News Archive

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This page is the News Archive. The main news page has items for up to a year, after that they are moved to this page.


Clean Sweep VEX World Championship

Team 80 Pegasus and Team 81 Longshot are at the VEX Robotics Competition Championship in Dallas TX. They are having a great adventure. Read about the details on the Clean Sweep VEX World Championship page.

Sugartown Lego Expo April 16,2010

Downingtown Area Robotics FRC, VEX and FLL Teams all participated in the Sugartown Elementary School's Lego Expo and Robotics Fair on the evening of 16 April 2010. Team 1640 (especially Siri Maley) assisted Sugartown Elementary in setting up its JFLL program in 2008.

DEWBOT VI receives Xerox Creativity Award at Philadelphia March 26, 2010

Sab-BOT-age receives the Xerox Creativity Award
Team 1640 Sab-BOT-age received the Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox for its 4-wheel independent pivot drive-train. The awarding judges remarked:
The Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox celebrates creative design, use of a component, or a creative or unique strategy of play. Whether you want to call it "thinking outside the box" or "pushing the envelope", this winning team demonstrates that it has creatively gone beyond the norm in tackling this year's game challenge.
Creativity was illustrated through the coupling of an innovative drive system with a multimode control system.
Mechanical design was initiated the previous summer using modeling and prototyping.
This led to a robust three mode turning mechanism and it is hard to Sabotage the unique and creative aspects of their design.
Congratulations team number 1640 Sab-BOT-age.

On Saturday the team was chosen to be on the fifth seeded alliance during the Philadelphia Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. Downingtown made it to the semifinals, where they were eliminated by the top seed, who went on to win the competition.

Read all the details about the 2010 Philadelphia Regional

Eastern Pennsylvania VEX Regional - March 13, 2010

The second annual Eastern Pennsylvania VEX Regional was held at the Downingtown Education Center from 9AM to 4PM. Our VEX team competed with roboteers from 3 states!

This is major VEX fundraising event, thanks to everyone that came out and supported the teams.

Details of the event can be found at 2010_Eastern Pennsylvania Regional with lots of pictures

DEWBOT VI Finger Lakes Regional March 4-6, 2010

Twenty-five roboteers, mentors and parents made the 6 hour drive on to Rochester NY to watch Sab-BOT-age compete at the [2010 Finger Lakes Regional]. After getting off to a great start of being the first robot inspected, we set off to the practice field.

During practice we uncovered some code problems that we worked on, but never quite got 100% fixed. In a first for us we made all of our practice matches. Our new "design before building" practice has created robots that are mechanically sound. The only work on the robot on Thursday was to replace some bolts on the front of the robot that was interfering with the ball. This work was planned before we left and Clem's step by step instructions made the work go fast.

Thursday team dinner was at Dinosaur BBQ a downtown Rochester Landmark.

The DEWBOT VI Chairmans Award presentation team did a final practice run and then did their "Ignite Sab-BOT-age" presentation for the judges. It went well and we got lots of great comments back. Only 11 teams out of 44 made the effort to compete for FIRST's highest award. We did not win, the winning team was a two time Chairman's winner.

Friday morning also saw the installation of a new chain tension device, a PVC cap from Home Robot Depot. Friday qualifications saw us move up and down many times in the rankings. Control system problems were an annoyance and the team worked on them non-stop.

Friday night we celebrated Jen's 18th birthday with cake and pizza in the hotel.

Saturday was a repeat of Friday on the field. We were not chosen for the final alliances, but we did use the time to allow the programming team to work on the robot.

This was not such a great performance for us. We finished the competition ranked 37 of 44, winning only 2 matches, losing 7, and getting a tie (zero-zero) in 1. We found several control bugs that we're addressing, though we ran into very few major mechanical problems. We hope to fix many of these by the Philadelphia Regional at Drexel University on March 25-27, 2010.

On a positive note our pivot drive got lots of attention. Another team had a very similar setup and was impressed with ours. We also received kudos from the Safety Judges for our constant use of gloves to move the robot around, safety glasses always being worn, keeping our pit (and the one next to us) cleaned and all loose material picked up. By Saturday we had received 35 Safety Tokens a new team record.

More details can be found on the DEWBOT VI Finger Lakes Regional page.

Downingtown VEX Roboteers win Awards at Mid-Atlantic Championships - 27 February 2010

On Saturday 18 roboteers headed down to the Mi-Atlantic VEX Championships in Westminster MD. We met up with teams from MA,NJ,PA,MD,VA,NC to compete in the middle school division. A total of 23 teams participated.

Our teams did very well. Team 80 struggled with driving early in the day but came back to place #3 in the rankings. After their great showing at DockBot'10 Team 81 had a great day, placed 5th and was chosen by the second place alliance. The Pterodactyls, Team 82 was one of the Cinderella stories of the day. The mechanical team did not come, but Taylor the team programmer did. He and mentor Dan made some minor hardware changes and some major programming changes to post an impressive record. Using borrowed arm operators Taylor made it into the semi-finals.

The Iron Taco's, Team 94, came ready to play and posted some upsets against much higher ranked teams. Team 89 Govonador, also had a good day. They made adjustments and programming changes and ranked in the top teams. Team 90 posted some solid results as did Team 92. These two robots went through some early mechanical changes but towards the end were solid performers.

Team 96 suffered from missing team members, but Corey kept the code flying and the robot rolling and placed 8th in the qualifications.

Because of the large number of teams it was easy to say "Downingtown Wins" at the end since we were in most matches. Two of the matches of the day were all Downingtown teams.

Alliance selections went well with three of our teams being alliance captains. We had good alliance partners during the eliminations. Team 89 had the upset of the day beating the #1 alliance in their first match.

While we had a number of teams that made it as far as the semifinals, we didn't make it into the final rounds. But we did win some major awards:

  • Team 80 - Design Award - The Pegasus Engineering notebook took this award. The team had documented the steps (and mis-steps) in building their robot.
  • Team 80 - Innovate Award for the sensor package on the robot. There are potentiometers at each joint, a button on the front to tell when they are at the wall and a switch to tell when the arm is in position. The judges were impressed with the innovative design.
  • Team 80 - Programming Challenge - Mike L was able to program the robot autonomous functions to score 21 points, beating Team 82's Taylor by 1 point. Both programmers did a super job and vowed to be back in two weeks with even more points.

By winning the Programming Challenge, Team 80 is eligible to go to the World Championships in April!

Thanks to all the roboteers that went and to the parents that not only drove but then mentored for the long day.

DEWBOT VI Ships - 23-February, 2010

We crated up DEWBOT VI securely last night and into the wee hours of this morning to send him on his way to RIT for our first Regional Competition.

Thanks to all students, mentors, parents and sponsors for making this a successful build season.

VEX Demo at Philadelphia FLL Tournament - January 31,2010

Playing Cross Ball
As part of Downingtown Area Robotics outreach and our partner STEMRobotics mission is to get new roboteers involved with robots. On Saturday Foster and Mike M took five robots to the 4th Annual Philadelphia FIRST Lego League Tournament. They set up a field to play Cross Ball and ran a number of matches with the Lego Roboteers. Across the next six hours over 100 students and some parents drove the robots.

Mike spent most of his time keeping the field going and the robots in running order. The combination of Super-protobots and square bots performed well.

There was lots of interest in starting new team in Philadelphia. Foster spent time talking to teachers that have existing VEX hardware on restarting teams. He talked about how to upgrade the starter kits to competition level.

The Lego Roboteers were excited about driving the robots, a number said that being able to drive was very exciting.

VEX Competition at Christopher Dock - January 23,2010

We took eight VEX robot teams to Christopher Dock High School in Lansdale for Dockbots'10. This is the largest VEX event in Pennsylvania, it is sponsored by Christopher Dock Mennonite High School and STEMRobotics. There were 36 teams from three states, with 11 middle school teams and the rest from high schools. About 250 people were at the event. This is the second year that Downingtown has attended Dockbots.

Our teams did very well. During the qualification rounds we played very well, with only a few robot malfunctions. At the end we had two teams in the top ten. Team 81, Longshot placed fourth with a 5-1 record. Our all girls team, Pegasus, Team 80 also had a 5-1 record.

In the tournament, the top 8 teams create alliances. Team 80 was chosen by the number 3 seed, Lower Merion's Harriton High School, to be on their alliance. Team 81 created an alliance with some very strong partners from Radnor High School and Downingtown Team 84, the Iron Tacos. Team 89, Govonador, was chosen by the seventh seed team. Due to the way the draws worked out, The Pterodactyls, Team 82 from Downingtown was able to create the 8th alliance with a team from Christopher Dock and another Downingtown team, Deceptions, Team 90.

So we had six of our eight teams in the eliminations! Longshot and the Iron Tacos made it into the semi-finals but lost to teams that had won the Summit, New Jersey event two weeks ago.

This was the best showing by the team this season.

Team 81 won an Excellence Award, they were pitted against the 11 middle school teams that attended. They got the award based on their robot design, being able to explain their design process by showing drawings of other ideas that they had tested and discarded and for their great teamwork. They have qualified to go to the World Championships in Dallas Texas in April.

Not only did the roboteers do a great job, but we also had a super turnout by our parents. Many continued acting as mentors for the teams, others pitched in and helped queue the robots for matches, perform match scoring, doing crystal management and helping with the inspection process. Without their efforts the event would not have been so successful.

Our next match is Saturday, 27 February in Maryland followed by our home event on 13 March at DEC.

All you can eat Pancake Breakfast - December 6,2009

Downingtown Area Robotics All-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast at Exton Applebee's was a great success. Both the 8 AM and 9AM seatings were almost full. We had great service from our robotic waitstaff (students not robots). Applebee's donated the full cost of the food. With the gift basket raffle we collected over $1000. Everyone had a great time and we look forward to doing it next year!

Vex scrimmage PSU Abington - December 5,2009

VEX scrimmage at PSU Abington was a success, congratulations to Team 80! Team 80 - Pegasus - won an award for the most number of matches played. There were 23 robots that saw action representing 10 different schools or club teams. Abington Bank supplied 50 pizzas that were gobbled down at lunch time. Thanks to all the parents that drove and braved the first snowfall of the year. Click the link to read more about the Penn State Abington VEX Clean Sweep Scrimmage.

Expanded Space at DEC

We moved into our second bay in the Downingtown Educational Center Shop on 24-November-2009. Siri and Murph, back from University for the Holiday, joined us for the expansion. The second bay will be used for FRC and VRC storage, thereby freeing up the original bay as a work area. See the photo gallery.

Lansdale Catholic FLL Tune-up - November 21, 2009

Today was the Lansdale Catholic FLL Tune-up competition. We were registered as team 2028, the Lionville After School Robotics Club. The team that competed was the Maglev Movers, one of our two FLL teams. The kids had a GREAT time and got to experience their FIRST competition. The education was irreplaceable as they got to experience all of the ups and downs that come along with this type of event. Most of the things that could go wrong did; robot lockups, cables not plugged in, parts coming off, missed mission pieces, knocking down unexpected field pieces, etc. What an incredible experience they had. They all worked well as a team and did an awesome job.

The team placed 14th out of 48 registered teams! Not too bad for rookies. Go Maglev Movers!!!

Thanks go out to Lansdale Catholic and the event staff who hosted this event.

Ramp Riot - November 14, 2009

Dewbot & Phanatic at Ramp Riot

DEWBOT V's last competition. Our robot scoring performance (hitherto not a strong point for us) was significantly improved over earlier competitions. Carly drove very aggressively, and has become adept at pinning between the robot and trailer, so that we can score. Ken and Paul took turns as Operator. Cole, Matt & Vamshi were our Payload Specialists and did a great job. Ken and Ben R took the lead on scouting. We won 3 of 5 qualifying matches, placing 17th of 36.

While Sab-BOT-age was playing with the Phillie Phanatic, the VEX team was holding a mini-contest for the Girl Scout "Girls In Gear" program. We took robots, cubes and balls and played a game on an 8*8 field. We had 45 scouts ranging from Daisy's (1st and 2nd graders) through Cadets. There were some pretty fierce contests! A number of the scouts said that our driving event was the best part of that days program.

STEMRobotics demos VEX at GameExpo - October 24/25, 2009


Our VEX partner and sponsor is doing demos of Clean Sweep, the new VEX game at the 2009 GameX event at the Oaks Convention center. They will be there Saturday 9AM -6PM and Sunday 10AM 5PM. Come play Clean Sweep with them and help introduce new roboteers to competition robotics. They have 14 passes, contact them and get in as our guest. This is being billed as a premiere game industry event. There will be lots of games, music and of course Robots!

Foster reported back "Saturday was tons of fun, we ran over 60 matches during the day. To allow more people to play we created three robot alliances. We had help from Scott and Jarred along with Andrew and Joe from our prior mentor classes.

We were there again on Sunday, doing another 60 matches. Towards the end of the day we had matches between Miss Daisy (341) and our support staff.

Duel on the Delaware - October 10, 2009

FRC Team 1640 and DEWBOT V gave a good performance at Duel on the Delaware. We won 3 of 5 qualifying matches, placing 14th of 24. Selected for the 1st Alliance (1218 Vulcan Robotics - alliance captain, 433 Firebirds and 1640), we won the won the quarterfinals, moving up to the semi's. Lost the first semi-final, won the second, but lost the third. Kenneth (Operator) and Praveen (Payload Specialist) joined the New Field Team. Thanks goes to Corey for an excellent scouting job.

Robot repairs successful - October 4, 2009

Returning from an extensive tour of the high school and middle schools in the area, DEWBOT V was found to have a damaged compressor. Surgery was performed by Carly and Clem McKown, with Matt & Gary Deaver helping out. Matt & Faith McKown rebuilt our spare game piece trailer getting it ready for practice for our up-coming off season competitions. DEWBOT V is ready to go to Duel on the Delaware on October 10th.

Parents' Sessions at Back to School nights wrap up - October 1, 2009

The last back to school night was completed. We had done two sessions at each middle school (one for 6th graders, the other for 7th and 8th graders. We also did sessions at the high schools. We had a lot of interest by parents and it explains the recent increase in both VEX (44 roboteers, 11 parents) and FRC (22 students, 6 parents) participation in the last few weeks. We expect record turnout at the October 7th meeting. and Downingtown Area Robotics travel to Reading - September 24, 2009

Foster Schucker of and Faith McKown of Downingtown Area Robotics traveled to Reading to inaugurate the Reading Red Riders Robotics Program. Foster gave two presentations to over 400 students while Faith kept 10 VEX demo bots running and and answered 100's of questions. Both Faith and Foster spent time with 12 middle school students from a nearby science magnet school.

STEMRobotics and Downingtown Area Robotics will continue to work with the Reading school district in getting their program up and running.

Parents' Meeting Presentations - Sept 16,2009

We held the 2009-2010 Parent Meeting at DEC. We had over 40 parents and 50 students! We also had guests from Coatesville and Reading that were here to look at our program.

Remember that our first student night is Wednesday 23 September. Interested parents are still welcome at our Adult VEX Mentor Workshops on Tuesday nights. Both sessions are from 6:30 - 8:30.

Downingtown West Faculty Meeting Robotics Demo - Sept. 2, 2009

The FRC Team introduced the robotics programs and the robots to the faculty of Downingtown West to kick off our 2010 Season Recruiting Effort.

FIRST Lego League new for 2009-2010

As part of the Downingtown Robotics program, we are starting a FIRST Lego League team. See FIRST Lego League 2009 for more details and the schedule.

FRC Summer 2009 Build Sessions

It was a busy summer for the FRC team building a swerve drive prototype, tuning up DEWBOT V and doing a major cleanup of the shop. You can see pictures and a description of the summer here Team 1640 2009 Summer Program

VEX Summer 2009 Build Sessions

We held the last VEX Summer 2009 Build session on August 19th. We spent the evening sorting,organizing and taking apart unused robot parts.

Across the summer we worked on robots for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 2009 and spent time building the game pieces. We also had four new roboteers and their parents build and race squarebots.

Upper Uwchlan Block Party - July 18, 2009

Our third and last community event of the summer. DEW Robotics demonstrated DEWBOT V and Vex robots at the Upper Uwchlan Block Party. DEWBOT is reconverted to a shooter. Thanks to Steve Rhoads & Jack for the excellent Vex action (with Matt & Praveen in the pit keeping the robots running). Thanks to all who helped with a special thanks to those who worked the garage clean out in the morning and the Block Party in the evening.

Garage Clean Out - July 18, 2009

18 months after our emergency move out of Downingtown East High School (with the start of the Teacher's Strike), we finally moved the last of our equipment out out the Maley garage. Three trailer loads. Thanks, Leslie, for all of your patience.

Pool Party - July 12, 2009

We ate. We drank. We swam. We shot paint balls (but not at each other). Awards were presented for conspicuous excellence among graduating seniors. The Pool Party was a great draw.

Uwchlan Day - July 11, 2009

Uwchlan Day was our second summer community event. DEWBOT V and Vex robots worked the crowd all day. Steve Rhoads & Jack make a solid vex team. Paul reprogrammed DEWBOT on the fly. Alex turns out to be a solid shooter.

Good Neighbor Day - July 4, 2009

DEW Robotics demonstrated DEWBOT V and Vex robots at the July 4th, 2009 Good Neighbor Day in Downingtown, PA.

Bartholomew - June 24, 2009

Bartholomew the stair climbing robot came to Downingtown on 24 June. His builder and driver Petra Hartman, came from Lower Marion High School to talk and present the robot. Click on the link for more details of her Senior project.

Seniors Graduate in June 2009

Congratulations to our graduating Seniors - Siri, Beth, Alex, Anna, James, Ashley, Hans, and Heather!!!

Beth received the DEWBOT Builder award
Heather received the DEWBOT Machinist award
Hans won the VEX Builder award
Siri received the All Around Roboteer Award

The award ceremony was part of the pool party in July

Bridgewater-Raritan Battle Royale (BR)2 - June 6, 2009

DEWBOT V and team competed in (BR)2 placing 3rd out of 18 teams.

Monty Madness - May 16, 2009

DEWBOT V and team competed at Monty Madness placing 21st out of 42 teams.

DASD School Board recognition of Robotics team - May 13, 2009

DASD School Board recognises Team 1640

Members of the team received Certificates of Achievement in recognition of their success as members of 2009 FRC FIRST Robotics Team 1640 "Team Sab-BOT-age" Season with DEWBOT V. The certificate noted that "The entire district applauds you achievements and success in this years competitions."

Team Sab-BOT-age wins at PARC XII - May 9, 2009

PARC XII Winning Alliance - L>R Teams 1640, 222 & 2753

We WON! Team Sab-BOT-age won at PARC XII. We were chosen by the first place alliance and with them won the next six matches to take the win.

This was our fifth year at PARC and our best showing ever

DEWBOT V's Rockwell Automation Innovation in Control Award (Chesapeake Regional) 21-March-2009

Eastern Pennsylvania Regional Event - February 28, 2009

The finals of the 2009 Eastern Pennsylvania Regional Tournament for Roboteers took place on Saturday at Downingtown Educational Center.

Team 81 wins Chairmans Award at Christoper Dock Scrimmage - January 24, 2009

Downingtown’s Team 81 received the Chairman’s Award for Best Young Robotics Team, with their robot with an extendable claw on top, he said. Team 1640 was a finalist at the competition. Article and pictures from the Daily Local News on February 4, 2009