Hard at Work

computer - oohToday is an extremely busy Sunday.


Ben is trying to work, but he can’t remember what he’s actually supposed to be doing because we have distracted him the entire time. I’m here with Kevin and Matt, and since they are hardware guys, they don’t have much left to do except when we have emergencies. So we went to the Alienware website and built the most expensive computer we possibly could: $15,769. It has six monitors, three video cards, and a 1200-watt power supply. Personally, I’d rather have a car than a ridiculously expensive computer.

Oh wait… we hadn’t gotten to the page of games. Of course, we need all the games… and all the accessories. Headphones, external hard drives (our two 120GB internal hard drives weren’t enough), alienware visor and t-shirts, limited edition chronograph watch, 4 gaming controllers (including a flight joystick and steering wheel), and of course the 28-in-1 card reader with Bluetooth. So now our grand total is $20,976.

hardware guys without jobs to doWhile we were being useful, we tested the IR on the ET sensors on the Legobots. We went outside (yes! we left the botcave!) and set up an example bridge to see if natural light would flood the IR sensors. And although the immense amount of natural light outside on a very sunny day completely blinded the tophat sensors, we should be okay with skylights or other such light interference because of our three-sensor system. As long as the tophat can differentiate between black and white enough to find the tape, we’ll be fine, and the ET sensor measures distance to ensure we don’t fall off the bridge. So that’s one worry to cross off the list!

Ben has now remembered what he’s supposed to be doing: he’s trying to center on the green tribble that’s on top of the blue cup. So as we sit here coming up with bogus computer orders, Ben is actually making progress on the robots. Yay Ben!

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.

Increased Intensity

The team has made the big decision: We’re going to Nationals!

Last Friday, we had a meeting to discuss our future plans. Nationals begin July 8, so we have about a month to prepare our robots for whatever new tricks we want them to do. The team was presented with two options: code an entire new routine, or work towards evolution. We unanimously voted for evolution, then made a list of what we would change to optimize our robots. Equipped with popcorn, we relived the competition and watched the videos of every round, taking notes along the way. With a bunch of suggestions, we’re seeing which ones will be most worthwhile to implement for the greatest increase in points.

What’s the evolved form of a Create?

Basically, once we’ve hit Oklahoma, we won’t be easily forgotten.