2011 Team History
Venom was able to play all aspects of the game. Autonomous programming allowed for top peg scoring. Use of a pneumatic claw allowed retrieval of pieces from the floor and the manipulator could raise or lower to place the game piece tubes on bottom, middle, or top scoring pegs. The Minibot could be deployed quickly and reached the top of the tower within 2 seconds of deployment. Magnets held the Minibot to the pole and motors stripped of gearboxes made for highest possible speeds.
- Alliance Captain
- Quarter Finalist
- Rookie All-Star Award
FIRST Championship Newton Division:
- Alliance Captain
- Quarter Finalist
- Highest Rookie Seed Award
2011 Season Recap:
The 2011 season started right off with some unforeseen difficulties. While trying to view the kickoff from one of our coach's classrooms, it was discovered that his computer was unable to stream the footage. It ended up being easiest to pile into a team member's living room and watch the stream from there.
After learning the basics of LogoMotion™, it was decided that a telescoping, forklift-like lift was the best way to elevate game pieces to the desired scoring level. It took several weeks to get the details worked out, and it was pushing week 4 before we had a functional lift.
After the major difficulties our sister team Haywire had last year with a crab drive system, we decided to keep things simple, going with four wheel tank drive and a kit chassis.
Programming was a unique challenge as no one on the team was fluent in LabVIEW. The first few weeks were spent learning the language and configuring the networking. One of the experienced programmers was still under the impression that a gaming adaptor was utilized to talk from the classmate to the cRIO. After realizing that no gaming adaptor was needed, things went a lot more quickly!
By the end of week 4, our chassis and arm were functional. Mr. Greg Fellman of JCPenney was graciously able to get us a space in the local mall to showcase our robot for the day and practice driving. It was an awesome experience for PR, and the drivers were able to get a lot of good practice scoring tubes. The experience would be valuable when it came to the competition.
On ship day, we discovered that some fixes on our arm ended up impairing the lift mechanism. We set up a countdown timer to the midnight deadline and frantically fixed things to make them work once again. Half an hour before midnight, we finished up and bagged the robot!
During the weeks between ship and the competition, the big task was autonomous. It was decided that the fastest way to make a functional autonomous mode was to use the line tracking sensors to know when the end T has been reached. After a complicated week of coding, it was satisfactorily finished, ready to be tested at competition.
Finally, it was time to compete! Thursday in Sacramento was mostly spent fixing problems. Autonomous almost worked, but the minibot had problems falling off and the drive train had trouble turning due to too much traction. Duct tape on the front wheels fixed the latter problem (after a long debate finally determined it to be legal), and autonomous was tweaked to where it worked a couple times throughout the tournament. The minibot was fixed to stay on better, and worked many times, but was fairly slow.
Thursday, being St. Patrick's Day, included the execution of Operation Green Socks. We wanted to do something in celebration of the holiday, so LiveWire dyed a bunch of socks green. Each team member wore one sock and distributed the other to someone else at the competition. It was a very unique aspect of the competition.
After finishing qualification matches, LiveWire was ranked 13th! We stayed up late Friday night scouting, so the captain felt ready for the alliance selection. Top 8 teams continued to pick top 8 teams, so LiveWire moved up to 8th seed and got to choose our alliance! We picked 1280 and 3669, but had to play the number 1 alliance. We played well, but didn't have quite enough to move on.
The competition came to a close in a very satisfactory way during the awards Saturday night. LiveWire won the Rookie All-Star Award, qualifying us for the FIRST Championship! As soon as the team found out the news, everyone started jumping up and down, hugging everyone, and having an awesome celebration!
Between Sacramento and the Championship, the minibot took precedence on improvement. It was taken from 7 seconds to under 2 seconds! The deployment was modified to work with the new minibot, and we packed up for the competition.
Wednesday night in St. Louis was crazy. We had planned to replace the front wheels, speed up the lift, change out the minibot and deployment, replace the line tracking sensors, fix autonomous code, and get through inspection. After getting trapped on the metro, lost several times, and thoroughly soaked by the rain, we found our way to the venue and were only able to get about half the list completed. But we easily passed inspection, being underweight even with the battery on!
Thursday was spent finishing up the list from the previous night. We finally got finished and played some really good qualification matches, even winding up in first on the rankings for the span of a few matches!
We also started a new tradition in St. Louis. We obtained some foam potatos from Simplot that we embellished with our team name and number, and the drive team took a couple before every match. As our team was announced, the drive team would throw their potatos into the stands. It was really neat, and is definitely going to be a new LiveWire tradition!
It was a lot of fun competing in the dome on Friday. We played very well again, and apart from autonomous, had very few issues. The Black Eyed Peas concert was really neat. Being in the very top of the dome, most of the team was able to stand up and dance, and it was overall a great time.
We played two more matches on Saturday, winning one and losing one. But very fortunately, communication issues allowed us to replay the match we lost! This time we were able to regroup and come through with the win! That put us in 10th place in the rankings going into alliance selection!
After two teams in the top 8 picked other top 8 teams, LiveWire was moved into 8th and was given the opportunity to choose our alliance at the Championship! We picked 525 and 2046, two very capable teams. But alas, we had to play the number 1 seed again, and the dominance of 233 and 3138 were too much for us to overcome. But we played very well and scored over 100 points!
The 10th place qualification ranking also gave us the Highest Rookie Seed Award! It was so cool to win an award at the Championship!
Overall, LiveWire without doubt had an amazing season. Two awards, a great robot, and the opportunity to attend Championships made it a season that'll be hard to beat in coming years. But we're up to the challenge and ready for the 2012 FRC season to begin!