First off, I had a blast. The Grant physics teacher Mr. Khan and I took three kids and a Peaucellier robot design to Disney World ESPN Sports Center to compete in the Vex World Championships. We placed 36th out of 104 teams with 5-3-1 record in the Technology division but didn’t get picked for the elimination rounds. They did receive the Support Award in their division. Got a chance to see some old friends, meet some new ones .
We were holed up in a one room family suite for four nites with one bathroom , one king size bed and 3 little bunk beds partitioned off by what was supposed to look like a small fort. Needless to say, we got very little sleep but lots of laughs. I forgot what it was like to be cooped up with three teenagers, two of which were dedicated pranksters. They got me only once I think.
Yehabots: The highlight was finally meeting up with my Spanish friends the Yehabots and their founder/mentor Irene Alverez Caro who I first met when she was an exchange student working with our Robodox team a few years ago. I bought her a couple of Vex kits and urged her to start the first Spanish Vex team. Not only did she start a team that year but took them to England and won the European qualification ROBOT RUMBLE II championship. They couldn’t make it to Dallas that year but they made it this year. Since then she has been active in starting the ARCE Spanish robotics competition organization , and hosting the first Vex European qualifying tournament in Madrid, Spain called GALAPABOT 10.
Robot: Overall, I was quite pleased at how well the robot held up. There were no problems with the Peaucellier extra linkages as I had feared. We got quite a lot of interest once teams realized what it did. Some teams had even tried to implement a similar linkage and failed. We had this Grant Peaucellier Powerpoint going for the judges and onlookers who may have not been familiar with this unique linear linkage movement.
Admittedly, more could have been done to lower the cg but the primary thing that hurt us were problem potentiometers in the claw and arm failing open. This resulted in a one-way ratcheting motion and eventual loss of control which in the arm case left the arm up and we eventually tipped over. This cost us a very key match and almost led to a team meltdown due to the stress of the incident. From now on, I will make sure that there is a limit override switch that allows the driver to remove the electronic limits for just this kind of failure.
Support Award: A big surprise for us was receiving this award voted on by the teams in the Technology division. In case you didn’t know:
Tournament Champions: Each Team on Winning Alliance
High School Team Organization Team Name City State/Country
44 Green Egg Robotics Club Green Egg Robotics Oakham MA
1492Z Bellevue Tutoring Club W.A.S.A.B.I. 2 Bellevue WA
1114M Governor Simcoe Secondary School Simbotics Ontario Canada
Tournament Finalists: Each Team on Finalist Alliance
2213D Voc. Antonio Lucchetti Advanced San Juan Puerto Rico
2205A Vocacional Metropolitana The Pioneers Carolina Puerto Rico
2587D Lamar High School DiscoBots Houston TX
Overall Excellence Award: Top All Around Team (Robot Performance and Judged)
254A Bellarmine College Prep The Cheesy Poofs San Jose CA
A side note: I rode back on the airplane with Charlie , one of the chief student designers of the 254a robot. He walked me through the drawings of how this robot went through many design iterations to squeeze all the components into a very compact design. This robot could compress enough to go under the 4 in tower supports yet also have a very effective arm that could score one tube and descore four tubes. It wound up in the semi finals and lost because their alliance partner tipped over during autonomous. A really sad event. I was very impressed with the 3 months of CAD design these guys did prior to building the robot.