Pick-Up Lines (of code)

It was an exciting, jam-packed day at the Botcave today and the atmosphere was filled with much eagerness, hope, and ideas!

The Createbot has its first pick-up of the season

The software team arrived at the Botcave with a group mentality and a desire to win. With the arm for the Create coming together slowly but surely, the software team donned the challenge of perfecting both the functionality and the practicality of the claw. The entire day was set aside for working out problems in the programming and to make the lines of code faster and more efficient. As of today, the arm is very cumbersome due to its length, weight, and programming. For this to work well, or at all, the entire team will have to work together, think together, and brainstorm together more than they ever have before.

The Legobot successfully finding, picking up, and scoring with the green tribbles

The software team, while vigorously working on the arm, also devoted a good amount of manpower and time to the Legobot and the tribbles. After achieving the milestone of being able to consistently pick up the organic samples (green tribbles), the main objective for the software team working on the Legobot today was to repeat the process, and be able to place/throw the tribbles in the scoring area to maximize points.


The hardware team working to straighten out the Create arm

The hardware team’s main goal for the day was to make the Create arm lighter and straighter so that the robot would have to spend less time and power to lift and utilize it in the competition. Making the arm straighter would also make the programming job much easier – being that they would no longer have to account for the settling time of the swaying arm or the lean of the arm to one side or the other.

Progress was slow, yet steady in the Botcave today. All the teams accomplished all, or most of what they set out to do and in the end came out feeling proud and more ready than ever to compete in a few short weeks. The Createbot, that started the day not being able to grab much of anything, ended the day being able to continuously pick up the PVC boosters and move with them. The Legobot team succeeded in its goals of being able to locate, pick up, hold on to, and drop the green tribbles in the scoring box. Hardware was able to build a lighter and straighter arm for the Createbot, and a funnel or cone shaped mechanism to direct it right in front of the PVC poles, or “launch pads”.

Of course none of this would be possible without the incredible leadership of our mentors, not to mention the time and effort they have invested in this Society. They have brainstormed ideas alongside us but stepped back when appropriate, given us inspiration when the going seems tough, and provided us with much appreciated (and delicious!) food every day at the Cave.


In addition to a thrilling game of Geode tennis, many an interesting thing could be heard throughout the Cave today as certain music was blared, food served, and goals accomplished:

“Is that Taylor Swift? I’m not sure how I feel about that…”

“I feel like 2 times Pi is a good time!”

“No! Please no! No YOLO!”

“There’s one Thin Mint left…want to fight for it?’

“You want software to do hardware…?”

“I’m like a computer…what’s that word…GURU!”

“Her name? Her name is Girl Without A Name!”

“Software always makes the biggest mistakes, like dropping the robot.”

“They only made one Girl Scout cookie that was ever good – the Trefoils. Nobody liked them but me so I always got to eat them all.”

“Alright, that [servo] will hold for a week or three.”

“Yes, we are going to drop the tribble and then fireworks are going to shoot out of the back of the robot!”

“It’s hardware’s fault. That’s software’s motto.”

“No, Jack doesn’t have a name.”

“I showed up a whole hour late because I forgot about the clocks changing, not because I’m lazy or anything.”


Starting Off a New Season

The team has begun to brainstorm ideas of how to accomplish the daunting task of both picking up the PVC “boosters” and being able sort through the differently colored tribbles to maximize points. The hardware team is focused on building a 30 inch arm to assemble the “boosters” on the support poles, and building claws for the Createbot (Create)  to grip the boosters.

20130224_145831Our goal is to be able to base off of last years design and create an efficient, yet subtle claw to be able to both pick up, and hold the colored PVC pipes.”  ~Miles

The software team is continuing to teach our new team members how to program the cameras so that they can achieve the appropriate position in relation the the object desired (the differently colored tribbles).

We are working on how to code the cameras. We are attempting to be able to discern between the green and the orange tribbles to maximize points.” ~Jack

Our team leader, Lauren, has continued to provide us with both inspiration and encouragement since day 1. She feels that this is one of the best teams so far and that we have a great mix of different teens and school. Although we set an ambitious goal for this year’s Botball, her leadership will definitely shine through and lead us for a great season.