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Eneya Kwesele

And We’re Off! (2017 West Valley, Mount Vernon, and Glacier Peak)

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Three competitions in three weeks. The CyberKnights put in our hard work and dedication with a favorable outcome. Participating in district meets at West Valley, Mount Vernon, and Glacier Peak, we have gained new insights to further our competition at Cheney, WA.

We began our journey with our first district event in West Valley, standing out in the middle of the pits, public relations busied themselves with actively talking to teams and judges. On the engineering side, our robot worked fiercely and competitively. However, due to scarce practice time, The CyberKnights ranked 22nd out of the 33 teams participating in the West Valley meet. We were the 2nd pick of the 8th alliance.

Our spirits were lifted during the awards ceremony when we found out that Madeleine Schwitters, a member of the CyberKnights, advanced as a semi-finalist for the FIRST Dean’s List Award. This award is given in an effort to recognize the leadership and dedications of FIRST‘s most outstanding students. Madeleine will now go on to compete in the Cheney district meet to determine if she will be the Dean’s List Finalist. Following Madeleine’s success, we received the Quality Award, which celebrates the robot that best exemplifies its quality machinery in its concepts and fabrication.

Throughout our this meet we were met with some challenges. 75% of our public relations team were new to FIRST, and with the hectic dynamic of bustling pits and cheering crowds, it was hard to adapt. Despite this roadblock, we were still able to spread our team’s message of bridging the gaps in STEM education. Drive practice by our first meet was limited so we took advantage of the lone weekend between competitions to improve on our robot, allowing us to up our game at Mount Vernon, our next meet.

At our second district meet, Mount Vernon, our robot picked up its pace with a shorter climb time and a higher accuracy with shooting fuel.  Our improvements allowed us to advance 9th out of 25 teams in our rankings. Within our public relations team, we saw massive improvements with speaking to judges and connecting with other teams. Consequently, we were able to eloquently articulate our passion for spreading STEM throughout our community. As a result, we were gifted with red ribbons exclaiming the title of ” Engineering Inspiration Winner”. This award celebrated the team that best demonstrates appreciation for engineering within their community.

With two meets under our belt, we had high expectations to improve our competitive streak. We kicked off our final district meet at Glacier Peak high school with a tailgating breakfast hosted by CPR. Afterward, we entered the competitive atmosphere and gave it our all. Placing 3rd out of 40 teams as alliance captain with CPR 3663 and Aluminati 5495, we successfully reached the top. We also hosted a Unified Robotics conference with 24 attendees outside of our team in a casual setting, informing them about our widespread outreach in bringing robotics to students special needs. Our contact list for Unified Robotics grew tremendously, sparking hope for the continued growth of our program in upcoming seasons. To culminate our last district meet, we were awarded the Industrial Design Award which celebrates a robot that functions to effectively address the game challenge.

Unveiling the End (Week 5)

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One week left. It is now crunch time, as our engineering lab is full of bodies rushing around, racing against time. The business team already experienced their own Bag-N-Tag with the Chairman’s Essay and the Executive Summaries, staying up until 2AM Wednesday night. Nonetheless, we successfully submitted our essay and Executive Summaries on time. We also hosted our 4th Annual Unveiling Ceremony. On the engineering team, we have completed all our desired goals in terms of the robot’s design and mechanisms are progressing along greatly. We can’t wait to battle our robots alongside others in March!

Revealing our robot and CAD drawings yesterday at our Unveiling event, we showcased a completed chassis with the electrical and the manufacturing components (collector and hopper) finalized as well. Currently, we are improving our shooter and programming on our drive train. We hope that before Bag-N-Tag (February 21st), we are able to test our robot on a field that will mimic the field during competition.

The business team had to work very hard this week. While meeting the deadline for our Chairman’s submission of both the essay and Executive Summaries, we had to plan and coordinate our annual Unveiling Event. With ten teams and over 120 people attending, we were able to see various’ teams robots or CAD designs over a spaghetti dinner. Special features included videos robot reveals from Team 6520 GART from Vietnam, Team 4590 GreenBlitz from Israel, and Team 4915 Spartronics from Bainbridge Island who were unable to attend. A big thanks to everyone that participated in this event!

 

Spinning our Gears (Week 3)

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Now into Week 3 of the build season, both the engineering and the business teams have a lot on their plates, so much so, that our gears can’t stop spinning. Our team has spent long nights hunched over computers or iterating on our prototypesLuckily we have been able to survive thanks to our in-kind donations from Starbucks, as we binge drink hot chocolate and coffee. Nonetheless we are still putting in 110% because bag-n-tag is less then 30 days away! 

Our engineering teams are now finalizing their prototypes as they split into groups focusing on different mechanisms. They split up into two groups with one purpose: finding out who had created the better shooter for our robot.  This week we are  finalizing and comparing the shooters to find out which one will makes it on our robot!

Our CAD teams are busy developing technical illustrations for the climber, chassis, fuel feeder, gear collection, and the gear delivery.

Our software team has begun programming for the autonomous period of the game,  in which it is designed  to complete a task without the help of human interaction for the first fifteen seconds of the match.

On the business team we have finalized our business plan and over the weekend our Chairman’s team had a sleepover (in which we actually didn’t sleep) for team bonding and a mission to refresh the Cyberknights‘ story! Our Chairmen’s team are vigorously working on the Chairman’s essay and our executive summaries in hopes that we really get across who we are as CyberKnights.