On Saturday, 1/31, 254A, 254B, 254C, 254E, 254F, and 254G competed at Merrill F. West High School at the Tracy NorCal VEX Skyrise Tournament. 5 of our 6 VEX teams at Tracy reached the elimination rounds, a strong showing from the Cheesy Poofs! 254B and 254F joined 824B during the elimination rounds, and reached the semifinals. Team 254C joined 9378A and 9378B, and reached the quarterfinals. Team 254E joined 5776 and 8000D, reaching the quarterfinals.
254A, using an eight-bar side-roller robot design, reached the finals alongside 5369 (the Duckies) and 5327C (Gael Force) as part of the first-seed alliance. Unfortunately, after a long deliberation by the referees, they lost to the second seeded alliance in two matches. Congratulations to 1935A(HEART Academy San Jose), 7579B(Next Generation Science & Technology Group), and 8000B(Head-Royce School)! In addition, Team 254C won the Sportsmanship Award!
Our teams learned a lot at Tracy about potential designs and had a lot of fun, and are looking to make improvements to their robots for the NorCal State Championship, coming up at the beginning of March!
This Sunday, Team 254 went to the Toys for Tots event at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Toys for Tots is an organization founded by the United States Marine Corps Reserve and it aims to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens. This event was sponsored by BAE Systems, one of our long time sponsors. The team demoed our 2014 Robot Barrage to enthusiastic kids and parents and also helped with the toy distribution. Some team members joined in the festivities by getting their faces painted with Christmas themed items and also the team swoosh. Also attending the event was Team 604, Quixsilver and several FTC and FLL teams, showing off their robots. Overall, this event was super fun and we look forward to helping out next year.
The 7th Annual Bellarmine VEX Tournament, hosted by Team 254, will be held November 21-22, 2014. The event is free for spectators. The best time to watch is from the alliance selection process (3pm Saturday), through the finals, which will finish by 6:30pm.
- Changes from Last Year
- Tournament Location & Parking
- Northern California VRC Championship Qualifications
- Information for Competitors
- Information for Novices
Changes from Last Year
- There are more teams competing, so if you can, please get inspected on Friday evening (6 – 8pm). We’ll officially open the pits at 7am and start inspections at 7:15am on Saturday.
- We will have a photo booth setup with a backdrop for professional looking photos of your robot and/or team. This will be located next to the skills challenge field on the 2nd floor of the Sobrato building.
- We will have a competition Instagram: Use #BELLVEX in Instagram during the tournament and see your picture appear on displays in the Pits and in Sobrato.
|Friday, November 21, 2014|
|6 pm – 8 pm||Check-In and Inspection (in Liccardo)|
|7 pm – 9 pm||Practice time for teams|
|Saturday, November 22, 2014|
|7:00 am||Pit Area and Registration Opens (in Liccardo)|
|8:00 am||Check-in Deadline for teams (at Pit Admin in Liccardo)|
|7:15 am – 8:30 am||Inspection (in Liccardo)|
|7:30 am – 8:30 am||Practice Rounds (in Sobrato Theater)|
|8:30 am – 8:45 am||Driver’s Meeting (in Sobrato Theater)|
|8:30 am – 9:30 am||Sign up for judging interview (at Pit Admin table)|
|8:45 am||Welcome (in Sobrato Theater)|
|9:00 am – 12:30pm||Qualifying Rounds (in Sobrato Theater)|
|12:30 pm – 1:00 pm||Lunch Break (We will have Pizza Order Forms)|
|1:00 pm – 2:35 pm||Qualifying Rounds Continue (in Sobrato Theater)|
|2:45 pm||Alliance Selection Process (in Sobrato Theater)|
|3:00 pm – 5:30 pm||Elimination Rounds (in Sobrato Theater)|
|~5:30 pm – 6:30 pm||Finals, Awards, Closing Ceremony (in Sobrato Theater)|
Tournament Location & Parking
Bellarmine College Preparatory 960 W. Hedding St. San Jose, CA 95126
For the competition, the pits are in Liccardo cafeteria and the competition fields in Sobrato theater. These are #6 and #7 on the campus map at: http://www.bcp.org/about-us/our-campus/index.aspx.
Street parking is very limited due to permit parking restrictions. There is additional parking by Emory and Stockton streets. Check in with the Pit Admin when you arrive, who will provide you with a map of the tournament facilities.
Northern California VRC Championship Qualifications
We are qualifying 8 teams for the Northern California VRC State Championship:
- 3 Team Winning Alliance
- 3 Team Finalists
- 1 Design Award winner
- 1 Excellence Award winner
- Excellence Award
- Design Award
- Judges Award
- Sportsmanship Award
We will offer pizza for preorder. Info will be sent in a different email. We will have a few pasta dinners available for Friday night and will be offering snacks and drinks on Saturday.
Information For Competitors
- If you cannot arrive before close of check-in at 8am, please call or text (preferred): 408-377-5330 or email: [email protected]
- If you want to be considered for the Excellence or Design awards, you will need to sign up for an interview by 9:30am. Go to the Pit Admin to schedule (or change your appointment time if needed). The interview rooms are on the second floor of the Sobrato Theater building near the swimming pool.
- The skills challenge field is also on the 2nd floor of the Sobrato theater building. Teams are not limited to the number of attempts, however, any team with fewer than 3 attempts can move ahead of other teams waiting in line.
- Bring your signed VEX competition waiver, available at: http://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2013/06/vrc-participant-release-form.pdf.
- Check the match schedule when it is published and make sure you are ready for each match. We try hard to keep matches running on time.
- Be sure your robot is ready for inspection. Double check the requirements here: http://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2013/06/inspection-checklist-vrc.pdf.
- Have fully charged batteries for each match.
- Be sure the drivers and coach have safety glasses when they arrive at the field to compete.
- Bring a power strip. We should have an outlet within 6′ of your table for you to plug into.
- WiFi will be available in the pits
- A Help Desk will be available with a limited supply of parts should anything break or you are unable to pass inspection
Information For Novices
It is highly recommended for you to arrive Friday to go through the inspection and try a couple practice matches. Friday will be much more relaxed and our inspectors will be able to help you through the inspection process. Also, our field managers will be able to guide you through the competition process. Be sure to bring fully charged batteries, chargers, spare parts and tools in case anything breaks. Ensure your VEXnet keys are working well.
At the Bay Area Science Festival we got the opportunity to speak with many teams in the area about their robots; these teams included Team 1868, Team 604, and many more. We also talked to developers and engineers around the bay area representing their organizations and companies. The representatives of the Berkeley high school robotics competition (Pioneers in Engineering) were present, and we were able to discuss how to reach out to high schools with smaller STEM programs using competitive robotics. In addition to the robotics booths around our demo area, there were over 100 different stands and booths on the ground floor of the stadium, each bringing STEM to the public in a different and interesting way.
One booth allowed people to separate the DNA from a strawberry plant using alcohol and detergent. Another stand presented a demo for the MIT app maker (http://appinventor.mit.edu/explore/front.html) and the presenter created a text to speech android application in front of us in less than 5 minutes! Not only were there copious booths, but amiable and experienced engineers and scientists were everywhere and ready to discuss their field of research. By the fire pits, environmental scientists discussed the future of agriculture. By the portable planetarium, an astronomy professor discussed the reason for Pluto not being a planet with an interested and engaged audience.
At our booth, interested fans asked us about FIRST and how it is organized, as well as the build of our robot and its specs. Children and adults alike had fun driving Barrage using our two joysticks and were guided by our driver, Christian. Even beyond our booth, FRC alumni (including one very kind and complimentary college student who was presenting for the Berkeley Science Review) recognized our team and started conversations about this year’s robot, Barrage, and some of our past robots and competitions.
All in all this was a great opportunity for our team to talk to STEM supporters all over the area. We had a lot of interesting and inspiring discussions with many of the people here, and look forward to next year’s Bay Area Science Festival!
Competing and Improving
The Dougherty Valley High School (DVHS) in San Ramon hosted this tournament. The team was pleased to see upon arriving that competition boards were placed in the pit area, and that the location of the pit allowed for very quick switching between matches. Unfortunately none of our sub teams managed to qualify for States, but this competition allowed our robots to be tested for the first time and we used this feedback to repair and upgrade our bots. For example Team 254F lost two matches in qualifications and two in eliminations. The members of Team 254F are now working on improving their intake and looking forward to the next VEX tournament.
One VEXing Tournament
Thankfully there were no MAJOR technical issues (robots catching fire, exploding, becoming sentient) and all of our teams learned a lot in the competitive process. The tournament was a success! We would like to recognize teams 21D for their excellent design for the high rises, and also 6089, 5776C, 5327A, and many other teams in attendance for challenging us and helping our sub teams to improve their bots. Lastly, many thanks to DVHS for their tasty and very reasonably priced snacks; oh and also for hosting this fun and competitive tournament. And to the VEX teams at the competition, all of us are looking forward to seeing many of you at the Bellarmine VEX tournament this November!
Today teams from across the country gathered to compete in Team 254’s Chezy Champs Aerial Assist competition. After Friday’s hard work setting up the field and teams moving setting up their pits and robots, we’re ready to start a day of competition!
I love the smell of robots in the morning. Starting at 8am this morning, teams were allowed into the pits to start modifying and preparing their robots, and teams entered the Bellarmine gymnasium to stake out spots in the bleachers. And about half an hour later Shockwave was released and tested in the field.
At 9:30 the opening ceremonies began, introducing our emcee and game announcer, Karthik Kanagasabapathy and Paul Copioli.
After all teams had staked out seats in the bleachers and the competing robots were in their ready position, at 10am the first match started!
After match 3 Shockwave decided to come out onto the field to compete with Karthick
After the first match I decided to take a walk around the facilities. Right behind the arena was the CC swag shop, where t-shirts, sunglasses and other swag were sold.
I became aware that other items such as snap backs, volunteer shirts, and even life sized EJ faces (for the true EJ fans) were available through preorder.
Next to the swag shop were the official Chezy Champs trophies, including the widely coveted golden corn dog for display of GP throughout the tournament.
Lastly I headed out to the pit area in Liccardo to check out some of the other teams. At the admin desk, manned by 254’s glorious president Andrew Torrance, I checked in as a CC volunteer and put my super safety glasses on.
The first team I encountered in the pits was the Buchanan Bird Brains, Team 1671. A few members were willing to answer my questions about the tournament and their team:
Q: Where is your team based?
A: Our team is based in Clovis, California. It’s like the little brother of Fresno.
Q: What is the name of your robot?
A: The name of our robot is “Doc 10″ because Doc Buchanan is the founder of our team’s high school and 10 because it’s team 1671’s tenth year competing.
Q: What does FRC mean to you?
A: FRC is like the family you never knew you had, and once you’re in the FRC family you never want to leave.
Q: What do you think of the Bellarmine campus?
A: The architecture is beautiful, it honestly looks like a college campus.
After interviewing the Bird Brains, I decided to talk to some of the teams at the other end of the pit. After a few minutes, I found that the Team 4201 pit was open for visitors!
Q: Where is your team based?
A: Our team is based in Hawthorne, California near L.A.
Q: What is the name of your robot?
A: The name if our robot is #straightflexin. The # is part of the name, too! And it can’t be spelled out.
Q: What does FRC mean to you?
A: Since our school doesn’t really have any sports teams, this is our school sport. Like I used to play hockey but there was no hockey team. And, FRC is like the engineering version of a varsity sport. So for me it became a substitute for playing on a team in high school. Really it’s just the best thing ever.
Q: What do you think of the campus?
A: The campus is awesome, we really love your copper pipes. The water is so clean!
Next interview was with Team 696, the Circuit Breakers:
Q: Where is your team based?
A: Our team is based in La Crescenta in L.A. county, a little bit north of L.A.
Q: What is the name of your robot?
A: The name of our robot is Snapdragon. We actually have two robots, the one we use to compete is named Snapdragon and the practice bot we call “Snapdragon upside-down.”
Q: What does FRC mean to you?
A: FRC is one big family, once you’re in it helps you to stay connected with people who share your interests.
Q: What do you think of the Bellarmine campus?
Oh this is a high school? I seriously thought we were at a college. Wow, it’s really big.
After interviewing Team 399 I decided to visit the local food trucks for lunch. Outside we had the food trucks “sticks” and “scoops,” and inside food vendors sold everything from muffins to pizza.
After a short food break/nap in the field, I went back to the arena to make sure everything was ok. Everything was going very smoothly, and all the teams seemed to be enjoying themselves. None of our equipment was blowing up, there were no electrical fires, and none of the gaming servers crashed. I’d say that’s a success!
I had a lot of fun meeting and talking to all the different teams, and hope that the guest teams had just as much fun competing in and watching the matches as we did. Thank you to all the teams who showed up, and those who supported us by watching the event live on Twitch.
New Members, please follow the directions below in order to create a Team 254 website account. Creating an account is required to receive team emails.
1. Visit the registration page
2. Fill out all the form fields selecting “Student” as your account type in the drop-down labeled “Role:”
3. Fill in your Student ID at the bottom. Your ID is your invitation code and must be correct in order to successfully create an account.
Please have your parents also complete the above steps replacing their “Role” with “Parent”. Your parents must also create an account to receive team communications.
On July 11th and 12th, members of VEX Team 254D traveled to Hawaii for the new Hawaii International Games tournament. The tournament featured two competitions, one for the old game, Toss Up and one for the new game, Skyrise. The Cheesy Poofs were fortunately able to secure spots in both competitions, entering the robots Scorpion and Qilin. Although the Cheesy Poofs did not fare so well during the qualifications due to various issues in both divisions, top teams recognized the strength of the Poofs. In the Toss Up competition, 254D was selected by the 2nd seeded alliance while in the Skyrise competition, partnering with 359A, the Hawaiian Kids, and 1973A, the Trojanbots. The alliance lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual tournament victor. In the Skyrise Division, 254D was selected by the 5th overall seed, joining 368A, Team Kika Mana, and 1841A, Buff n' Blue 1, again losing during the quarterfinals. Despite the team’s failure to proceed through the quarterfinals, the Cheesy Poofs gained valuable experience and knowledge in designs and strategies for the new Skyrise game that will carry over to the new season.
On Saturday, July 26, a few students and mentors demoed both our 2013 robot: Overkill and our T-shirt cannon: Shockwave at the USS Hornet Splashdown event. This event commemorated the 45th Anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. The aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet (CVS-12) was the recovery ship for Apollo 11 and Apollo 12. Buzz Aldrin, the 2nd man to set foot on the moon was there and spoke about the importance of the Space Exploration program and how we need to try to get on Mars to promote the next wave of innovators. The team mostly demoed and spoke about but there wasn't enough room to shoot frisbees or t-shirts indoors.
Everyone had a great time at IRI, reconnecting with old friends like 233, 1114, and 2056, meeting new people on different teams, and eating a lot of delicious corn! We went undefeated in our qualifying matches and seeded first, partially due to our powerhouse human player Brandon Wui with his "Jordan" throws into the robot. After choosing our alliance partners Team 1114: Simbotics, 330: The Beachbots, and 2013: Cybergnomes, we moved up the bracket all the way to the Finals, and after 2 very intense matches, we got second place! We were all very happy with our performance and very happy to have been able to attend IRI this year.
Fun in Chicago!
However, our adventures didn't stop with IRI. After the very early first flight to Chicago, our connecting flight got cancelled. At first it looked like we'd be spending 12 hours wandering around Chicago airport, but the mentors decided to make it an adventuring day through the city of Chicago! We took the famous L train into downtown and had some fantastic Chicago style deep dish pizza at the world famous Giordano's Pizza. Next stop was the Bean in downtown Chicago, then finally we found a nice shady patch of grass in which both mentors and students took very needed naps, and some ended up with a little grass on their foreheads. Finally we made it back to the airport and on our plane home. Thank you to all of the teams and staff at IRI for making such a great competition and we hope to be able to go next year!
Barrage Build Blog
Team 254 is proud to release its 2014 Season Build Blog. This year’s release contains day by day updates along with in-depth discussions into strategies, prototypes, build decisions, and other Team 254 projects.
For technical discussion along with detailed pictures on various robot systems please refer to the 2014 Barrage Technical Binder.
Our robot ran Java this year as it did in 2013. To develop Barrage, we added a bunch of new features like waypoint navigation that drives smooth splines, an internal web server for debugging controllers and modifying robot constants, Cheesy Vision, single threaded autonomous scripting, and more. Check it out!
On Tuesday, June 10th, Teams 254s, 971 and 1868 met with NASA Ames' Director Dr. Simon P. Worden, to celebrate the accomplishments of the teams and thank Dr. Worden for the center's generous sponsorship over the years.
The 3 teams were recognized for their success in the FRC, VEX, and Botball competitions this past year and all the students were given certificates. The teams thanked NASA, their mentors, and their parents for all the support they've received throughout the lifespan of the team.
Members of the audience also got to re-watch some of the exciting Einstein finals matches and relive Team 254's World Championship win.
A dessert reception hosted by Team 1868 and socializing took place after the event.
Today (June 6th, 2014), 4 students and 2 mentors demoed Barrage to a long-time sponsor, Ooyala. We gave a presentation about FIRST and demoed the functionality of our robot. We were able to demonstrate the pass to the human player and the employees at Ooyala jumped in and threw balls at the robot. We taught those who wanted to learn how to drive our robot. Thanks to Ooyala for being a great audience and especially thanks for the great pizza!
On June 3rd, 4 members from our team, along with our 2014 world championship robot Barrage, gave a demo at the Design Automation Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Along with countless other booths, Mentor Graphics, a company that mentors and sponsors teams in the Oregon area had a booth where students presented. We were able to demo the short human pass as well as the auto-intake functionality. We explained the basics of the robot and the game to people from the design industry. This was a new and exciting event for Team 254 and one we hope to attend again in the future.
This past week, 15 members of Bellarmine's VEX Robotics Team 254 competed at the VEX World Championship. Team 254D (led by Elias Wu '14, Tyler Cuff '14, Jeffrey Kaufman ‘15, and Tarun Midde '15) ranked 7th in it's division, and Team 254G (led by Eric Wang '17 and Goutham Gnanasekaran '14) ranked 22nd in it's division after the qualification matches. Both made it to the Elimination matches as part of the 6th alliance (out of 8 alliances) in their respective divisions. Although the odds were against them, both made it to the finals of their respective divisions. Because of the structure of the competition, both always faced alliances that were ranked higher, and yet managed to make it to the finals. Both even won one of the three finals matches. Team 254D won the overall Website award, and Team 254G won the Teamwork award in their division.
After intense qualification matches in the Technology Division, 254G ended with a 6-4-0 record and a 22nd rank. 254G started out strong with three consecutive wins against opposing alliances on Thursday. However, matches after that were much more difficult. 254G would then go on to lose two matches in a row Friday morning, but was able to maintain a winning record through Saturday to finish with a 22 rank in the division. 254G also won the Teamwork Award in the Technology Division, which was a pleasant surprise for the team after their tough matches.
Team 254D also had a series of challenging qualification matches in the Science Division. They began on Thursday with several difficult matches caused by tough opponents and unlucky alliances. Nevertheless, 254D rebounded in the qualification matches on Friday and Saturday to end up with a 7-2-1 record, ranked 7th in the division.
In the Technology Division, 254G allied with sixth seed 7232C and ninth seed 2213D for the eliminations matches. Despite being one of the lower ranked alliances, they made it all the way to the finals in their division. All of our rounds in division eliminations were difficult, with every one of them going to a third tiebreaker match. The first round ended in a tiebreaker match against an alliance led by third seed 1893B. 254G’s alliance won by just 2 points in that match with a final score of 42-44. Next, they faced the alliance led by 1575D which also ended in a tiebreaker match. However, this one was way more intense. After what seemed like a crushing loss for our alliance, the score was revealed to show that the opposing alliance had suffered a disqualification. The final score of the match was 9-0, with 7232C, 2213D, and 254G advancing to the finals. Our alliance lost the first match by a score of 45-34 to 169E’s alliance, but we were able to rebound and win the next match by a score of 52-32. Finally, 254G and 2213D competed in the last match of the final round. Our opponents won autonomous and were able to defend the goal zone successfully. The final score of the match was 43-30, in favor of 169E’s alliance. 169E, 1460J, and 136M advanced to the Round Robin. Overall, this was a very successful year for 254G and we hope to experience similar success in the future.
During alliance selection, 254D was bumped up to the 6th seed. They declined an alliance with the 3rd seed team, 5139A, instead choosing to captain their own alliance with teams 2941D and 2880A. They went on to face the 3rd seed alliance in the quarterfinals. After losing by a huge margin of 82-4 in the first match as a result of tipping during the autonomous, 254D and its partners went on to beat the 3rd seed alliance, made up of 5139A, 800B, and 4194F, in two consecutive matches. In the semifinals, 254D competed against the 2nd seed alliance, captained by Team 26, along with 231A and 9090A. They defeated the opponents in the first two matches through a combination of a successful autonomous, strong defense, and by changing game strategy with their partners each match. Then, as the 6th seed alliance, 254D went up against their biggest challenge in facing the 1st seed alliance in the division finals. Team 1136A led the opposing alliance with teams 1961C and 6135B. Unfortunately, after playing in every single one of the previous elimination matches, 254D’s robot suffered motor and cortex difficulties in the finals. They lost the first match, won the second, and ultimately lost a tense final match. While this was a disappointing loss for 254D, they nevertheless performed extremely well against highly difficult odds, and they are proud of their accomplishments.
After Competition After a great season, the members of Team 254 enjoyed the traditional evening of fun at Dave & Buster’s. In surprising turn of luck, they collectively managed to score a series of jackpots, pooling their winnings to buy a cheap remote-controlled helicopter (unfortunately, D&B lacked quality yo-yos). After returning to the hotel, Team 254 had fun playing with their new toy. Overall, this year’s VEX World Championship was a memorable experience for Team 254.