Week 1- Almost Done!

Great start to the new Botball season! Last weekend the Dead Robot Society headed up to University of Maryland, College Park to assist returning teams and new teams around the D.C. area get prepared for this season. Working with people new to the world of robotics has its challenges, but at the same time is tons of fun!

workshop explaining game board


Quiet week in the Botcave due to the foot of snow covering Northern Virginia. The Hardware team got right to work on trying to design parts for our robots. Software helped out our mentors in getting the computers updated and working to the best of their ability, along with helping the hardware team build.

opened cpus


Although the seniors from last year have been greatly missed, several new members have joined and the Dead Robot Society is looking forward to experiencing another great competition this year at Globals in Los Angeles!


Practice Makes Perfect!!!

The robots were running all day long at the bot cave today. Everyone was watching the robots make their test runs today on the game table. Software and hardware have been hard at work writing program and building movable parts.Today all the hard work was put to the test as the software was entered on the CBC and the program was run. Everyone stopped and turned to the game board to watch the robots run. After the run we all realized the hard work had gotten us pretty far but that we still have a lot of work to do.

update from hardware

Hardware continues to work hard to make new parts to use on the robots. As hardware continues to works our robots continue to improve. Although today we seemed to have a lack of people to work on our hardware? Makes me wonder where are our hardware people at??? It is kind of quiet around here without hardware, you can always tell when they are not here because there is a weird silence (like now). Come back hardware who said you were done!!!


update from software

Software continues to make great progress in finding methods to earn points on the game board. Software was present today unlike our slacking hardware (just kidding). Today software was working so hard I could not believe that it was possible to write code that fast. All I have to say is WOW! Good job guys keep up the great work! I am seeing to major progress.

All of the robots look great and are starting to look ready for competitions. Not that I know much I’m only outreach but they look ready to me. The bot cave has been very busy lately and many people from the teams have been coming in to work. Everyone has gotten a lot done these past few weeks and we are working towards our well known strong robots. We hope to come out of the competitions with success. We are all so proud of all the teams commitment and hard work.



Stress Rehersal

No typo, I mean stress.

Every year on the Thursday before regionals, the team comes to the BotCave for something Mr. Gras calls “stress rehersal”. During this, whoever will be at the table running the robots at regionals, this year that’s Allison and Tucker, go through test runs while the rest of the team bothers them in any way possible. This includes playing loud music, flashing lights, shouting, and Allison’s personal favorite, poking. Stress rehersal is a really fun night for everyone who isn’t running the robots. In fact, it’s even kind of fun for them.

Allison attempting to block us out. Her efforts were futile.
Allison attempting to block us out. Her efforts were futile.

The parents can come to watch and or participate in stress rehersal as well. Some parents, i.e. Mr. Grasmeder, participate more zealously than others. Stress rehersal is rather entertaining for all who have the pleasure of viewing it. If you get a chance you should definitely come check it out. I asked Mr. Gras if there’d be another stress rehersal before globals and his response, which was pretty much what I expected, was “If I’m still breathing.” Apparently it was utterly ridiculous that I even asked. I’m glad we’ll have another one. Because stress rehersal, while it is, how should I put this… stressful, it’s also a lot of fun for the whole team. It’s something you can participate in without any knowledge of code writing or hardware, so I give it four out of four stars and two big thumbs up.

Aren't Tucker's earmuffs cute? He wore them so he couldn't hear the whistle Mr. Gras was blowing.
Aren't Tucker's earmuffs cute? He wore them so he couldn't hear the whistle Mr. Gras was blowing.

Tim Burns His Mouth

Quote of the night:

Tim: “Fail due to a catch on a cup.”

Anthony: “What? Ketchup?”

intense guitar heroAnother highlight was the steady arrival of Bagel Bites. Mrs. Newcastle would enter the Botcave with the latest batch, and Hannah would tiptoe over to grab a few but she wasn’t very sneaky. So everyone else would notice, crowd around, and inevitably add a few bagel bites to his plate. But Tim feels that plates are unnecessary, so he just popped one into his mouth. Granted, this is an oven-fresh bagel bite. So we all got to witness Tim with his mouth wide open and full of bagel bite as his eyes watered and he yelled because of his steadily burning tongue.

kevin and anthony working hardThen, of course, another tray of bagel bites arrives, and we all add some to our plates. But look! Tim has not learned. And the affair repeats itself.

We are continuing to work on the things that we wanted to change before Nationals. Ben is trying to get the Legobot across the bridge and mess up the other side as best we can, while also deploying the umbrellas. So far, his new code will put us about 15 points ahead of what we have previously gotten. But the other half of the bridge, as of now, is not going down anymore; we don’t think we’re going to try to get the Create across, since it only very rarely made it. Legobot will be in charge of the sabotage, while the Create will block anyone who tries to get to our side.

Anthony is trying to build a more sophisticated way of picking up a cup. It looks pretty tricky, but maybe it will work even better than the original claw.

Hannah is working with Legobot as well, in a different piece of its routine. She is trying to get it to see the green tribble on top of the blue cup so that we can aim towards it when we’re on their side and push it into their shelter.

Blender Party!

We’re still working with the Create; code freeze, apparently, has been thawed. It’s doing better; it’s been grabbing the first cup and doing pretty well at getting the Tribble piles. Hardware needed to fix the claw because the top finger isn’t quite grabbing the Tribble on the top of the pile. To quote Liam, “HARDWARE!”

Seeding Round 1: 45 points.. our worst so far. Legobot didn’t make it back across the bridge with the Tribbles from the other side, so it just drove into the wall for awhile. The Create tried to go across the bridge slanted; that didn’t work out so well as usual so it ended up floating into space.

Seeding Round 2: 118! Much better! The Legobot did its routine perfectly this time: no circle at the beginning, it knocked the bridge down instantly and got across, then got back across with all of its green tribbles. The Create still isn’t done being programmed, but hopefully we’ll be done by tomorrow…

Head-to-Head Round 1: 57 points; we never made it over to their side, so this is assuming the other team didn’t gain any points. Project X failed to deploy and just got stuck in the Legobot, but we still got our three solar sails over the edge so that was nice! But with Project X stuck on us, we were too crooked to get across the bridge.

Head-to-Head Round 2: 86 points! Second best head-to-head score so far! Project X deployed beautifully, but it actually interfered with Legobot’s board-crossing ability. This score was taken after Mr. Gras fixed Legobot and got it back on track; had it been a real round, we would have only had 71 (because we wouldn’t have made the 15 points to get to their side).

While we were blender partying, Benjin was hard at work on the Create. Great job Benjin! Now it’s time to pack everything up carefully and nicely so we’ll be all ready tomorrow! Who’s excited??