50 Days to Kickoff

Only 50 days left? Wow time flies, the team has come together amazingly over the past four months. Everyone has been extremely productive and engaged. But we are not ready for the season to begin yet(we never are, it might just be me), because of the various school holidays we only have 6 more meetings left before kick off. One of those meetings will be a team build event and one is our mock kick off event so really only 4(!) workable meetings left. Wow a lot to get done before then. Its time to feel the first crunch of the season.

Productivity/Something Else?

In the past we’ve struggled to keep everyone busy, but we haven’t had that problem this year. Our team has never been this large(51 students) either. I think its a combination of a few different things. Students are motivated and willing to find new tasks needed to keep themselves busy. I think this is partly because we have set some lofty goals for this year(swerve, better programming, having a working robot sooner, 100 hours of driver practice).

It also helps that we have 20 second year members, 1 third year member, for a total of 45% of the team’s member having previous robotics experience. Last year we had a smaller ratio of experienced students to new students. 2021 was a hard year for the team and recruiting members was especially hard. These second year students are teaching the new members and finding new work as needed.

A Returning Programming Student Leads New Members

Subgroup Leads

Our sub group leads have been in their role for about 3 weeks now, they are quickly figuring out their responsibilities. Two of their most important responsibilities are ensuring Trello usage and creating/presenting their sub group’s progress during the weekly team recap. The team recap helps every team member keep up to date with each sub groups progress. We are constantly working on improving our recap. We try to make sure that there are gifs or pictures for each talking point. This year we’ve added off season recaps to give ourselves some practice before the season starts. When we get back from our Fall break I will talk to the team in small groups and gather their feedback on how to improve recaps. The team will have completed 3 recaps by then so the students should hopefully have some feedback that we can use to improve.

Another import part of our leadership structure is our weekly sub team lead meeting. The sub group leads and myself sit down in our lobby for a meeting. The leads talk about their sub group’s progress, if there are any blockers and what tasks they plan on working on next. We also talk about how to be an effective leader and any problems that we are having and how we can resolve them.

You know its super serious when we are sitting in the corner on the floor.

Progress Report

It’s been a busy two weeks at the lab. Some manufacturing students have started bolting all of the field perimeter to the floor including the driver stations(we might have been knocking those over frequently during our driver practice sessions). All that remains to get bolted down is the last driver station. Students have been busy assembling swerve modules. We’ve hit the magical number of four assembled modules! Which means last night they got bolted to the frame. CAD still has a few finishing touches to finish up on the belly pan before we can put electronics on it. They would have finished it last night but we were interrupted by the fire alarm going off in the middle of our meeting.

The fire department was nice enough to stop by and turn it off so we could get back to work. The fire alarm was caused by a loss of pressure in the sprinklers, we had this problem a few times before. We used our fire alarm break to do an impromptu game of captain is coming before getting back to work.

The students had some fun this….

Programming has swerve working in simulation for autonomous and operator control. I imagine it will need a bit of work on the real hardware before everything is working. They have also been working on adding more advanced form of logging. This will help us debug faster and make better use of our limited time with the robot.

The business team has been organizing our out reach events. A new event we’ve added this year is demoing our robot at local farmer’s markets. They’ve also been working on a replacement to CAN talks and creating a video to practice syncing pictures and videos to music.

In addition to all of this progress the new members are still busy learning! CAD has finished making their first gear box and they are moving onto mechanism to pickup gears(2017). Programming students are working in small groups to program our kit bot. Business members are learning how to edit videos, take good photos and write compelling essays. Manufacturing students are making practice parts on the lathe and mills, getting practice at making parts within tolerances.






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