FedTech Tour

During the tour of FedTech, we learned the differences between using water jet cutters and laser cutters, the two types of cutting machines they use, and what effect they have on the materials. For water jet cutters, the water is mixed with garnet of a specific size, called abrasive, to help with cutting. The pressure is kept at 60,000psi by large pumps that are taken apart for maintenance daily because of the potential damage from the high pressure. The inside of the nozzle is shaped like a funnel to help prevent it from clogging, and the end of the nozzle is about the width of a hair. Water jet cutters can cut very thick material, while laser cutters are used for cutting much thinner sheets of stainless steel and hardening the edges of the cuts. Water jet cutting also prevents warping due to heat because the material is cut by the pressure and abrasive. It was a very interesting tour and we are in contact with FedTech to set up a demo.

Potential Energy Mentoring

We invited Potential Energy over to our HQ to teach them about FTC. First, we talked about how to do well in tournaments and how they function. We also gave them a tour of HQ, showed them our robot, and gave advice on robots. Along with this, we also showed them a bit of our programming to give them a sense of what it’s like. After we talked to them about tournaments, robot, and programming they were very eager to ask questions. We answered them all with as much detail as we could. They were very excited to compete in person this year, and it was a great experience to be able to share this with them.

Talking to Potential Energy about tournaments
Talking about robots

Kickoff Presentation

At the MN FTC Kickoff event, our team presented about outreach. The title of our presentation was “Everything You Need to Know about Outreach” and in it, we covered what outreach is, how to find and set up events, and general outreach tips. The presentation went well and we were able to answer the audience’s questions. We even received feedback that an audience member learned a lot and enjoyed it. It was very exciting to go to kickoff and be able to present. We had presented at the 2020-2021 Ultimate Goal Kickoff, but it was all virtual so this was a different experience. We hope to present at kickoff again next year!

Introducing our presentation about Outreach

CIA Mentoring #1

During our FLL to FTC Webinar, we invited the teams to come visit our HQ to learn about our workspace and how we work. One of the teams that came to visit was CIA. We gave them a tour of our HQ and helped them create and program a basic push-bot. This was a great experience for us to learn more about their team and practice teaching robotics which we will use in the future.

Minnesota State Fair Demo

We demoed our robot at the Minnesota State Fair in a High Tech Kids booth with other FTC teams. We talked to people passing by and told them about FIRST, then let them drive our robot and handed out robot drivers licenses. We were able to show off the challenges from two different seasons, Ultimate Goal and Skystone, and had a chance to see how the robot interacted with others on the field. It was a fun event and we hope to do it again next year.

Demoing the robot
High Tech Kids and the demoing teams

Benton County Fair

We demoed our robot at the Benton County Fair for two days in a row to reach out to the community. As well as letting people drive our robot, our team also demoed two controllable FLL robots. We also talked with the FRC team and other FTC teams at the event and learned about their robots.

Showing off FLL to the people at the fair
Talking with the FRC team at the fair

Brainiac Maniacs Mentoring #1

The Brainiac Maniacs are a team we are helping transition from FLL to FTC. After presenting our FLL to FTC Webinar to them, we offered to let the teams come visit us at our HQ so we could teach them about how we work. Once we had given them a tour of our workspaces, we helped them use the FTC kit we gave them to build their first robot as well as program it using Android Studio. On the hardware side, we helped them create a basic pushbot. For software, we helped them program a basic teleop which moves the robot around using the two joysticks on the controller. It was a lot of fun to teach some of our tricks to a new FTC team and we hope to see them more in the future!

YCARE Demos

We went to three Y-Care facilities in our local school district to give a demonstration of our robot to the kids there. We introduced ourselves to each of the small groups of kids and told them about FIRST and youth robotics. Then we let the kids drive our robot from last year and play with the LEGO SPIKE bots. We gave the kids robot driver’s licenses after they finished driving our robot. We also showed them some of the inner workings and what it can do. It was very exciting to see the kids having fun and being interested in robotics and FIRST.

One of our team members showing kids how to drive the robot
Our team showing off what our robot can do to kids at the YCARE event

Library Story Time Demo

Every year our local library does several “story times” where they would read stories with kids in the community. This is our team’s 3rd year attending our local library’s summer story time. We were featured on a pre-recorded story time as robotics team members. For the story time, we demoed our robot and talked about what it could do. We then did a bit of singing and dancing with our robot! Our team also made a short video detailing the process of how we designed the robot which was featured on the stream. We had a great time and hope we will be able to do it again next year in front of an in-person audience!

Recording the story time

Computer Vision Professor Mentorship

Our team showed off our robot to Mr. Vinitsky as well as how we have used modeling this year. Mr. Vinitsky then explained the basics of machine vision and how computer recognition is much more difficult than human recognition. The last thing he told us is how to get a more accurate model for machine learning through a 3 step process. We have used modeling to detect the ring stack at the beginning of autonomous and we are working on custom models for aiming at the goals. We also mentioned volunteering and how the tournaments are completely run by volunteers and he seemed really interested.