2017 News

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

By | 2017 News

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.

Climbing to the Finish (Week 6)

By | 2017 News

Time flies when you’re in build season! With Bag-and-Tag looming just around the corner, our engineers are taking advantage of the three day weekend as they test how much physical and mental work they can endure. Excitement and stress are in the air as our engineers prepare, plan, and execute on our final tasks. On the other hand, the business team has been racing against award submission deadlines, from Chairmans to the Entrepreneurship Award. The more award submissions completed, the business team gradually begins to turn their attention to competition season as we improve our pit’s poster designs and work on storefront training.

From Saturday to Monday, members from both our Engineering and Business team are heading down to Pacific Science Center to participate in Engineer IT! Weekend. Here, we are representing Unified Robotics as we showcase the different robots to the public. This is a great opportunity for our Storefront members, as the event goes hand-in-hand with the Communication Workshop our teammates attended at the Pacific Science Center.

The Pacific Science Center Public Supervisor, Cat Scharon, talked to us about how to identify your audience and engage them. The lessons we learned from this workshop can be applied to Engineer IT! And also our FRC competitions.

With just 3 days until Bag-and-Tag, and 12 days until our first competition meet, the CyberKnights are giving their last spurt of effort as we climb to the finish.

Unveiling the End (Week 5)

By | 2017 News

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!


Shooting for the Finish Line (Week 4)

By | 2017 News

This week, our team was busy at work with build season coming to an end. Both the business and engineering team have been working hard on multiple tasks. The engineering team worked on our robot and accomplished much concerning the robot’s design and mechanisms. The business team was busy planning our annual Unveiling Event and Chairman’s essay. Despite the plentiful tasks needing to be done, we progressed at a steady pace and accomplished much this week.

On the Engineering side of the team, we finished our robot’s CAD. We had two prototypes for our shooter, and this week we made the final decision on which one we would put on the robot. Along with our shooter, we finalized our robot’s mechanisms for storing fuel and the gear. This week the software team started developing our final robot architecture.

This weekend we are looking forward to cutting metal!

The business team’s upcoming outreach event is our annual Unveiling Event, which is open to everyone in the FRC community. At this event, all FRC teams that join us can mingle, showcase their work-in-progress robot, share ideas and get advice from fellow teams. The event will be held at our school on February 10th. More information can be accessed through our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. We hope to see you there!

Another business project that kept us busy this week was our Chairman’s submission. We are close to finalizing our plan on how to best tell our team’s ongoing story.

Spinning our Gears (Week 3)

By | 2017 News

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.


Gathering Fuel (Week 2)

By | 2017 News

We are now two weeks into build season, as the long hours and heavy workloads have yet to wear down our team members. The rush of adrenaline that comes with build season has motivated both our engineering and business students to work hard and give their full effort. Our team has accomplished two of our outreach events this past week: FIRST Day, and our constant visits to Ronald McDonald House.

At FIRST Day, we joined 41 other FIRST Washington teams in Olympia to talk to our state senators and representatives with the goal of having a FIRST team in every school of our districts. What a fun day of rallying, socializing, and representing! On Wednesday, four of our students went to the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle to plan STEM related activities with young children. This past week, the activity was paper airplanes! Our team loves participating in outreach, as they get to meet new people and make connections.

The business team has also worked on sponsorships, as we received an in-kind donation from Starbucks: Hot Chocolate K-cups and ground coffee beans. No one needs as much coffee and caffeine as an FRC team! We have also begun planning for competition through scouting and public relations, with training starting immediately. We want to make sure our new members are equipped with the knowledge they need during competition season.

Our engineering team is doing well in prototyping, as they split into groups to focus on different mechanisms, while the design team is focusing on finishing up on CAD drawings.

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Prepare to Take Flight! (Week 1)

By | 2017 News

Gears started turning in FIRST® students’ minds after seeing the FIRST STEAMWORKSSM reveal. After seeing the game at Mountlake Terrace High School, our team broke up into several groups, as the students interested in business went to the Business Round Table and students interested in engineering went to analyze the game and read the Game Manual.

Once the breakout sessions were finished, all of our team members gathered back at King’s High School in order to further analyze and determine our game strategy. We wanted to know how we could get the most points possible with the lowest cycle time.

Every year, we focus on the what, not the how. Once everyone on our team was on the same page about the strategy and requirements we wanted for our robot, our whole team broke into eight small teams. Each small team composed of both engineering and business students, to get every team member’s inputs about the robot. Within each team, the students then came up with the different mechanisms for the robot and presented their ideas in front of the rest of the team and the mentors. Our design team took these ideas into consideration, and engineering students were split up into “tiger teams” to focus on different aspects of the robot as business students started focusing on the non-engineering aspects of our team such as award submissions.

We are working on planning for this season’s upcoming events.

  • We plan on attending the 2017 FIRST Day on January 16. We will be meeting with several politicians to discuss FIRST and the impact we have received from the program.
  • On January 26, we are hosting a Chairman’s Workshop for teams interested in developing their stories in preparation for their Chairman’s Award submission. More info coming soon.
  • On February 10, we are hosting our annual Unveiling ceremony, where we invite all the teams to come and share what they have accomplished so far. We would love to see you all there!