News Archive 2011

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Archive of News Articles from 2011

Andrew W receives team 1640's Porter Technology Scholarship

Andrew W was awarded the team's Porter Technology Scholarship. The scholarship covers one year's fundraising/participation fee and also provides $50 credit towards team-related travel expenses. Andrew is a senior who joined the team for the 2010 season. Andrew currently serves as Team Secretary.

This Porter Technology Scholarship is made possible through a generous grant from the Horvath Family.

Siri Maley earns Tau Beta Pi membership

FRC Team 1640 mentor and alumna Siri Maley recently earned membership in Penn State’s chapter of Tau Beta Pi. Tau Beta Pi is the oldest, most prestigious and most exclusive engineering honor society in America, second only to Phi Beta Kappa in terms of all American collegiate honor societies. College juniors must be in the top-1/8th of their academic class as well as demonstrate outstanding leadership, advanced scholarship, and dedication to ethical service in order to earn a chance of election. Well done, Siri!

Siri was a student member of Team 1640 from 2007 - 2009, serving as Captain for the last two years. In 2010, as a student at Penn State's Honors College, Siri continues to serve the team as a mentor.

Michael meets up with Dean Kamen at the University of Virginia

Michael & Dean Kamen at the University of Virginia
18-November-2011. FRC Team 1640 Programming Lead Michael M had the opportunity to meet FIRST founder Dean Kamen at an event hosted by the University of Virginia, where Dean signed Mike's book, The New Cool.

Ramp Riot 12-November-2011

Due to a late drop-out, FRC Team 1640 had the opportunity to field two robots at Ramp Riot. DEWBOT VII Prime, our competition robot was fielded under the 1640 number by our first drive team. Deux entered the competition under the nom de guerre 1641 operated by drive-team trainees, giving them invaluable competition driving experience. We also ran two pits, providing training in this area as well.

This is the first time Sab-BOT-age had ever run two robots in a competition and thanks go out to all those who worked so hard to bring Deux from arm-less engineering test bed up to competition condition in the space of one short week.

1640 was selected by the 3rd alliance, comprising teams 103 (Cybersonics) and 365 (Miracle Workerz). A terrific alliance. We won the quarterfinals and our first semifinal match. Alas, 1640's minibot deployment was unreliable throughout the day and 103 broke down in the 2nd semifinal match. As a result of these two factors, our alliance was defeated by the 1st alliance (2016, 222, 1403), who went on to become champions.

By a bizzare twist, 1641 was brought into the finals as a replacement robot for 2607. We lost, but ended up as Ramp Riot Finalist.

1640 has participated in Ramp Riot every year since the team's inception, making this our 7th Ramp Riot.

VEXMEN participated in the Girls in Gear program at Ramp Riot.

Girls in Gear at Ramp Riot 12-November-2011

Team 341 held the fourth annual Girls in Gear©, a Girl Scout STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education program, at Ramp Riot. There were six stations set up at Girls in Gear©, including FRC robot driving, FRC robot parts, observing the FRC and FTC competitions, a hands on driving demonstration by the VEXMEN and STEMRobotics, and an area where girls had the chance to talk to women in STEM careers.

The driving demonstration had four robots moving small soccer balls into scoring zones by the Girl Scout drivers. Each driver got to participate in the 4 minute matches on the 8' x 8' field. Most of the scouts were Daisy's (K-3) they drove with the skill and intensity of the bigger FRC drivers.

Our second station was a look at different drive trains, and the scouts got to drive a very cool X shaped omni drive, and a legged walking robot.

The final station was a demo of a robotic head "Gir" from the cartoon Invader Zim. The head has multicolor eyes that change with what Gir says. Clips from the show were recorded and put on a storage card. The entire setup is driven by a small microprocessor, similar to what is used in the VEX competitions.

A great day for both the scouts and the VEXMEN, looking forward to seeing these girls in a few years building their own robots.

Julie Bachmann Kulik receives ASME Old Guard Early Career Award

Julie Bachmann Kulik, mechanical engineer, WorleyParsons Group (Reading, Pa.), recieves this award for inspiring talented students to create innovative solutions to complex problems as a FIRST Robotics Competition mentor; for founding ASME’s Philadelphia Young Engineers, which encourages aspiring engineers to return to ASME through networking; and for service to ASME through numerous local and national positions.

Julie has served as a Team 1640 mentor since 2006. Congradulations!

Boeing Ridley Park Plant Tour - 5-November-2011

Team 1640 Boeing gate.jpg
FRC Team 1640 toured Boeing's Ridley Park helicopter plant, together with teams 341, 365 & 486. The V-22 Osprey and CH-47 Chinook assembly lines were visited, as well as Boeing's Wind Tunnel and Flight Simulation facilities.

Carly McKown receives Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's (RPI's) Medalist Award - 29-October-2011

In RPI's Honors Convocation, FRC 1640's 2010 & 2011 Co-Captain, Carly McKown, received Rensselaer's Medalist Award. This award brings a $60k scholarship to RPI. Also, congratulations to senior FRC 1640 team member Michael B, who has been selected to receive the 2012 RPI Medalist Award.

Duel on the Delaware - 22-October-2011

Duel on the Delaware revised.jpg
22-October-2011. Sab-BOT-age's 5th time participating at Duel on the Delaware. Also the first FRC competition for 6 new students.

Despite finishing qualifications at 19th out of 28 teams, 4th-ranked team 365 (Miracle Workerz) selected us as their first alliance partner, filling out the alliance with team 87. Our alliance went on to win Duel on the Delaware this year.

Our robot, DEWBOT VII, performed well and reliably though the competition, with a tread replacement being the only significant repair necessary. We were a solid scorer. Our mini-bot (Mighty Mouse) system generally won the end game. On the two occasions when we played defense, we were the defending robot you just couldn't get around. Our scouting is really showing the benefit of the focus we've put on it. Autonomous remains our weak point.

New driver Andrew and Human Player Douglas both put in excellent performances throughout the day.

DEWBOT VII demo at Downingtown East High School - 17 & 18 May-2011

Carly and Paul Klufas demonstrated DEWBOT VII during Downingtown East physics classes.

FRC Championship, St. Louis MO - 27-29 April-2011

FRC Team 1640 (team Sab-BOT-age) competed for its first time in FRC's Championship, held in the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis MO. 27 students, mentors and family members made the trip.

352 FRC teams from 5 countries were divided into 4 divisions (Archimedes, Curie, Galileo & Newton) of 88 teams each. Winning alliances from each division met on the Einstein Field for playoffs, with Galileo's alliance taking the day.

Team 1640 did well, winning 6 and losing 4 of our qualifying matches to place 27th out of the 88 teams in Archimedes division. Our drive team was able to score a solid 4 tubes during teleoperated play (except for during the losing matches) and our minibot (Mighty Mouse) was 100% reliable and always placed either 1st or 2nd in the critical end-game (when deployed). Autonomous performance, alas, remained unreliable with <50% success. We were not selected for an eliminations alliance.

FRC Team 1640 Winner of Philadelphia Regional & recipient of Rockwell Automation's Innovation in Control Award - 7-9 April

Team 1640 led the 2nd alliance to victory in the Philadelphia Regional Competition. This was 1640 first Regional victory. In fact, this was also our first experience as an Alliance Captain at a Regional Competition.

We had a great Alliance! Our Alliance Partners Teams 365 (Miracle Workerz), 303 (Panther Robotics) and 2607 (Robovikings, who substituted for 365 after their robot died in the Finals) performed superbly throughout the playoffs.

In addition to winning the competition, Team 1640 received Rockwell Automation's Innovation in Control Award for our cutting-edge modular pivot drive-train with its integrated sensor array and control software.

FRC Finger Lakes Regional - 3-5 March

The team had a rough start, with some cRIO problems which took a while to resolve. In the end, however, we were selected for the 4th alliance and made it to the semifinals. We were defeated by the 1st alliance, who went on to win the Regional.

We scored reasonably well in teleop, up to 4 logo pieces per match and always in the desired positions, but clearly could use more practice. There are mechanical and programming issues to resolve prior to the Philadelphia Regional as well.

DC Knights Middle School and High School 2011 VEX event 26-February-2011

The VEXMEN went to Delaware County Christian School for the DC Knights Middle School and High School 2011 VEX event. We qualified 3 more teams for Worlds, won a total of 9 awards and were both the middle school tournament winners and finalists (all six teams were from Downingtown).

The big win of the day was having Cheryl Foster recognized as the regional Mentor of the Year. She has been with our program for just over a year. Cheryl is one of our many adult mentors that do not have children in the program. She has been a huge inspiration to one of our all girl team, Team 90.

It's a Wrap - FRC Build Season is complete! 22-February-2011

Just shy of 1 AM this morning, FIRST Robotics Team 1640 sealed its completed 2011 robot, DEWBOT VII, into a bag for competition. The robot will be unsealed at the team's first competition at Rochester Institute of Technology on 3-March. This sealing brings a conclusion to the team's safe and successful 6-week build season.

The robot achieves all of the strategic objectives set by the team at the start of the build season. In practice, it scored reliably in autonomous, teleoperated, and end-game bonus play. The drive-train is a significantly improved version of last year's pivot drive, combining extraordinary agility with excellent traction and speed. Colored lights on the robot are used to signal for specific game pieces to be added to the field. Team 1640 has never before produced a robot possessing this level of performance and quality. The entire team did a phenomenal job on the 2011 robot.

This year, for the first time, Team 1640 will compete in the Championship Competition in Saint Louis.

The 2011 build season brought with it a number of first for the team, including:

A structured front-end process was initiated for idea generation, strategic goal setting, and development of clear game-focused (customer-focused) performance specifications. These specifications guided the team's detailed design effort.
1640 built a 2nd robot (deux). While increasing the overall work load, the 2nd robot improved work-flow by facilitating parallel [programming & driving] and [mechanical & electrical] work. The real benefit of the 2nd robot. however, will come now that the first has been sealed for competition. The 2nd robot remains available for driver/operator practice and as a development platform for tactics and software/hardware improvements.
The team has a mill, significantly improving the accuracy and reproducibility of component fabrication. Many of the team's students obtained first-hand experience fabricating parts on the mill.
A range of new materials were introduced to the 2011 robot, ranging from the ordinary (polypropylene and fiberglass pultrusion) to carbon-fiber composite. We learned about the benefits and drawbacks of these materials, why to use them, and how.
Our current home allowed us to set up an almost full-size practice field, which we did.

The team thanks the Downingtown Area School District, our generous Sponsors, our dedicated Mentors and Parents, without whose support and assistance none of this would have been possible.

Downingtown goes to Souderton for the Souderton VEXPeriment 12-Februrary-2011

We had a great time at the Souderton VEXperiment 2011. Lots of great action, the VEXMEM won a number of awards and Team 92 qualified for worlds.

Dockbots'11 22-January-2011

Our VEXMEN winter season kicked off with a trip to Lansdale for DockBots'11 We won a number of small awards, and had a great time.

Downingtown FLL Team Rocks Oxford FLL Qualifier 8-January-2010

The Downingtown FLL teams had a great day at the Oxford FLL Qualifier. The Oxford Qualifier for FLL was held yesterday at Oxford High School.

The competition was comprised of 40 teams from the area, six of which were from Downingtown Area Robotics FLL program. This competition differs a bit from our VEX and FRC programs in that the kids not only compete with their robot but they are also required to do a research project relating to the annual theme. This year the theme was Body Forward which pertains to Biomedical. They are also judged on how they work as a team, their core values pertaining to the program and the quality of their robot design and programming. They really push these elementary level kids to excel while having a good time. When the competition is over only nine of the teams are selected to move on to the Region Championships at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.

Team 1001 - BioBots

  • 3rd place Champions Award (overall competition award)
  • 3rd place Robot Performance (score of 320)
  • Selected for the Regional Championships

Team 1003 - Robot Wizards

  • 1st place Robot Performance (top score of 325)
  • 1st place Programming Award
  • Selected for the Regional Championships

Team 1005 -

  • 5th place Robot Performance (score of 275)

Team 1004 - Nerve Connections

  • 10th place Robot Performance

Congratulations to all of our Downingtown Area Robotics teams as they did a great job and represented Downingtown to the best of their ability.

Their next event will be the FLL Regional Competition on 22 January 2010 at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.

Congratulations to all the teams, it's a very impressive showing for a program that is in it's second year!

The first place team was Team 1215, Minds In MOEtion, from Coatesville, PA. They are sponsored, funded, coached, and mentored by FIRST Tech Challenge Team 3489 - Minds In Gear. Two of the members of Minds in Gear are Downingtown Robotics members Sasha and Nicole Wall. Great Job!

Mill brought on-line 5-January-2011

It's ALIVE! Mill comes to life on 5 January 2011 at 6:15 PM! After four years of silently hanging around the halls of Downingtown East High School, the Jet Milling Machine was moved to the Downingtown Robotics Center. After some cleanup it was plugged into the power and gulped down it's first taste of sweet 208 volts at 6:15 PM. The mill was soon set to it's first task of creating a protective base for future milling operations. Thanks to Scott, Gary and Ben along with the DASD electrical crew for getting the mill up and running and to Ben on getting our first part made.

Having a mill will make many of the machining operations that were impossible to do in house now a real possibility. While we will still use Wamac (one of our Sponsors) for complex parts, the mill will allow us to create things like transmissions and our award winning pivot drive in-house.

This is also another example of how the expanded space at the Downingtown Robotics Center has help boost our capability. In the mill's prior home in the physics hallway of Downingtown East, it was not usable due to safety issues around flying hot metal chips. In it's new home we can let the chips fall where they may! (Well not really, we have protective screens to keep the chips flying too far)

A special thanks to Ed Tremblay from East Coast EDM who was gracious enough to donate his time, truck and expenses to move the mill for us.

Also see:
News Archive 2016
News Archive 2015
News Archive 2014
News Archive 2013
News Archive 2012
News Archive 2010
News Archive 2009