FTC Competition Evergreen, Colorado. Saturday, January 28, 2017

On January 28, 2017, our team had the privilege of traveling to Evergreen, Colorado with our robot, Sheldon, to compete against 16 other teams from our region. We spent the whole week preparing, yet we were still crunched on time. We had very little time once we finished our coding and building to actually test and practice with our newly designed robot; especially considering we finished at 3:30 Saturday morning. But the excitement of our first competition was stronger than the exhaustion, and we showed up ready for anything. All of the scaling went well, we were within our parameters with no problems, helping us successfully pass all of our inspections. The only element left before competition was our judging session.

The Judging element of our competition went extremely well for a first competition. All elements were explained accurately as well as efficiently, with an equal amount of talking points for each of our six team members.Together we covered the overall design and coding of our robot, the independently manufactured 3D parts, outreach programs our team has participated in, as well as our engineering notebook and team notebook. Each of us had a designated piece to talk about, allowing us to successfully fill our 15 minute time limit and cover all of the bases. Our notebook was slightly unfinished, because the night before our printer stopped printing double sided, so we had some very mismatched pages, which we were able to reprint and replace with correct copies.

We were all feeling fairly confident after judging, and went back to the work room to practice and improve Sheldon. Together, we prepared to go into the competition circle.The first round was mostly making sure that our controls, beacon pushers and cap ball lift were working. The second round we targeted mainly beacons and tried to lift the cap ball. Eventually, we were invited to partner with the team in fifth place, and competed in the semifinals.

During the semifinals, we focused on pushing the beacons until there were 45 seconds left, and then we were lifting the cap ball. The first time we lifted the ball a little ways and it fell before we could cap it. The second round we were about to cap it, but our broken arm malfunctioned and wouldn’t drop it. We were extremely proud that we got that far; even though that’s where our competition ended.

We are currently in the process of testing, altering and fixing Sheldon for a competition in Glenwood Springs on Saturday, February 11. We’ve fixed our arms and are making lots of progress on our coding. We look forward to our next competition, and the improvements and learning experiences involved with FTC.

About Austin Ford

Austin F. Team Captain / Electrical / Programming / Website & Social Media Design / Robot Design / Arm Driver My name is Austin Ford. I was born in Longmont, CO in 2001 and have lived here my entire life. I currently attend Foundations Academy where I am in 8th grade. My hobbies include skateboarding, fishing, camping, hiking and I am a complete technology consumer. Over the summer, I built my first monster gaming computer and use it to play my favorite games. I also spend a lot of time creating mods for many of the games that I play. I joined robotics club because this year’s First Tech Challenge will be using Java as its programming platform to control the robot and the driver station utilizing the Android operating system. Since I have been around computers my entire life and already know quite a bit about them, I am excited to learn about Java programming and how it will interface with our robot and how it is used to create applications on mobile phones. My future plans include pursuing the field of electrical engineering. I hope one day to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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