Tag Archives: F.I.R.S.T. robotics

DevilStorm Robotics Proves Itself at FIRST Competition

by Sean Brna, JobGiraffe Editor At Large

The DevilStorm Robotics team from Hinsdale Central High School has finished competing in the FIRST Robotics 2015 Midwest Regional Competition recently held at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. In only their second year of competing in this prestigious robotics competition,robo3 we are proud to announce that they, and their robot Stanley, fought valiantly and won 5 out of their 10 matches. This earned them a spot in the quarterfinals where they  teamed up with two other high ranking teams. Unfortunately they did not make it out of the quarterfinals, but that’s okay! For a second-year team their performance is commendable and we at JobGiraffe could not be prouder! And while winning it all would have been nice, we know that just building a robot from scratch – a robot that was competitive in an intense tournament such as this – is really a win in and of itself.

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Congratulations to the DevilStorm robotics team, we can’t wait to see what you come up with next year!robo4

By the way… the team could always use additional funding as well as help from mentors, if you’d like to help you may email devilstormrobotics@gmail.com. Additionally, you can follow the team and learn more about the specifics of their progress on Facebook at http://devilstormrobotics.cmail2.com/t/t-l-tytuzl-iljrjtvt-r/ and on Twitter at http://devilstormrobotics.cmail2.com/t/t-l-tytuzl-iljrjtvt-y/.

DevilStorm Gets Ready for FIRST Robotics Competition

We’d like to provide another update on the progress of the proudly JobGiraffe sponsored DevilStorm Robotics Team from Hinsdale Central High School. They are now in the middle of their ‘Build Season’, the 6 week long period when they must design and build their robot before it competes in the regional FIRST Robotics competition (it is called Recycle Rush and you can read all the details about it here)._DSC1775The mechanical department of the DevilStorm team has moved from designing their parts within a CAD software program (computer-animated design) to actually ordering their parts and beginning to assemble them. Of course, since they designed their parts on a computer the parts they ordered are not exactly to the specifications they need, so they had to fix these discrepancies themselves. Next, they moved onto actually manufacturing & building the subsystems of the robot, which included building a tower section with steel cable supports to create a lifting mechanism, as well as several gearboxes that allow the lifting to actually work.

_DSC1822The programming department has been working on implementing computer vision, which will essentially be what allows the robot to see and identify containers that need to be picked up during the autonomous part of the competition (in which the robot will work on it’s own without input from the team). They have also been working on the very important controllers that will be used during the part of the competition in which the team controls the robot. As you might imagine these controllers working correctly is paramount to the robot’s success.

_DSC1631The electrical department has been playing a bit of a waiting game because the parts of the already assembled robot are completely wired, meaning they are waiting for more components of the robot to be complete before more wiring is necessary. In the meantime they have been researching for the right encoders to be used on the robot, encoders that will help convert the computer’s instructions into the correct electrical signals to be sent to the mechanical components of the robot.

_DSC1610The logistics department had a big win by securing two new sponsors for the team, and they could have a third one soon as well. They have also been updating several documents related to inventory and budgeting, which then informs them on another important responsibility of theirs, parts ordering. One of the logistics department’s roles is to keep everyone else organized and on target, and it seems that they’ve been quite successful in this regard.

In other news the team has finally decided on a name for the robot, it shall be known as Stanley! We are always excited to hear the updates from the DevilStorm Robotics team, and are always impressed by the quick progress they are making in the complicated process of creating a robot from scratch in just 6 weeks time.

The team could always use additional funding as well as help from mentors, if you’d like to help you may email devilstormrobotics@gmail.com. Additionally, you can follow the team and learn more about the specifics of their progress on Facebook at http://devilstormrobotics.cmail2.com/t/t-l-tytuzl-iljrjtvt-r/ and on Twitter at http://devilstormrobotics.cmail2.com/t/t-l-tytuzl-iljrjtvt-y/.

DevilStorm Robotics Team Update

by Sean Brna

The Hinsdale Central High School robotics team, which JobGiraffe proudly sponsors and roots for, has made great progress lately. They are in the beginning of their 6 week long ‘Build Season’, in which they have to design and build their robot that will compete in the Midwest regional FIRST Robotics Competition. This year’s competition is called Recycle Rush (and you can read all the details about that here). DevilStorm’s team members have been separated into departments of sorts, meaning that certain students focus on certain components of the robot’s design, after which they then have to work together to make sure each component works well with all the others. It’s not a simple process, but progress is being made!

DevilStorm robotics, JobGiraffe

The mechanical part of the team has finished the very important CAD development stage of the building process. CAD stands for Computer-Animated-Design, meaning the students learn about, and then use, complex software so as to design the integral parts of the robot. In this picture you can see the students analyzing the design of the motor controllers for the robot, which will be the part of the robot that allows it to drive.

DevilStorm robotics team, JobGiraffe

But the robot is not all mechanical – it is also part computer! Without computerization, the robot would not be able to accomplish its intricate recycling-related goals. With the help of their mentors, as well as with help from the FIRST Coding Library, the computer part of the team has successfully simplified the programming code, which controls the computer software within their robot. This coding simplification will help their robot run in a more optimal manner related to its specific operation goals. Keep in mind that the robot must be able to run self-sufficiently, as well as be controlled by the students; meaning the efficiency of the code is quite important!

DevilStorm robotics team, JobGiraffe

The electrical side of the team has successfully connected all the motor controls to the robot, meaning it has full movement capabilities. In doing so they have also taught the younger members on the team exactly how one goes about wiring a dynamic machine such as this. One of the more complicated aspects of this process is working with the programmers, so that the code they write correctly knows how to communicate with the robot’s wiring – which is what will allow it to move and operate in exactly the way they wish it to.

DevilStorm Robotics Team, JobGiraffe

And lastly, the “driver station” has received a nifty looking laser-cut design depicting the team’s logo, which is half-robot/half-devil figure that looks very intense indeed!

We are excited to see the next steps in the ‘Build Season’, and see what the DevilStorm robot team will look like as it continues to take shape!

To follow the team and learn more about the specifics of their progress you may follow them on Facebook at http://devilstormrobotics.cmail2.com/t/t-l-tytuzl-iljrjtvt-r/ and on Twitter at http://devilstormrobotics.cmail2.com/t/t-l-tytuzl-iljrjtvt-y/.

The ‘Build Season’ Begins for the DevilStorm Robotics Team

In case you didn’t know, JobGiraffe is a proud sponsor – and fan – of Hinsdale Central High School’s robotics team, DevilStorm Robotics. They are a part of the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) nationwide robotics competition and will take part in the Midwest Regional Competition this spring. The aim of FRC is to inspire young people to be the future leaders within science and technology, while along the way also teaching them other useful skills such as teamwork, mentoring, fundraising, and communication. Last year, DevilStorm did quite well and won the Rookie All-Star Award for the Midwest region.

The 2015 competition officially got underway last Saturday with the announcement of this year’s challenge, which is appropriately called ‘Recycle Rush’. The team will now enter the six-week long ‘Build Season’, in which the team has to first design and prototype ideas for the robot before actually building it.

The Recycle Rush challenge is interesting in that it will challenge the robotics team to not only create a dynamic and complex machine to accomplish its tasks, but also to think about tackling a much larger issue that is important to our environment and the planet.

 

The objective is to build stacks of totes (rectangular recycling containers), and then to place recycling bins (in a traditional recycling/garbage can shape) on top of them, into which the robots will then need to ‘recycle’ litter, which will be represented by pool noodles. Two ‘alliances’ of three teams each will face off against each other in this competition within an area that measures 54’ long and 27’ wide. Within that area will be a ‘landfill zone’, an ‘auto zone’ in-between, and ‘scoring platforms’ (where the totes must be stacked to receive points).

Each 2 minute and 30 second match begins with a 15 second autonomous period, in which the robot must operate independently of any human input. The remaining 2 minutes and 15 seconds are called the Teleop Period. During this time, the robots are controlled remotely by the student drivers. The three teams of each alliance must work together to place as many totes on their scoring platforms as possible. There is the additional twist that recycling containers at greater heights earn an alliance more points. An alliance can also earn points by disposing of their litter in either their landfill zone or by placing litter in or on scored recycling containers. If you leave any un-scored litter marked in the other alliance’s color on your side of the field it will be considered unprocessed and not properly disposed of, resulting in points for the other alliance. An alliance can also earn ‘Cooperation Points’ through coordinating well with the other alliance in the match, which may seem counter intuitive at first, but really does reflect the fact that recycling is something we all benefit from.

What’s clear is that there are many different ways to receive points, or to make each piece of litter moved more valuable. This means that a complex and well thought out strategy will be necessary; in addition to teamwork and building a robot that can actually do the hard work. These students have a lot on their hands!

We are happy to hear that the DevilStorm team has already begun to brainstorm and share their ideas for their robot and have even begun designing and prototyping ideas. And that is just after one week of knowing what the competition would be! They have brought on an engineering teacher to their team, along with an FRC team alum, which are smart moves that should help them to improve upon last year’s success.

JobGiraffe would like to re-iterate that we are very proud of the DevilStorm robotics team and are very happy to again be one of their sponsors as they go into the 2015 competition. If you’d like to learn more about the FRC Robotics Competition and how you can get involved (as a volunteer, sponsor, mentor or donator) you can learn more at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/get-involved. We will continue to provide updates on the team and their robot as we get closer to competition time.

Good luck to you DevilStorm!

DevilStorm Prepares for its Next Challenge

JobGiraffe, Chicago's leading recruiting and staffing company, sponsors the DevilStorm robot building team.
Members of the Mechanical Division brainstorm ideas for a drive train, the system that moves the entire robot. Ideas that seem promising at this stage can be made into a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file so that the proportions can be tweaked and a prototype can be made.

It’s autumn, and those of you caught up in football and the start of NHL hockey and the NBA may not be aware of it, but robotics season is almost here.

For DevilStorm Robotics, the JobGiraffe sponsored team from Hinsdale Central High School, the new “Build Season” will kickoff on January 3, 2015, when the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) announces this year’s challenge. Every year is a different game, requiring robots with different skills and abilities. Once the DevilStorm team finds out the new challenge, they have six weeks to build and test a robot designed to play the new game.

The DevilStorm team is broken up into different divisions, Programming, Mechanical, Electrical, etc., each responsible for a different phase of the completed robot. The team is now in “pre-season”, with members from last year sharpening and adding to their skills while teaching new members what they need to know to contribute to the project. Pre-season is also the time for fund raising and applying for grants.

JobGiraffe, Chicago's leading recruiting and staffing company,  sponsors high school robot building team
Sophie, from the Electrical Division, diagramming an electrical scheme

For now, the team meets every Tuesday, but once Build Season starts, it will be every day for six weeks until their robot is complete.

Everyone at JobGiraffe is excited about our sponsorship of the DevilStorm Robotics team and is anticipating a great season!

Meet Hinsdale Central’s DevilStorm Robotics Team & Their Creation, Shannon

Robot bannerThis is an interesting story that occurs at the crossroads of education, robotics, competition, and of course – fun. JobGiraffe is a proud sponsor of the inaugural Hinsdale Central FIRST robotics team. They are technically FIRST Robotics Team # 4979, but they proudly go by the name of DevilStorm Robotics (click here to check out their Facebook page).

 

Devil Storm Robot JobGiraffe

A little explanation, the FIRST Robotics Competition is a multi-national competition for high school students. The students work side-by-side with scientists, engineers and teachers with the aim of building their own robot. They build the robot while trying to solve an specific engineering design problem/challenge in a competitive and engaging manner – namely a sports-like competition (which is meant quite literally, the competition occurs in a basketball stadium filled with people who are ardently cheering their favorite robot and team on). As explained on the FIRST Robotics Competition website; each team is given a “Kit of Parts,” a common set of rules, limited resources and time constraints. The teams are then challenged to design, build, and program a 120 lb. robot to perform the tasks of that season’s “game” (to see a demonstration of the specifics of how the game works please check out the video below the article). The students also gain the valuable skills of fundraising, designing a team “brand,” and honing their teamwork skills.

DevilStorm’s robot is named Shannon and she is a quick and nimble little machine. She is designed to not only maneuver the court of the game, which is called Aerial Assist, but to also throw a ball into one of two different “goals” (one of which is higher, resulting in more points), and to use her bumpers and speed to try and stop the other team’s robots from making any goals themselves. You can also get points for assists, or moving into the other teams space, successfully passing the ball to robot on your team, and for a variety of other Robot team photofeats (again, the video below explains the specifics of game the best). Each match is split into two different sections, an autonomous part and a human-controlled part. The exciting part about all of this is that Shannon was successfully designed to play this game all on her own, without any input from humans, as well as to be remote controlled. Now that’s impressive!

We are proud to announce that the DevilStorm Robotics team recently competed in their first robotics competition, the Midwest Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. They ended up being on the winning alliance/team for 6 of the 12 qualification matches. Even more impressively they were awarded the Rookie All-Star Award for the Midwest region! Because of this they have been invited to the World Championship Competition that will be held in St. Louis at the end of April. In St. Louis there will be approximately 400 teams, invited from around the world. It’s clearly a large honor to be invited, especially as a rookie team.

We at JobGiraffe are very proud of DevilStorm Robotics team and their fantastic achievement in being awarded the Rookie All-Star Award! If you’d like to see more pictures, or to contact the team for potential sponsorship, please visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/devilstormrobotics.

Good luck to Shannon at the World Championship Competition, we’ll be rooting for you!