Booting Up (2018 Week 1)

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This first week of the FIRST POWER UP season has been our most productive Week 1 yet. After our strategy decisions during Kickoff weekend, our entire team went to work to build the robot, draft awards submissions, and prepare for upcoming events.


The engineering team is hard at work to complete our robot on a shorter timeline than previous seasons. During our strategy meeting last weekend, the team decided to have the robot chassis fully assembled, wired, and programmed by the end of Week 2. Currently, the chassis parts have been designed, machined, and are now being assembled.

Madeleine Schwitters, engineering team lead, discovered that implementing an ambitious schedule encourages members to give their best effort, effectively creating a productive work environment. She has restarted the use of Scrum project management, organizing the multitude of tasks required to build the robot.

Meanwhile, the engineering team members were divided into groups to prototype necessary components for the game. Three groups were formed, respectively working on the collector, lift, and climber. Cormac Wolf, a member working on the collector group, recognized the importance of the prototype to be able to collect Power Cubes in multiple orientations during his testing.


Nathan Judd, lead of electrical engineering, started training inexperienced students on basic procedures like soldering and wiring. He used Christmas Tree-shaped substrates for students to practice soldering transistors, capacitors, and resistors. The electrical team also researched various wiring methods to prepare for connecting robot components later in the build season.


The software team is preparing to connect robot components together. Mentor Brian King has been teaching inexperienced members on basic set-up to start programming and testing the robot. James Fu, a rookie member, learned how to set-up his laptop to run the Driver Station and how to connect it to the roboRIO robot controller. Through this, the software team has tested various components like a LIDAR sensor and programmed a mock chassis.


Ruth Buck, this season’s safety captain, has not only been making sure all members are staying safe in the robotics lab, but also finding ways to improve our safety. Prior to the start of build season, she organized a CPR training meeting so all team members are prepared to help in an emergency situation. Ruth has also been researching ways to improve our Safety Guide and safety stations within the lab.


The Business team has started awards submissions and are preparing for the Fifth Week Unveiling Event hosted at our school. Although we are not in as tight a schedule as the engineering team, the business team task list is rapidly growing as we prepare for our competitions.


Our approach to the Chairman’s award has changed this season. The Chairman’s team has decided that this season we will replace the “Bridging the Gaps” slogan used since 2016. They are currently working with a focused group of team members to help form the new message for the executive summaries, essay, video, and overall team mission this season.


A group of team members is working to edit the team’s Business Plan and Entrepreneurship award submission this season. We are working to ensure the Business Plan and submission contain the most up-to-date information for this season.

Unveiling Event

Event planning for this event requires multiple hands from different areas of the Business team. We have completed a list of volunteers and roles required to run and market the event. We are making efforts to open the event to teams outside of Washington State, including international teams.


In addition to training the Graphic Design and Website team necessary software like Adobe Illustrator and WordPress, we are exploring new methods to convey information about our team. The Graphic Design team completed the t-shirt design for this season and is working on possible concepts for an updated brochure.

Stay up to date on what we are doing by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

2018 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff – FIRST POWER UP

By | 2018 News

FIRST POWER UP Kickoff Weekend

Saturday 1/6/18

Finally, the day has arrived. The FRC kickoff event. Today is the day that we discovered what the teaser video back on September 14, 2017, was all about. Today is also the day that kicks off the FRC build season for the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition.

The day started off with getting up early and heading to Mountlake Terrace High School for the official kickoff. I love this event. Many of the teams in my local area come together and we all get to catch up, enjoy the kickoff event and learn basically what our lives will revolve around for the next six weeks until we have to bag and tag our robots before the competitions begin. After the kickoff event, all of the CyberKnights headed back to school and began our brainstorming session to begin preparations for the robot that my team will build this season. This made for a long day but one that everyone on the team really looks forward to and enjoys. This is FRC and the time and effort that we all put forth over the next few months is rewarded with friendship, awesome teamwork, and an amazing robot. As always, our main theme is, “gracious professionalism.” I will stop here for now and let you enjoy the kickoff video.


Sunday 1/7/18

On Sunday, we got together with our friends from Apex Robotics to share our initial ideas and do some additional brainstorming. Later in the afternoon, we played a mock game with people playing the robots. It was so much fun! We tried role-playing many different scenarios to see if we could uncover some strategies we hadn’t yet considered. Here is a quick video of the auto period of our first “game”. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun and we also added some ground rules along the way.


Thank you Apex Robotics for such a fun day!

We will keep you updated throughout the season and bring you along with us during the FIRST POWER UP 2018 Season.

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.