From: Aidan Beckman
FTC Team 11581
FRC Team 3090
We thank area businesses for their generous donations. Our team has been able to use the money and in-kind donations for many different things. As you may know, we went to nationals this year and we wouldn’t have been able to go without your generous donations.
This was the first year when we participated in the FTC (First Tech Challenge). It is a smaller scale competition with simpler robots, making it easier for new or younger students to get a taste for robotics without becoming overwhelmed. We did very well this past year in this competition, placing in the top eight and advancing to the quarterfinals in both competitions we competed in. We will participate in FTC next year to get new members interested, and we would gladly accept funding/sponsorship again for this competition.
The FRC competition began in January with the kickoff and unveiling of the game for the robots to compete in. We then had six weeks to design and build the robot. Following that time was the scrimmage, where we had some communication issues between the robot and the driver’s station, and unfortunately didn’t get much practice driving the robot. We then had two days to work out the issues and finish the robot before we had to stop building and bag the robot for the competition.
For the first time, a competition was held in La Crosse, and we were glad to have a closer venue than Minneapolis. Our robot performed as expected, but some mechanical issues limited our final ranking.
Those teams that make it to the finals qualify to go to the National Robotics Competition in St. Louis, Mo. However, not all teams have the sponsorship and funding to afford to go. When this happens, teams on a waiting list who have the money to go are selected to take their place at nationals. We were selected this year and were thrilled to have the opportunity to go to nationals for the first time. Your sponsorships made this possible, and we are very thankful.
The National Robotics Competition was a great experience for the whole team. There were many incredible robots and teams to see and talk to. We also attended various workshops to see different technologies and strategies to implement in future years. It was a thrilling competition!
With all the exciting and new experiences this year, we have really learned a lot and hope to perform better next year. We plan to implement what we have taken from nationals and the other competitions and struggles this year. Some of the workshops we went to included ways to use vision processing to make a more reliable and better-performing robot, as well as team-building strategies to better our working relationships and become more productive.
These new ideas and plans for next year cannot be accomplished alone. The vision processing will require some new hardware and time to learn the techniques. Funding, as well as knowledgeable mentors, are important and always helpful to ensure that we can make a great robot for years to come.
We thank you once again for your contributions to our robotics team. We hope to continue strengthening our relationships; we would also graciously welcome anyone who can assist the team with his/her expertise.