Home Stretch!

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What a whirlwind it’s been! Like teams across the country – all over the world, actually – we are frantically working to make the final adjustments to our robot. Right now, it’s all about refining lists and prioritizing. No doubt the teammates are a little tired of my insistency to solve one problem at a time. But that’s what it takes in these final moments, where CAD and finesse will not cut it anymore. Sometimes it takes brute force and a bigger hammer! Safely, of course. I’m proud of the team leads for sticking to it. There have been some hard days, where it’s easy to feel like there’s no chance we’ll finish. There’s been some conflicts in personalities, exacerbated by stress and deadlines. But we persist, and sometimes the boarding teammates look at watches and announce “we’ve missed dinner”. That’s OK, pizza is a phone call away…. Most practices have gone…

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Update from Team Leads

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Ian Smelser – Coding Team: Earlier in the build season, I focused on getting my team acquainted with the programming language and style. We also focused on computer vision in the weeks before the build season and developed a few profiles for targeting the retroreflective tape on the game pieces. Now we hope to have accurate game pieces by Tuesday. Once we get that, we can start testing our computer vision profiles and developing prototypes for the ball shooter. As of today, we have our core control system on a board which we can mount on our soon-to-be finished driving base. I feel confident that our coding team can get a basic drive train working soon. Our next challenge will be creating a proportional control system for the drive system. We probably will not use the built-in PID controller because it seemed to be causing errors. Eric Zhang – Machining…

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Coach’s Corner: We’re Halfway There…

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The team is in the throes of building season, and this past Saturday marked the halfway point. We approach our fourth week of six with grand plans, but few tangible things to show for it. That’s about to change. We’re anxious for the entire drivetrain and pneumatics control to arrive tomorrow, allowing us to leap forward and likely to have a driving base in a day or two. With one out of three solutions prototyped successfully (the rope climb), we are well on our way. I’m equally excited that while we’ve waited for parts, the team has built a second robot base that will let us practice and tinker outside of build season. My dream of a gatling t-shirt cannon may yet come to fruition. In the meantime, the marketing team deserves much kudos, for wrestling with a fickle wordpress template and the difficult process of naming and branding our team appropriately. Tenacity, at…

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Thank You Hayward Lumber!

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In order for our team to practice the missions we build and program our robot to complete – we have to build props out of wood to the specifications of the FRC robot game. Today, Hayward Lumber supplied us with plywood and 2X4s so we could get started with the game field. Thank you, Hayward, for being a partner to Cypress Circuits!

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Shout Out for Week of January 8th

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This week’s shout out goes to design & prototyping member Nathan M. – for furious design tenacity despite power being out in the robotics trailer, even after everyone went home. Kudos, Nathan! What’s this for? Shout Outs are posts to recognize team members going out of their way, saving the day, or just being downright awesome for one reason or another.

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Local FRC Teams Visit Stevenson for Design Feedback

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On Saturday January 14th, the following teams visited Stevenson School: Monterey High School, Pacific Grove High School, Santa Catalina, and York. The purpose of the meeting was for teams to present their ideas for both game strategy and robot design, so that other teams can be inspired and offer any critical feedback for the teams. The teams enjoyed meeting each other and being given the opportunity to network, and the coaches offered more ideas to keep the momentum of a regional presence of FRC in the Monterey Bay area. We’re excited that so many teams could join, along with their coaches and mentors, and hope that we can offer more meetups and workshops in the near future. Thanks everyone for coming!

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Cypress Circuits Kicks Off Build Season in San Jose

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At 5:30 AM, the team leads of the Cypress Circuits set off from the Stevenson Pebble Beach campus to go to San Jose State University, where the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Season Kickoff took place. Among an auditorium filled with future leaders in the STEM field, the Cypress Circuits team watched the release video for the upcoming FRC season, FIRST SteamWorks. After the release video, students left the auditorium feeling excited about the many possibilities for design and building for the approaching season. The Cypress Circuits team walked to another section of San Jose State University to pick up Kit of Parts for the season. On the drive back to Stevenson, the team leads read through the 126-page FRC game manual, sharing their ideas and strategies. Later that day, the team met up with other teams in the Monterey Bay to brainstorm the initial designs of our robots (pictured). We…

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Carmel Campus Robotics Holiday Party

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Last night, the Stevenson Robotics Team gathered for a holiday party at the Stevenson School Carmel Campus. Middle school students spent some time working on finishing up their robots that they had been building since September. Students used LEGO Mindstorm software to program their robots for competition. Student led groups placed their robots in the battling arena and began friendly competitions. While the middle school students loved seeing their robots compete against others, they also learned which modifications were necessary to make the strongest robot. The competition paused for a potluck and a speech from Mr. Mueller, the head of the burgeoning Robotics Program at both Stevenson campuses. He gave thanks to all the parents at the party for their generosity and encouraged parents to support the program in any way they could. As the competitions resumed, students cheered for their respective bots, and the elementary school kids arrived to…

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