Last Sunday, the SAAS Robotics Team hosted seventeen teams for our second annual FTC Workshop on preparing for the First Tech Challenge (FTC) competition season.
Each season, the Washington First Tech Challenge presents robotics teams with a new set of objectives for scoring points. On Sunday, students from the three SAAS teams put on presentations and workshops on tackling this year’s game, Cascade Effect.
Cascade Effect will challenge this year’s robots to trigger a small “avalanche” of one-hundred and sixty baseball and golf ball-sized wiffle balls at the center of their playing court and then earn points by collecting, manipulating, and shooting the balls with the help of movable ball-collecting silos and other court features.
“The two sizes of balls on the field are a nice twist,” says head coach Gabe Cronin. “That element raises some fun questions about whether to design a robot to pick up both sizes of balls at once or make on-the-fly adjustments for their size part of team strategy.”
Of Saturday’s twelve workshops, three were run by SAAS team members Alex Jordan ‘16, Gerald Elliot (Robotics Team Advisor and Upper School History Teacher), and Madeleine Le ’15 – presenting on the programming tool I2C, custom manufacturing, and engineering notebook (a site SAAS Robotics students use to record their ideas, progress and testing of robots and design concepts). After the morning of presentations, SAAS Robotics students helped get some newbie teams up-and-running with their first chassis.
This year SAAS Robotics will also be implementing a project management system called Agile, with the help of new mentor and SAAS parent Eric Zinda (Isaac Zinda ‘16). Agile allows students to be more accountable and take on tasks that they’re really interested in.
This exciting start to the Fall season was preceded by a very successful Middle School Robotics Camp (where Upper School students helped fourteen incoming Middle Schoolers practice coding and mechanical design in order to compete in a custom maze game) and Seattle’s first Girl’s Generation FTC competition at Franklin High School in August.
The brainchild of Northwest robotics dynamo (and Franklin’s Team Xbot Executive Director) Donna Lew and Washington FIRST Robotics President Erin McCallum, the event is part of Washington’s Girls FIRST Initiative, a series of robotics competition events at which girls in 7th-12th grades with no previous experience can come and learn how to drive robots.
The day after Girls Generation, a Franklin robotics team called out the Seattle Academy Robotics Team with an Ice Bucket Challenge, so this year’s team also kicked off their season with an icy shower, calling out two other robotics teams, SAAS girls’ volleyball, SAAS girls’ varsity Soccer, and Upper School history teacher Steve Retz.
Above: The Robotics Team taking the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Below: Alex Jordan ’16 Presenting at the FTC Workshop.