2012 Team History

Game: Rebound Rumble™

Robot: Mis. Fathom

                     Utah Regional                               FIRST World Championships

Two speed gearboxes and a two wheel drive system make for a slick chassis design. Pneumatically controlled retractable casters provide balance without impeding barrier crossing. Low center of gravity, aided by teflon slides allow Mis. Fathom to cross the barrier with hardly a pause. A wide-design harvester is able to grab game pieces from anywhere on the field and quickly feed to a CIM driven shooter, which accurately scores, especially in the top basket. Multiple autonomous codes allow us to start anywhere in the key - complimenting any alliance! Addition of the “Kredge Grapnel”, an anchor-like device, allows us to quickly balance a bridge with three robots.


Utah Regional:

  • Quarter Finalist
  • Regional Chairman's Award

FIRST Championships Archimedes Division

2012 Season Recap:

After a long summer filled with as many outreach activities as we could think of, LiveWire was ready for the beginning of the 2012 Rebound Rumble build season. The year was marked by our move into a new shop in the Pine Ridge Mall! It was an incredible location, extremely spacious, and programming team got their very own room that was actually large enough for all their computers! It was a true asset throughout the entire season to have such a location, as it included adequate space for a full-sized half practice field, assembled in a few weeks by the Rules and Tools groups, including two bridges and all 4 baskets and vision targets.

Programming got off to a fast start, figuring out how to utilize nearly every sensor available and configuring the control system in less than one week! That's never happened as quickly before, which was very exciting. They even figured out how to make the robot drive straight using only a gyro!

The build team decided to go with a very innovative design. To cross the bump in the center of the field, a two wheeled chassis with retractable casters was to be built. Though it turned out awesome in the end, it took about five weeks to actually complete! This meant that the original swiveling cannon idea for a manipulator was unfortunately out of the question, so a one in the morning redesign resulted in a pneumatic claw to pick up the balls and feed them into a four-wheeled shooter. It was designed and built in less than one week and everything was mounted and wired during the "infamous all-nighter". Staying from 5:30pm until 5:30am, then arriving at 7:00 am the next day and staying until 9:00 pm, it definitely broke some late night records! It was during this time we thought of a name for the robot: "Mis. Fathom." A nautical theme had been developed, so we began measuring things in fathoms, the robot was obviously a girl, since all ships are girls, and we "misfathomed" or "misconstrued" how difficult she would be to build. Thus the name puns on all of those. It was very funny when we thought of it at three in the morning.

We (mostly Mr. Angle) invented some new words as well. Since the bumpers had to be "disparallel" with the chassis, they were deemed "paradiagonal," which became a recurring motif for the rest of the season.

But it was overall very productive (until the food arrived), and we were able to drive at the Wire Rumble Week Zero Showcase the next day. This event was open to the public and a great opportunity to document our robots to everyone. Team 4175 from Driggs was even able to join us!

Finally, with 26 seconds to spare, the robot was bagged and tagged and ready for competition. We kept the shooter to try to make it more accurate and give the balls more backspin. Dirk spent many days trying to configure CAN in order to keep the shooter wheels running at a consistent speed for accuracy. He was able to get it implemented in time for the regional.

All throughout the season, and even before the season, we were continually involved in outreach activities. Primarily, we started two rookie FRC teams! One in Declo, 4178 Bott-Wired, and another in Twin Falls, 4086 Team Tesla. We worked with these teams extensively throughout the season, from inviting them to join us in our shop at kickoff to weekly teleconferences and near daily emails and phone calls. It was great working with each of them, and with 4175 Top of the Mountain, from Driggs as well. What was even better is that 4175 and 4178 would both be competing in Utah with us!

We also hosted two summer camps last summer, one in Pocatello and one in Twin Falls, FLL coaching workshops, Boy Scout merit badge workshops, FLL mentoring and volunteering, and tons of other activities, including implementing our "Literacy Platform". We really made a name for ourselves in our community and it was great the things we were able to do for so many other people.

We were able to acquire an awesome robot truck this year, which we got covered in stickers with our logos as well as those of FIRST. It was very neat and offered a great way of transporting everything we'd need for the regional. We loaded up the truck with all our tools as well as those for the mobile machine shop, which we would be providing for the entire Utah Regional!

After driving the robot truck to the Maverick Center in Salt Lake City Wednesday afternoon (it actually drove at 65mph without scaring anyone!), we were able to unload into the venue and set up the machine shop. It was an awesome arena! There was so much room compared to the Huntsman Center, and the pits and arena were able to be on the same floor as well. It was truly one of the best venues in which we've ever competed.

Thursday began the competition practice day. We had some issues, mostly in the control system that took National Instruments over an hour to diagnose, but we finally got them figured out. The robot was unable to score, as it was inaccurate and unable to pick up balls well, but balancing became a strength.

There were some very cool teams there as well. We were able to converse with 399 from California, one of the most competitive teams in the competition, as well as 2486, the CocoNuts, who quickly became our favorite team! They had also won Chairman's in their second year, and since they weren't presenting at the Utah Regional, they helped us out and we quickly became good friends.

Thursday night was marked first by an eventful dinner at Chili's -- our machinist Tanner definitely created some stories we won't forget soon. It was lots of fun though! We then headed back to the hotel and worked for many hours finishing various PR things. Mrs. Margulieux's printer didn't work, so we made an 11:00 pm printer run, which turned out rather successful. We only stayed up until 2:00 or 3:00 am before getting to bed with everything finished.

Friday started well when we were the first to succeed in double balancing, but was plagued by many issues we couldn't seem to figure out. At least the Chairman's presentation team felt as though their presentation went amazingly well! The highlight of the day was definitely the ending. We triple balanced on the practice field with 4175 and 3230! It was easily the loudest cheer of the day when we finally succeeded!

Saturday saw us 24th in ranking but top 15 in OPR (Offensive Power Ranking). The most exciting part was when we were told by 399 and 2122 that we were their third pick! Unfortunately, it didn't get that far, but we were picked by an awesome number 7 alliance of 1332 and 3334. We played well in the quarter finals, winning the first match but losing the remaining two by a matter of 4 or 5 points.

When awards rolled around, everyone was extremely nervous. Our hope rested on Chairman's, as the CocoNuts had already wrapped up Engineering Inspiration. But everything paid off, as it was announced that, in our second year, we had won Chairman's! Everyone was unbelievably happy, hugging everyone and many were crying with joy. As we accepted the award and cut down our top net, we knew our season wasn't over yet!

The weeks before St. Louis were spent completely redesigning the shooter and harvester. After seeing what worked and what didn't, we decided to go with a single-wheeled, hooded shooter and a roller harvester. It was built to be extremely accurate, so Dirk spent weeks writing camera tracking code. Given the shooter in the final two or three days before leaving for St. Louis, he spent nearly all day testing and trying to get everything working. After spending a full 20 hours at the shop, everything was working! The shooter would track the vision target and determine a velocity to shoot the game pieces at to make the basket every time.

Everything was packed and driven to Twin Falls to be driven to St. Louis with Team Tesla, who we had coached to a Rookie All-Star win in Silicon Valley! We flew out of Salt Lake later that afternoon. Since it was Dave's birthday the week before and he didn't tell any of us, we had the flight attendant announce his birthday as turning 14 and enjoying “long walks on the beach, pina coladas, and getting lost in the rain.”

When we arrived, we checked in to our hotel, which was very nice and very close to everywhere we wanted to go. Tuesday was incredible, as we had time to just hang out and explore the city. The City Museum was the highlight of the day; it was a huge area of essentially a jungle gym for adults, where you could climb on everything, with caves and forests and a whole outside area as well. We spent over 6 hours there and would have spent all day, but we had reservations for the Gateway Arch. It was very cool to ride up to the top and view the city from high above.

Everyone then split up for dinner, as well as the next day, going to the transportation museum and the zoo. We had a lot of fun and did some interesting things. We continued singing the LiveWire song, which was written on those very streets one year ago. Every time "360" was on a sign, the person at the front of the line would say "Stop. Turn Around. Continue" and we would all stop and spin, drawing odd looks from everyone.

Throughout the entire week, Mr. Angle had thought to bring one of the pictures of Einstein along on the trip. We decided to take pictures of Einstein in various places, such as in the cockpit of the plane, in the City Museum, and everywhere else we could think of, to document what we hoped to be a trip to the Einstein field at the competition.

Wednesday was also the 4 hour work period in lieu of a practice day. We were able to get everything put on without difficulty (read: everything actually fit together how it should!) but were unable to complete inspection. It wasn't difficult to get inspected before our first match on Thursday, though, which was a good thing. Unfortunately, there were many issues with the robot that we couldn't figure out. The UDP from the camera back to the cRIO wasn't working, meaning the robot couldn't automatically set a velocity for the shooter.

National Instruments spend over 2 hours working on the issue, and neither of the two professionals we worked with could solve the problem. It was frustrating, but we did what we could with it and continued to balance. We even rewrote our autonomous code to feed 2056 game pieces in autonomous, which worked perfectly! That match was our only win, and it was a fun match since 2056 was a really nice and respectful team.

Each night was tons of fun. Thursday was RoboProm, which had over 1,000 kids dancing in one room; when everyone started dancing, the floor literally moved up and down! Anna made an awesome duct tape dress and Dirk wore a tie with LEDs in the shape of "3456." It was one of the most fun events we attended the entire trip. Friday night was the Cardinals-Brewers baseball game. We ended up sitting by the CocoNuts and hanging out with them, even teaching them our flash mob dance afterwards at the stadium!

Saturday began with the choreographed flash mob dance. LiveWire and the CocoNuts all participated in it and other people from the crowd as well. It didn't catch on quite as quickly as we would have hoped, but it was a lot of fun!
We played two more matches before eliminations. We were ranked 99th, but not last! We didn't get picked, but we didn't expect to be picked either. We played our best, but were plagued with so many issues that we could not perform on the field very well.

The Archimedes eliminations turned out to be some of the best matches we've ever seen -- incredibly exciting and intense. Then came Einstein, where we were able to get great seats at the very top. Overall, the competition was a lot of fun and we did our very best throughout.

While that may have been the end of our competition season, we're still heavy into the outreach! We have extensive activities and plans for the summer and next season, and we're very excited to see what it will all bring!