for Kickoff again. “They [members] will also be able to view a small part of the campus.”
Permission slips will both be posted at the team website, prhsrobotics.com, and emailed out to members, likely before Winter Break. Otherwise, members may also bring their slips to school the day of the Kickoff.
The team is in need of parent drivers. Members should RSVP by Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 to Mrs. Mary Rutland, the teacher sponsor of the team.
Following the Tech Kickoff, the team plans to return to school to brainstorm. Usually lasting a few hours in the media center, the team’s brainstorming period will also be filming for the Chairman’s Award video submission.
“We will pick a strategy that fits the game, but it will likely change, and that’s okay,” said Krishnaswamy. The ambitious Vice President has high hopes for the FRC season this coming spring but is also preparing heavily. “I need to get ready for the intense workload, but I’m confident this will be a quality season, win or lose.”