Hey, everyone! Welcome back! As we prepare for the MSHSL State Championships, for which we have officially qualified, we’ve started to work on our post-season outreach and fundraising endeavors. Our annual demonstrations at the Minnesota State Fair and 3M’s Robots Invade the Plaza event are still a ways off, but in the meantime, we’ve been working on some (comparatively) new fundraisers. Whether you’re a member of our local community or a fan from far away, we’ve made it simple and fun to show your support for our team!
Right now, we’re reviving the Gear Sale! For those not in the know, the Gear Sale was an event that took place in December of 2018 where students (or their parents) could purchase team merchandise, with the proceeds benefitting the team going into the robot build season. Said build season is long gone, but the demand for Team 2823 merchandise prevails, so we’re re-opening the form and making it accessible to anyone and everyone! We’ve retained some of the most well-liked products, and we also added two more: the Mystery Science Theater 3000-themed team uniform from this year as well as a 10-Year Anniversary Commemorative shirt. In addition, every item in this iteration of the gear sale can be customized with the message of your choice for a surcharge of $5.00! You can check out the merchandise and place your orders here. The form will close at the end of the month, so make haste!
That’s all for now, but stay tuned! More news is to come!
Welcome back! I know it’s been a while since the last update, but we tend to underestimate how hectic competition season can be, especially when it’s intertwined with finals and such, which makes it hard to sit down and write a blog post in full. That means I have quite a bit to go over, though, so buckle up!
Our first competition of the year was the Northern Lights Regional up in Duluth. It’s part of the “Double-DECCer”, wherein two regional competitions take place in one massive convention center. Excluding the international championship events, it’s the largest and most well-attended FIRST event in the world. We tend to perform poorly at our first regional, so we went into Northern Lights with relatively low expectations, but we did better than anyone could have possibly anticipated. Thanks to some fortunate matches, some killer strategy, and the extensive drive practice we undertook before the competition, we finished the qualification rounds in fourth place overall! That meant that we got to serve as an alliance captain and select two other teams to accompany us into the playoff rounds. We selected the Henry Sibley Lightning Turtles and the Data Bits, with whose help we advanced into the semi-final rounds! Unfortunately, due in part to an incredibly formidable opposing alliance and in part to our perennial “semi-final curse”, we didn’t advance beyond the semi-finals. Regardless of that fact, we were all more than satisfied with how well we did. Here’s a full summary of our match results:
After that came the 10,000 Lakes Regional Sponsored by the Medtronic Foundation (bit of a mouthful, huh? It makes me miss the days when it was called the “Medtronic Foundation Regional” or even just “10,000 Lakes”). Still reeling from our last competition, and founding our high expectations with some more drive practice and an improved bot, we presumed that this regional would go even better. Unfortunately, some iffy matches and unfortunate malfunctions resulted in us coming out of the qualifications in rank 40. Though we didn’t get to be alliance captains, we still managed to advance into the playoffs thanks to a very gracious pick from the team ranked 7th, Armada Robotics. They had a dependable climbing mechanism and were sturdy enough to perform some good defense, making them the perfect complement to our fast but light robot. We also picked The Breck Stampede, on whom, per their signature cheer, you can’t impede. We were pretty confident in this alliance, but we would face a similar situation to that of Duluth – success in quarterfinals, facing an incredibly good alliance in semifinals, eventual loss. It wasn’t all bad, though – our team’s long-running inside joke about “sending it”, the tactic of sending the robot careening to the second climb level named after a viral snowmobiling sensation, finally came to fruition. To our collective excitement, we successfully “sent it” in multiple playoff matches!
(We sent it in the match that the second video corresponds to, but, oddly, it cuts out before you can actually see it happen. You’re going to have to trust me on this one.)
So, anyway, all of that leads me to good news and bad news. The bad news is, unless we receive a wild card that grants us entry to the Detroit international competition (which is looking unlikely at the moment), we won’t be eligible for any more official FIRST events this year. The good news is, due to our unprecedentedly good performance at our first regional, we’ll be competing at the MSHSL Robotics State Competition in May! A bit of context: for robotics to be considered a sport in the state of Minnesota, there must be a State Championship, which is why this particular event exists. (Some states have similar events, but most don’t, as it’s not required by FIRST). Entry into this event is based on the amount of “district points” a team receives at their first competition, which are determined by rank, performance, and the awards a team wins. Normally, we don’t get all that many, but ranking fourth has its perks! In other words, the 2019 season isn’t quite over for us just yet!
As always, you can keep up with the Automatons via Twitter. There are more updates to come, so stay tuned!
Hello again, Automatons fans! Thank you for continuing to support the team and keep up with what we’re up to.
Two days ago was “stop build day”, more commonly known among FIRST participants as “bag day”. It’s the day when we have to cease all work on the robot and store it in a plastic bag until our first regional competition – or it was, anyway. This past bag day was actually the last one FIRST is ever going to enforce; come next year, teams can continue working on their robots indefinitely. It’s sad to see bag day go, but we made the best of what we hope to be our last late-night robot building session. To quote our coach, this year’s ‘bot is “one of the most functional robots we’ve ever bagged”. The jury’s still out on its name, but rest assured we’ll come up with something sooner or later.
In other news, the business team has been hard at work, too – our media guy made a pretty hilarious parody of the Destination: Deep Space game announcement. It’s an homage to the “Pitch Meeting” YouTube series, and it was written, directed, and performed entirely by him. Check it out below:
That’s all for now! See you at the Northern Lights regional on March 7th!
Hello, everyone! Thanks for your continued support, because build season is finally here!
Last Saturday was Kickoff – for those not in the know, Kickoff is the day that we FIRST Robotics teams get our yearly challenge. It’s a pretty big event in the FIRST community, since it gives way to build season, which is six weeks of labor-intensive planning, building, and testing!
This year’s challenge is called Destination: Deep Space, sponsored by the Boeing company. The game animation, which details how gameplay works, is as follows:
Basically, robots must be capable of carrying at least one of two objects, the “hatch panel” (donut-shaped object with velcro) and the “cargo” (kickball), and placing them in succession onto those rocket-shaped structures to ensure that cargo is securely “stored” on these ships. This year’s game also presents a new challenge; instead of Autonomous mode, where robots must run on preemptively programmed code, Deep Space has Sandstorm mode, where robots can be driven as usual but the drivers’ vision of the field is obscured. Robots also must find a way to climb onto elevated platforms at the end of the match without the help of any velcro or support bars. After Kickoff, we had a very productive strategy session, and we’ve already started on building the robot. We can’t wait to show it to you!
In the meantime, be sure to check our Twitter for updates (and memes).
Hello again! Now that we’re back from summer and have settled into our school routine once more, we’ve been working hard and making sure that we’re prepared for the next competition season, as well as performing outreach in our community and engaging with the school’s population. Here’s a quick rundown of some significant projects we’ve been busy with:
On September 22, we ran a carwash out of Highland Park Senior High’s parking lot, spending the better part of the day cleaning cars in a slight Autumnal chill that seemed a lot colder at the time. It was a successful endeavor – we raised hundreds of dollars and didn’t have a single unsatisfied customer!
Our beloved Executive Board has arranged a fun challenge for our team during the preseason that we’ve embraced to the fullest extent. Our team has been split into two pseudo-teams competing to build a KanJam robot, one named the Meerkat Fish and one TBD. We’re trying not to get too competitive, since we want to make sure we set a good example of Gracious Professionalism for the rookies.
Last Saturday, a whopping 26 members of our team contributed their time and effort to the Monster Dash, a race through Team Ortho where runners are not only allowed, but encouraged, to run in costume, making it an enjoyable experience for both them and us.
While we’ve had our share of major team events already, we’ve still got something big coming up: Give to the Max! It’s a state-wide fundraising event benefiting nonprofit organizations like us that takes place on November 15th. This year, we’re doing something a bit new: incentives! For a 25$ or larger donation, you’ll receive an HP Robotics logo sticker; for $100 and up, a button and notepad, and for $300 and up, a tour of our workspace. You can donate through our GiveMN link at any time, but these gifts are exclusive to GTTM, so mark your calendars!
That’s all for now, be sure to follow us on social media!