The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

I’ll settle for a silver for Seattle!

Posted by Deliverator on April 24th, 2005

It is 12:30 am here as I begin this entry, and by the time I finish it, it will be much later. For the fourth night in a row, I will probably be getting less than 5 hours sleep, but I feel it is very important to strike while the iron is hot. I have a lot to say and while I hopefully will have a chance to write more in the coming days, real life has a tendency to intrude and push projects to the back burner. I am already booked until Thursday, for work, so who knows. For those of you who have been following the recent entries regarding Atlanta, here is the skinny about today’s events.

As of last night, we were extremely frustrated by our poor standings in the rankings (partly due to being randomly computer assigned to very weak teams). Even if we won our remaining two matches (held today), we would only finish with a 4 and 3 record for the qualifier round. This guaranteed that we would be unable to captain our own alliance, and therefore had to rely on another highly ranke team desiring us as a partner. In short, we needed to impress. Ryan stayed up till god knows when, working with Tim and calling Dave in order to understand the autonomous code enough to tweak our autonomous capture paths slightly. By some miracle of understanding and a small army of TRC members to expediate the grunt work, Ryan was able to tweak the code this morning before our first match (which we won) and again before our second match (which we lost). The changes in autonomous mode (and some last minute evangelism after a trip to Kinco’s to print up fact sheets) were enough to gain us an invitation to join Alliance 8! Our alliance performed very strongly in the playoff matches. I have always felt we play our best when playing with and against strong opponent. At least two of our matches were broadcast internationally on the Nasa TV channel. Our alliance advanced all the way to the Galileo division championship before being defeated by an alliance consisting of teams 56,64 and 254. The alliance that defeated us played for the FIRST World Championship and was narrowly defeated in the double elemination championship match. While I would have loved to play for the FIRST World Championship, I do feel that their alliance was better able to champion Galileo for the world title. The world title matches ended up resulting in huge numbers of tetras stacked as many as 9 high. It was the first matches that I have seen where I actually believed they might run our of tetras to stack. I have a feeling that our alliance, with only 1 robot capable of that level of high stacking, would have been seriously overmatched for the title. I am very pleased to have ended our season in style. After our domination of the field at the PNW regional, to have been sent packing from the national championship would have been humiliating. As it ended up, our alliance was second to only 4 others in the entire world! This year, over 1300 teams were involved in FRC, with 340 from the US, Canada, Brazil, Israel, France and other countries being represented at Atlanta. I am very proud that our team has been able to play competitively with the best of them. With a budget of $14k for the year, our team has a budget that is roughly a tenth of that of some and far less experience than the winners. Team numbers were originally assigned in numerical order. Ryan told me this afternoon that no team with a number above ~250 has ever won the national (now world) championship. TRC, teamnumber 492, has won back to back PNW regionals and has now competed in the Galileo championship two years in a row. Am I overjoyed to be coming home with a silver metal and a nice trophy? You better believe it! Next year, I predict you will see us playing for all the marbles!

After the awards ceremonies, we headed over to the Olympic Park for the post competition ending festivities. Most of the sizeable park had been barricaded off and turned into a huge carnival with rides, a climbing wall, carnival games, magicians, jugglers and enough food to feed several thousand. To close out the night, FIRST put on a firework show that shook the city from end to end. I watched from the hotel and the booms were very loud. I can only imagine what it was like for the people on the ground. I asked people to hustle back after the fireworks so that we could meet with team 842 in their hotel, nearby. Team 842, a HS team from Arizona, garnered major media attention recently by narrowly besting MIT in the national underwater robotics competition, put on by the Marine Advanced Technology and Education Center. We are seriously considering entering the MATE competition next year and will be building a ROV as an end of year project, so we wanted to pick their brains. I had already spoken to their head mentor, Fredi for quite a while over the last few days, so the meeting was mainly to inspire the team. They definitely came out of the meeting eager and feeling like this was something we could do. It is small surprise to me that team 842 won this years “Engineering Inspiration award,” which is considered only second to the “Chairman’s award” in prestige of the non-competion honors that FIRST awards. I am looking forward to building the ROV and continuing our new found friendship with 842 during the long MATE build season.