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FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

FIRST Topsite

FIRST Vex Competition

     The Upper Darby VEX Team went to the University of Delaware on January 21st, 2006. Vex is a competition that high schools can enter in from all over the world. VEX is a competition which inspires and teaches students to solve problems by simulating situations similar to those faced in the real world, in a game setting. However, we at Upper Darby used this as an opportunity to introduce freshmen members to Robotics. From the Kit Of VEX Parts, we were able to build a robot to compete in this competition.

     During this challenge we experienced highs and lows in our process of building a robot that worked for this game. Our objective for the human control part of the competition was to get balls off an auto-loader, which is a metal rack attached to the wall, and to score the balls into either a tall center goal, or four corner goals found at the tops of ramps. To receive bonus points your team had to control a goal by having more colored balls in it then your opponent, or end on one of the three platforms around the center goal.

     In order tocontrol our robot we used several motors which were involved in a variety of movements, including but not limited to driving, ball retrevial and ball replacement. One interesting control aspect of our robot was the use of three line trackers that were able to pick up readings off of a white line.

     The hardest changelle we faced was programming autonomous mode. Autonomous is when the robot had to drive automatically without human control. During this time the objective was to collect balls off of the auto-loader, or the ground, and back onto the platform within 45 seconds. We figured out a six point play for autonomous which was to dump a ball into the corner goal then drive down to the platform. We preformed successfully in most rounds.

     During the human control rounds we faced difficulties while attempting to operate our robot. That’s when Murphy’s Law caught up to us, “What can go wrong, will go wrong.” We had many problems, especially with one of our motors, the clutch that drove the right side of the robot failed, making it impossible to drive straight. Our two drivers, Lauren Campion and Jenn Knowlton, strived to overcome this difficulty by persurvering during these matches. Dispite these problems we earned a respectful 3rd place finish before finals.

     Along with our two alliance partners, team number 101 and 60, we worked together winning one of three quarter final matches, unfortunately not progressing to the semi-finals.

     All in all, our entire VEX competition was unforgettable. As a team we learned to work with others, while experiencing all the highs and lows that take place during a competition. It would never have been possible to make it as far as we did without our mentors, Mr. Troy, Mr. Crane, and also our coach Sree Dandamudi.

Our robot is located on the right side of the picture. Our arm is where our balls are stored in our robot. Our robot had tank treads which feed the balls into it, storing balls on the bottom as well as on the top of the tank treads by adding two curved metal pieces and attaching it to the end of the arm as you see above, allowing the balls to follow it’s line and end up on the top of the tank treads. We had a stopped at the other side of the top of the arm so that the balls did not fall out while the arm was down.

Testing our robot

Getting ready for autonomous

Starting autonomous

How beautiful


Article by Lauren Campion, Jenn Knowlton
Posted on 2006-01-29