Chickens Take On The World!

Chickens Take On The World!

From April 27 to April 30, ailment the ThunderChickens competed at the World Championship, the last and biggest FIRST Robotics Competition tournament of the 2016 season. The Championship was held at the DeltaPlex arena in St. Louis, Missouri.

600 FRC teams were invited to compete at the World Championship. These teams hailed from countries across the world, including Israel, Australia, China, and Canada.

Because there were so many teams invited, the teams that competed at the Championship were split into 8 divisions, with 75 teams in each division. These divisions are named after famous scientists, such as Newton, Curie, and Tesla. The winning four-robot alliance from each division then went on to compete against the other 7 winning alliances on the Einstein field, which are the final Championship rounds.

Our team was randomly placed in the Newton Division, which we found out days before leaving for the Championship. The division, as noted by many, represented one of the most difficult and competitive divisions in FRC history because it was packed with Hall of Fame teams, past World Championship winners, and other powerhouse teams well-known in their communities.

The team entered the competition with optimism, knowing we were bound to be chosen to compete on a strong alliance since there were so many outstanding teams. Against the odds, the Chickens ended the qualification matches ranked eighth place out of 75, with a record of 7 wins and 3 losses. With a ranking score of 31.0, we were only 4 ranking points away from the first place alliance. The high rigor of the Newton Division can be seen in the score records of the top 4 alliances: each had 9 wins and 1 loss.

During the Selection process, the Chickens became the seventh-seeded alliance captain after the first-seeded alliance chose the second-seeded alliance. At the World Championship, alliance captains are allowed to select 3 other robots, with one of the robots becoming a backup bot. The Chickens selected Code Orange (Team 3476) from California as our first robot, CyberCavs (Team 4678) from Canada as our second robot, and Blizzard (Team 188) from Canada as our backup robot.

Division elimination matches began early Saturday morning. In the Chickens’ first match against the second-seeded alliance, our alliance and our team scored 260 points in a match, setting a world record for most number of points scored in a single match. After defeating the second-seeded alliance in the Quarterfinals, we moved on to the Semifinals, scoring two consecutive wins against the third-seeded alliance. We continued to set the bar during our matches in Quarterfinals and Semifinals, consistently scoring above 200 points per match.

The Chickens and our alliance were up against the first-seeded alliance in the Finals, which consisted of the first and second ranked teams from the qualification matches. The first match was close; our alliance managed to win by 20 points, 197 to 177. Hopes were riding high for the second Finals match; against the odds, we defeated the first-seeded alliance by 44 points, 225 to 180. As a result, the ThunderChickens and our alliance members became the winners of the Newton Division.

This is the first time since 2014 that we received a blue competition banner, and the first time since 2011 that we won a World Championship division. The team was ecstatic, especially when we realized we were the champions of the most competitive World Championship division in history.

Because we were the winners of our division, our alliance moved onto compete on the Einstein field for the chance to be crowned the 2016 winners of Stronghold. Our first match was against the winning alliance from the Hopper Division. After our alliance won that match, the judges and referees called a match replay because the scoreboard wasn’t showing throughout the match. Unfortunately, we were unable to win our second match or the third match, losing by a mere 5 points in both matches.

The Chickens were very satisfied to know that the last in-season match we will play this year was on the Einstein field, which we haven’t played on since 2011. We left St. Louis late Saturday evening with Division Champion medals, and we returned home to Michigan early Sunday morning.

This was an incredible experience that many of our members will not be forgetting for the rest of our lives. For our seniors, this was the last FIRST Robotics competition they will experience as a member of the team.

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Michigan State Championship

As a result of the team’s performance at the Marysville District and Troy District, viagra 40mg Team 217 was invited to attend the Michigan State Championship held at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids April 14-16.

Though the Chickens had a rough start at the beginning of the championship, the team quickly rebounded back over the next two days, making several impressive achievements. In qualification match 149, the Chickens, along with two other robots in their alliance, managed to score 60 points in the autonomous period (the first 15 seconds of the match where robots operate completely based on pre-programmed code). This is the maximum number of points an alliance can score in the autonomous period, and very few teams in the world have accomplished this feat.

After playing 17 qualification matches, the ThunderChickens ended with a record of 9 wins and 8 losses, landing the team a rank score of 41 out of 102 teams. During the selection process, the Chickens were chosen as the third robot of the sixteenth seeded alliance, composed of team captain Spartronics (Team 5048) and Robostangs (Team 548).

The ThunderChickens’ first elimination round match was against the first seeded alliance, which was captained by the number one ranked team at the championship: Stryke Force (Team 2767).

Though the Chickens’ alliance lost the first match, they managed to win the second match (167-160) and the third match (159-157), allowing the Chickens to advance from the octofinals to the quarterfinals. This was a historic MSC victory; never before had a sixteenth seeded alliance defeat the first seeded alliance.

Unfortunately, the ThunderChickens and their alliance partners were unable to advance to the semifinals after losing two matches to an alliance captained by Excel (Team 2474) in the quarterfinals.

Because the ThunderChickens performed among the top 76 teams at the Michigan State Championship, the team advances to the 2016 FRC World Championship in St. Louis April 27-30. This marks the team’s 16th world championship since the team was created in 1999.

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Khaleesi Scales the Tower

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Troy District

The Chickens’ third event and final Michigan district competition took place at Troy Athens High School March 31-April 2. This was the team’s last district competition, thumb so it was the team’s last opportunity to earn enough qualifying points for the Michigan State Championship.

A total of 39 FRC teams competed at the Troy District. During the qualification matches, adiposity the ThunderChickens competed in 12 of the 79 overall matches, ending with a record of 10 wins and 2 losses. This placed the team at fourth place after qualification matches.

For selection, the first seeded team (Team 33) chose the second seeded team (Team 1718) as part of their alliance, which allowed the Chickens to advance from fourth seed to third seed. The first team we chose was Team Eagle (Team 6117), and we completed the alliance with Team F.I.R.E. (Team 322).

Though the ThunderChickens gave a good fight during the first two quarterfinal matches, we were not able to defeat the sixth seeded alliance.

However, we did not walk away emptyhanded. Team 217 was presented with the Excellence in Engineering award, sponsored by Delphi. This award is given to the team that has an elegant and advantageous machine feature.

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Marysville District

Held at Marysville High School, drug the Marysville District was the first time an FRC district occurred in Marysville. The Chickens arrived bright and early Friday, and qualification matches soon began.

Eighty qualification matches concluded at noon Saturday, March 26. After playing 12 qualification matches, Team 217 was ranked fifth out of 40 teams that competed, having won 9 matches and losing 3. Team members and the drive team were very satisfied with this result, knowing that the team’s excellent performance was noted by other teams scouting for alliance partners during the elimination matches.

Sure enough, during the selection process after qualification matches, the first seeded team, TORC (Team 2137) chose us as their first-pick robot. Finishing the top alliance was Full Metal Muskrats (Team 5860).

The Chickens and our alliance partners easily defeated the eighth seeded alliance during the first two quarterfinal matches, with scores of 114-89 and 139-102. This allowed the Chickens to advance to the semifinals, where our alliance was also able to defeat the fifth seeded alliance with scores of 144-101 and 134-101. From there, we advanced to the finals.

In the final matches, our alliance competed against the second seeded alliance. The first match was a nail-biter; our alliance lost by three points, 155-152. Unfortunately, our alliance was not able to secure a win in the second match.

Not only did the Chickens walk away from the Marysville District with finalist medals, we also managed to win the Innovation in Control award, sponsored by Rockwell Automation. This award is presented to the team that has a unique control system, whether the system is mechanical, electrical or programming.

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Chickens Bring the Thunder!

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Buckeye Regional

From Wednesday, case March 16 to Saturday, vcialis 40mg March 19, the ThunderChickens travelled to Cleveland, Ohio to compete in the 15th annual Buckeye Regional. Held at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, the competition hosted 57 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams, including 2 teams from Ontario, Canada.

The Buckeye Regional was also the team’s first competition this season.

The Chickens spent Thursday, the day scheduled for practice matches, making the necessary modifications to our competition robot. We ended Thursday with great anticipation for matches the following day.

The structure of FRC competitions consists of around 80 qualification matches and a set of elimination rounds. During the qualification matches, teams are randomly sorted into alliances with three teams on each alliance. Over the course of these matches, teams are ranked based on the score they receive on their alliance. The top 8 ranked teams can choose their alliance partners during the Selection Process, and these alliances remain the same throughout the elimination rounds.

The ThunderChickens ended the qualification matches with 6 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie, placing us in 6th place out of 57 teams. Though we did not begin Friday at the level we expected we would be, we ended Friday consistently scoring the high goals, crossing the defenses, scaling the tower, and even scoring points during the Autonomous period. We even managed to score 7 high goals in one match.

During the Selection Process, the second seed team, T.E.S.T. Team (Team 303), chose our team to join their alliance. The third team to join our alliance was Flying Circus (Team 1787).

Though our alliance lost the first elimination match, we made a comeback our second elimination match and won, 116 to 105. However, we did not manage to win our third elimination match, and as a result, we could not advance to the Semifinal matches.

The team performed very well at the Buckeye Regional, especially considering this was our first competition. Throughout the competition, the team’s spirit never wavered in the stands.  Because of our consistent efforts to help other teams in pits, the team received the Gracious Professionalism award, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

The ThunderChickens’ next competition will be at the Marysville District at Marysville High School from March 24 to March 26. Our last District competition will be at Troy High School from March 31 to April 2.

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Stronghold! Week 6

Stronghold! Week 6

The atmosphere at the Ford Plant late Tuesday night was one of excitement, ed accomplishment, and of course, relief. For the ThunderChickens, this feeling of satisfaction, accumulated over six weeks of hard work and long hours, peaked at the moment when our robot was sealed in the bag at 11:30 PM on February 23.

Affectionately named Khaleesi after a Games of Thrones character, our 2016 robot has strong potential to score very well at competitions. Her drive base can drive over most of the obstacles fairly quickly and has an accurate boulder-shooter using a wheel-intake system. Khaleesi has an advantage over the other teams in that she can scale the tower using an extensor arm. By being able to cross obstacles, shoot boulders, and scale the tower, Khaleesi has the capability to gain maximum points at competitions.

In the remaining weeks before our first competition, the team has preparations to make so the team can be ready to compete. Our drive coach, Tony Moraccini, is currently hosting driver training and tryouts to determine the drive team, which consists of the driver, operator, and the human player. Though our competition robot has been sealed, we still have our practice robot to train and to make improvements. The Public Relations department has been editing the team’s chairman’s video and preparing for the judges’ presentation.

Our first competition is the Buckeye Regional competition which takes place from March 17 to March 19 at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. FRC competitions are extremely thorough in determining the team with the most competitive robot.

At a competition, teams spend the majority of the event competing against one another during the Qualification matches. At a Michigan district competition, there can be around eighty Qualification matches, each lasting two and half minutes, with time spent in between matches resetting the field. The teams are ranked on how well they perform; the top eight teams have the opportunity to choose the robots that will be on their alliances in the Play-Off matches. Play-Off matches are played elimination-style, until the last two alliances compete against each other in the Final match.

Teams receive points depending on how they finish at each District or Regional competition or the awards they win. After the last week of district competitions, the teams with the highest number of points advance to the State Championship. The top teams at the State Championship advance to the World Championship, where they have the opportunity to compete for the coveted title of World Champion.

The week after the Buckeye Regional, the ThunderChickens will be competing at the Marysville District competition from March 24 to March 26. Our last District competition will be in Troy, Michigan, from March 31 to April 2. If we receive enough points to be among the top teams of Michigan, we will compete at the State Championship from XX to XX. The World Championship in St. Louis follows the State Championship, provided we meet the point requirement.

The team is extremely proud for having come so far already this season. With build season behind us, we look forward to the excitement and action of competition season.

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Stronghold! Week 5

Stronghold! Week 5

It is the fifth week of build season and for the ThunderChickens, vcialis 40mg the biggest obstacle in our way is time. As a reminder, the deadline for the robot is 11:30 PM on Tuesday, February 23. At this time, all work being done on the robot must cease and the robot is to be sealed in a bag.

The ThunderChickens received the sheet metal from Duggan Manufacturing this week and are hard at work transforming the metal into a fully functional robot. The energy at the Ford Plant is at its all-time high. Since it is midwinter break for the students, many have been coming in at noon and staying for several hours to work on various aspects of the robot. It is this stage where details matter: less-than-perfect effort now equates to a robot that does not perform optimally at competitions. Thus, our student department heads and our mentors are making sure the construction of the robot is closely following the dimensions of the designs drawn on the blueprints.

Despite the pressure of the deadline looming over the team, both students and mentors are optimistic that the robot can be completed before the deadline. The goal is still to have two robots, a practice and a competition bot, constructed out of Duggan’s sheet metal, wired by our electrical department, and programmed before 11:30 PM on Tuesday. As mentioned in last week’s update, the preparations made early on will be extremely beneficial and time-saving for the team in the days before Bag Day.

The Public Relations department has finished the presentation script for the Chairman’s award. The department will be memorizing and rehearsing the script and get it ready to present to the judges at our first competition, the Buckeye Regional. On Saturday, February 20, Public Relations will be working with other members of the team to film the Chairman’s award video, a short three-minute video about the ThunderChickens and what we represent in our community.

Meanwhile, Christina Li, the team’s Vice President of Systems and senior programmer, has been running her week-long day camp for junior-high girls interested in computer science and programming. Many of our Chickens have been spending the first half of the day volunteering at Hello World activities, which consist of teaching the girls how to code in HTML and how to make their own apps. Volunteering at Hello World fulfills one of two volunteering events required for completion of the team’s Honors program.

We are only a couple days away from the deadline. It can be hard to believe that the last five weeks of build season have gone by so quickly. At the rate the Chickens are working, the team will definitely be ending on a strong note, though it will be a close race against time. The Chickens have not lost hope; in fact, they are using the challenge of a deadline as fuel to persevere and reach the finish line.

Image of Ryan Henigan, Head of Design and senior on the team

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Stronghold! Week 3

Stronghold! Week 3

After passing the third-week mark on Saturday, remedy January 30, case the ThunderChickens have now entered the midst of our build season this year. With only three more weeks left until Bag Day, treat February 24, the team is more determined than ever to pull through the remaining weeks and build an award-winning robot.

The final prototype of this year’s robot was chosen this past week, incorporating the most functional prototypes created by the different prototyping groups. Led by Ryan Henigan, a senior on the team and the Head of Design, the Design Department has completed the robot’s CAD-drawn blueprints.

After this crucial step in development, the process continues with the robot’s physical construction. We will be sending in our sheet metal orders and other mechanical parts from our sponsors and suppliers, and have them arrive hopefully by the end of this week or the beginning of next. With the robot’s blueprints in hand, the Mechanical Department will manufacture the body of the robot. Following that, the Electrical Department will wire the bot and finally, the Programming Department will code the motors that will bring it to life.

In addition, our team will be constructing two identical robots: one “official” competition robot that will be driven only at FRC events, and another robot our driver and operator can practice with during the time between competitions. According to the official FRC rules, the competition robot cannot be modified or driven during the time between build season and competition season. We make modifications to the original design on our practice bot and transfer these changes to the competition bot during FRC events.

In the meantime, the different departments continue to work on their ongoing projects. Programming veterans are teaching rookies how to code using C++ by letting them program past robots and drive bases. Electrical students are figuring out the wiring system behind making LED lights glow on the bot. Finally, the Public Relations department will be submitting the team’s Chairman’s Award essay and Woodie Flowers’ Award essay on February 4, FRC’s deadline for essay submission.

Being in the middle of a long process usually induces lethargy and apathy in students. However, that is not the case with the ThunderChickens: our team this year is composed of extremely dedicated and hard-working students who are eager to see their ideas come to fruition, along with supportive mentors who keep the students on track and focused. This powerful combination of students and mentors will make sure the team successfully has a completed, functional robot by the end of the upcoming three weeks.

Image of Joseph McMullen, Head of Mechanical Department and senior on the team

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