ROBOTICS TEAM 456 • Wrapping up production

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, February 16, 2014


As the six-week build season nears an end, the team starts wrapping up production of the competition robot.

Last week Jacob Kitchens, the team robot captain, completed the wiring of the practice robot. With that experience, he spent this week making sure the competition robot’s wiring looked clean and professional. His next goal is making the pneumatic tubing that runs between the compressor and eight air tanks look just as beautiful.
Cameras for the vision tracking system were mounted and tested this past weekend. Time was also spent making sure the robot was safe. A lock mechanism was mounted onto the ball launcher in order to make sure that there will not be an accidental release of energy.
We also began making bumpers for the robot. Each team is required to have bumpers made out of cloth, wood, and pool noodles. The bumpers are required to be at least 3-inches above the ground, but at most 10-inches off the ground. This helps protect other robots and the robot itself from severe casualties during competition.

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The programming team focused hard on their goals for this week. The gyro is working successfully along with the field-oriented drive system. This means that the robot will know where it is located upon the field and the robot will stay in the same directional orientation throughout the match. Now they are focusing on the operating system for the robot’s ball collection mechanism.
The vision team is lighting up! This week the vision team worked on programming the LED lights that will be on the robot. These lights will symbolize the different stages of the match. At the beginning of the match the lights will be pulsing the alliance color, either red or blue. During match play, the lights will either be blinking or signaling the orientation and distance of the ball in relation to the robot. The post-match lights will be displaying a sequence of red, white, and blue. Next week the programmers will spend time cleaning up the ball tracking code and making it run more efficiently.

Our team takes safety very seriously. Before each season, every member is required to go through safety training. At competition, we have won the Industrial safety award 7 times over the past 6 years. Our team’s mascot is even safety oriented. His name is Safety Nut and there is a small comic series about him on our website at At our competitions, we have two elementary age boys dress up as the Safety Nut. The boys, whose older siblings are on the team, love to make sure everyone is safe, and hand out prizes to those who are safe.

The robotics column is a collaboration between team members Kelcey McMaster, Harrison Hunter, Katie Martin and Mary Elizabeth Ballard.