Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday: Go time!

Arrived at the Nutter Center a little after 8:00 a.m. to snag time at the pit to get ready for our first table run at 9:05. Unfortunately so did everyone else. Oh well.

The robot isn't running as well as we'd like but we're hanging in there. First and third runs didn't go so well but our second is run is a respectable 230. It looks like we'll finish somewhere in the 30's for ranking. Still hoping to bring a yellow trophy home. (crossing fingers!)
We're still having fun though.

Okay, now for some snaps!

Robot Wars

Friday, May 8, 2009

1:52 PM Friday

We arrived at the Wright State University Student Union at 9:00 am for our presentation, technical, and teamwork judging. The entire tournament has been organized with military-like precision. (gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with the airforce base that's here?) Our judging sessions were lined up to coordinate with our team alliance partners (other FLL teams) and all three sessions were done by 10:45. We stopped off at Wendy's for a quick bite and then headed back to the Nutter Center to set up for the afternoon robot practice runs.

The pit areas are reserved for team members and coaches only--which is good because it's pretty tight. It's a large space. Half of a gymnasium floor. But when you cram 60 teams with all their stuff there's not a great deal of space left over.

Most of the pits have displays which range from simple project boards to fancy arial signage supported by ballons. Most of the teams have swaps which are little souveniers like buttons. stickers, pamphlets, etc. to trade with other teams. Some teams even have a candy bowls on their tables. One team from Hawaii practically has a souvenier shop set up at their table complete with real flowers for your hair and macadamia nuts. (I've visited their table a couple times--macadamia oh yeah!)

Our team has red and blue silicone wrist bands with got robot? on one side and FIRST LEGO League on the other. We brought 600 hundred and we've gone through most of 'em.

The 60 teams are divided into what are called pods with six teams and one practice table per pod. We have a couple really good teams in our pod. One worth noting are the Cougars from OH. They have a 400pt scoring robot and did just that during one of the practice rounds. They have an incredible machine which is fun to watch--very elegant and efficient in design and function. I've been talking to their coach, Jamie, who has the heart of a teacher and has been very generous to show me and Kristen their sequence program they use to call up programs on their robot. Very advanced.

This tournament is running live practice rounds on THE competition tables to get the teams ready for tomorrow. Our first run was at 1:30 and had a decent run with a score of 290. Our second run didn't go as well and we scored a 120. Ouch. Nonetheless, at the end of the day we were 6th overall for the practice runs. I've noticed when the humidity is high our robot doesn't run as well--and it isn't. I heard other coaches complaining as well although they hadn't made the connection. Hopefully, the humidity will be lower tomorrow. If it is I would expect our scores to be higher--however I would guess everyone elses will be too.

At 4:30 the teams packed up the robots and laptops and loaded out for the day. At 5:00 we all packed the stands for the opening ceremony which included an Airforce color guard which was a nice touch. The rest of the ceremony was somewhat typical with the exception of a 60 team group photo at the end. After that we all headed to the student union for the "Engineering Extravaganza" and pasta dinner which ran until 8:30 PM.

It's been a long day with lots to do and see. Tomorrow is the robot competition. We're leaving the hotel early to arrive at the pit at 8:00 am. Our first table run is at 9:05.

Time for bed.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We're here!

All three families have arrived and are checked into the motel. Team check in for the tournament is in 20 minutes.

Update from Jake:

This morning I woke up at 4:30 AM to get on the road by 5:30 AM.......and yes we left on time!!!!! now just a 6 hour car trip to Dayton. During the trip I did some schoolwork, we cached and ate food. Just as we were about to exit we noticed that the exit was being worked on so we had to get off at the next possible exit, which meant we were in downtown Dayton which is filled with one way streets. Armed with the latest version of Google Earth and my trusty GPS Map 60CSx I was able to manually navigate to the Hotel. After checking in and putting all of the food stuff into the fridge we put our Got Robot? shirts on and headed over to the nutter center to register our team, set up our pit and meet other teams. After talking to many teams about their team, Robots, projects, and misc. facts we handed out wristbands and received swaps from other teams it was time to hop on the coach bus that would take us to the museum. After a short ride over to the museum we waited outside until the red team (we were team blue) had filed out of the IMAX theater so we could watch the "Under the Sea" movie. The movie was very cool and filled with exotic fish, sharks, sea stars and underwater snails!!! Then for 2 hours we had free roam of the museum. The museum was in chronological order from gliders all the way to mach one jet fighters. The museum consisted of 3 hangers that could have fit 3 to 4 football fields!!!! After and overview of the weekend (still at the musuem) we got back on the buses and headed back to the nutter center to get our car and drive back to the hotel. The time now is about 10:45 PM and after finishing typing this sentence I think I will fall right asleep. *yawn*


Alarm went off. Time to get the kids up and get ready to leave.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Packing for Ohio

Getting ready...

Robot? Check
Battery? Check
Laptop? Check
Presentation and gear? Check

Underwear? Oops! (better pack that too!)

We're leaving at the crack of dawn. Google maps says it's a 5-1/2 hour trip. We'll see.

There's going to be a ton of activity tomorrow after check in. Everybody's going to sleep well tomorrow night.

Friday is go-time for our judging. We'll be done by noon. Prayers and well-wishers welcome.

Will try to post and update tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

256 = 247

2 Days Until U.S. Open

This is a picture of us from our state tournament posing with our 3rd Place Champions Award. Stay tuned to see if we have anything new in our photo from the U.S. Open Championships. (crossing fingers)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tough Night

got robot? had a tough night Saturday. Sometimes we forget the little things. We get comfortable and take shortcuts. Eventually the shortcuts become routine and before we know it we've forgotten the details--all the really small stuff that can make or break you when push comes to shove.

We got lucky though. We found out before it was too late. By running competition simulations of the table run--actually leaving the room, setting up within a time constraint, remembering to double check everything before we arrive at the competition table we rediscovered all the important little details that can make the difference between a lousy score and one worthy of a high five. 

Hmmmm, kinda like life in the grown up world. 

I'm proud of these kids. They're going to do great things. Experiences like this will take them far in life.