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Page Navigation:May 9, 2009
Some things get better in age and the Battlecry offseason FRC event held at WPI is no exception. Now in its 10th year of annual competition, it is by far one of the most fun offseason events our team attends. This two day event can rival even Atlanta in awesomeness factor between its team social night on Friday complete with an ice cream social, open bowling, and game show, to its epic matches all day on Saturday. Team 228 preformed very well in this competition and landed a spot in the 11th seat alliance for the elimination rounds. Our alliance, composed of teams 467, 228, and 173, did extremely well and made it past the first round of the eliminations beating several very good teams. Our alliance fought very hard in the next round of competition, but lost to the alliance that ended up coming in 2nd place overall. Congrats to teams 40, 121, and 172 for your amazing win in the finals!
Team 228 was also very honored this competition when one of our mentors won the Battlecry STAR award. The STAR award is WPI’s equivalent of FIRST’s Woodie Flowers award. Team captain, Tina Dutra, read a heartfelt essay about the winner, Gordon Morrison, at the award ceremony at the end of the competition. Gordon Morrison is one of team’s founders and is an asset to our team in many ways, offering his vast knowledge about 3-D animation, machining, and other fields of robotics. The award was particularly satisfying to Mr. Morrison because he is retiring from his role as head mentor at the end of this school year, and to have an honor such as this bestowed on him at last is like the cherry finish on a hot fudge sundae.
Team 228 would like to thank everyone who helped put on this amazing event and cannot wait until next year’s competition.
April 25, 2009
It's that time of year again! Time for the annual Meriden Daffodil Festival. The festival this year is taking place Saturday, April 25 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and on Sunday, April 26 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in Hubbard Park in Meriden, Connecticut. Team 228 and our robots will be appearing in the parade on Saturday, which will start at 10:00 am. Along with our parade appearance, team 228 will also be found in the food tent both days all day. This will be the team's third year in a row selling our yummy BBQ food. Along with our classics of pulled pork sandwiches, cheesy bacon fries, and beef brisket sandwiches, the team has also added a new item to our menu; BBQ ribs. If any of these food choices appeal to your taste buds, please come out, bring a friend or two, and support our team in our fundraiser! We hope to see you this weekend!
April 18, 2009
If you were there, then you don’t need me to tell you that Atlanta was crazy amazing. But I’m going to say it anyway! ATLANTA WAS CRAZY AMAZING!!!
We started off our first day there by playing Frisbee at Centennial Park, across from our hotel, The Omni. We soaked up the southern sun and had lots of fun tossing around the Frisbee, trying not to hit innocent pedestrians as they walked by. Unfortunately, we did have a few close casualties, but there were no serious injuries inflicted. We wrapped up the day with dinner at the Hard Rock Café, where the staff serenaded team member Josh Gibbs for his birthday.
Day 2 was a bit more eventful. The practice matches commenced and our team did extremely well. Our star human player, Nick Mann (aka Little Mann) scored two super cells into opposing trailers, bringing our team to their feet to cheer loudly for him. During the day, our beloved English teacher Mrs. Kendzior, who was on vacation at the time, visited us. We enjoyed showing her our robot and all the reasons why we love robotics so much. Later, we had the last practice match of the day, and we rushed madly from the Georgia Dome to our hotel to get ready for that night’s RoboProm, hosted by Team 399. A majority of our team attended the event, the guys looking handsome and suave, the girls looking even more gorgeous than usual. At the dance, we broke out the glow sticks and danced till our feet hurt to tunes such as “Jump Around” by House of Pain or the ever-popular “Sandstorm” by Darude. The prom king and queen were crowned; the queen was a girl with a duct tape dress and the king was a mascot for the Liger Bots who had ice packs on the inside of his costume to keep him cool. A good time was had by all and when the night ended, we trudged reluctantly back to our hotel rooms to get ready for the next day.
Day 3 was when the real action started. Qualification matches began and we had a victory for our first match 90-36 after penalties, followed by a series of losses for all the matches following our first one. We ended the day with a record of 1-4-0. Despite our not-so-amazing record, and a few quarrels over what wasn’t going right with our team’s performance, we were happy to go eat dinner with our friends from Exploding Bacon in Centennial Park. A plethora of Chinese food and pizza awaited us, and we were eager to fill our plates. We spent the night playing Oink! Oink! BOOM! (Bacon’s version of the game Duck, Duck, Goose) and had a good laugh over the many spills that people took while trying to chase after others. Several mentors were BOOMed, even though they were sitting on the sidelines and we even had a few strangers wander over and join in on our revelry. We also celebrated Jamison Go’s birthday, who received an honorary GUS t-shirt as one of his presents. We were all sad when we had to leave our Bacon friends and go back to the hotel.
Day 4 began with a team cheer in the lobby to get everyone excited for our final competition day in Atlanta. We even broke out some dance moves as well. With our coffee and team spirit with us, we marched off in search of victory. As we filed into the pits with the rest of the awaiting teams, we made our presence known by cheering “2-2-8! Gus 2-2-8!” at the top of our lungs. We were pumped and ready to go. We lost our first match against team 86, team 364, and team 1625 with a final score of 58-60, but we didn’t let that discourage one bit. Our next match was against the undefeated team at the time, and we were determined to knock them off their pedestal. We, with the assistance of our alliance partners, team 1086 and team 364, beat the blue alliance with a final score of 74-56. We rejoiced all the way back to the pits, where we engaged in another enthusiastic team cheer. This time, Mr. Dutra shouted, “WHO BEATS THE UNDEFEATED?!” and we answered, “WE DO!!!!!!” In that moment, it seemed like everything was perfect. We had finally shown people our potential and that GUS is a force to be reckoned with. The alliance selections began, but sadly our team rep, Tina Dutra, never had the chance to say, “Team 228 graciously accepts.” Though disappointed and devastated, we comforted ourselves with the knowledge that we had tried our best and had had fun while doing it. We then cheered on our Bacon friends until the final matches and awards and closing ceremonies began.
After the championships were officially over, we made our way over to Centennial Park for the wrap party. We were dismayed when it started to sprinkle rain on our party, but thankfully the storm clouds passed promptly. We had fun going on the carnival rides, watching people attempt to sing at karaoke, and conversing with people from other teams. At the end of the night, the thunderous boom of the fireworks served as a final farewell to the awesomeness that was Atlanta. The shimmering fireworks waved goodbye to us as we walked back to our hotel to pack and get ready to depart early the next morning.
Though we didn’t win the championships, we knew that the cliché “everyone is a winner” couldn’t be truer. Aside from having the time of our lives in the sunny south, we became closer as a team. Whether we learned that it is okay to “just dance” or we discovered that a little team spirit takes us a long way, we endured everything the competition had to throw at us as one team, united. We are GUS, Team 228, and we are proud of all that we accomplished in Atlanta ’09.
April 12, 2009
With only mere days and hours separating us form the world championship in Atlanta, Georgia, team Gus is all abuzz with excitement. We are finishing packing up the tools into totes and adding the last touches to our angel wings. The team is also getting in some last minute driver practice and working on strategies. With being a 7th seed alliance pick at the Connecticut Regional and winning a Motorola Quality Award under our belts, Gus is planning on bringing our A-game to Atlanta. We wish the best of luck to all teams attending the championship event and we invite everyone to feel free to stop by our pit in the Newton division.
April 5, 2009
On a pleasant Sunday, in the wonderful state of Connecticut, a VEX tournament was taking place at Central Connecticut State University. Thirty VEX teams from around the area took part in this event. Team Gus sponsored one team, which preformed very well. We were selected into the 7th seed alliance and made it into the quarter finals. Gus also was the recipient of the Amaze Award, awarded to us for an excellently and robustly designed robot. Team Gus had a fun time taking part in this event and would like to thank all the volunteers who made it possible.
March 28, 2009
Early Thursday morning, team Gus met at our workshop and got ready to leave to go to Hartford for the Connecticut Regional. After almost three months of designing, building, and preparing, it was finally time to test our hard work. Armed with safety glasses, spare parts, and batteries, we were ready to face the challenging, yet fun days ahead. Over the course of the next few days, Gus performed very well in the qualifying matches. Gus can also proudly announce that our robot didn’t break once during the course of the competition! Team Gus also had a fun time welcoming Exploding Bacon (Team 1902) to the regional. Thank you for your cheering and scouting support throughout the competition. Oink, oink, BOOM!
One of the highlights of our competition was on Saturday when we were selected into the 7th seed alliance by the Gael Hawks, team 230. Along with the Techno Ticks, team 236, our alliance faced the second seeded alliance in the quarter finals. After two close matches, our alliance was knocked out of the running for winners of the regional. Thank you to our alliance partners for putting up a good fight. Team 228 would like to congratulate teams 1902, 1155, and 126 on your Regional win! Good Luck in Atlanta!
Finally, all the blood, sweat, and tears that we put into our robot this season was made worthwhile when our team was awarded the Motorola Quality Award. The judges liked our use of brushes on the wheels to keep them free of dust that accumulates during matches, as well as other design features. Gus is now looking forward to competing in Atlanta and wishes all teams attending the best of luck!
February 17, 2009
This build season just flew by; one minute we were watching the live kickoff event, the next we were building prototypes, and next thing we know the Fedex truck is parked outside the shop to pick up the robot. Overall, this was one of our best build seasons so far for the team. We built two fully functioning robots, the competition and practice robots, all within the 6 week period. We also went to the Suffield Shakedown and made it into the semifinals. Finally, Gus 11 was shipped out on time and completed.
The team also did some problem solving this season by making “Gus Balls”. A Gus Ball is our team’s version of an Orbit Ball. We realized that there was a lack of this year’s playing field piece, so we decided to make our own versions of the moon rocks. Two of our team’s mentors wrote a white paper and made a video about how to make them so we could share this with other teams. We recognized that there was a problem so we found a solution that could help all teams, not just us.
Team Gus is now looking forward to the Hartford regional which is coming up at the end of March. In the next few weeks, we’re going to be strategizing and doing driver practice with our practice robot. In the meantime, good luck to all teams participating in all the regional competitions!
January 3, 2009
On this past Saturday at 10:00 am, the new FRC game for this season was released. The game entitled, Lunacy, is based on the idea of a moon excursion. The field, aka the crater, is made of a low friction, plastic surface that in accompaniment with special acetal wheels that robots are required to use and also low friction, forms a playing field that has similar properties to ice. This years game is sure to prove a challenge for drivers, new and experienced, as this type of surface and wheel combination has never been mandated before. Also interesting this year are the main playing field pieces; the moon rocks, empty cells, and super cells. All are the same size and a type of ball, called a Wild Time Orbit Ball, which look like woven soccer balls. These balls are going to be throw by the human players and robots alike into their alliance's goals which are attached to the apposing alliances robots. Strategy is definitely going to play a large part in this year's game play.
At the kickoff event held in Manchester, New Hampshire, Gus' own Tina and Bob Dutra were selected randomly and asked if they would like to sit in special seating that was only feet away from where FIRST founder, Dean Kamen, would be speaking along with several other key figures in FIRST. They didn't think twice about excepting this once in a life time opportunity. It was truly an honor for them and an experience they won't forget any time soon.
For more information about the game, to see video from the broadcast, or to see photos of the kickoff, see the links below. Happy building!
›› Photo Gallery from the 2009 Manchester, NH Kickoff Event
January 3, 2009
We're here live at the 2009 FRC Kickoff Event in Manchester, New Hampshire, eagerly awaiting the release of the new game. And for the first time, pending Internet connectivity, we are hoping to live blog the event in real time with updates and observations. We apologize in advance for any spelling errors; in order to keep you updated as fast as possible mistakes may slip by!
8:31 am - It's snowing up here in Manchester, NH. What would a Kickoff event be without the snow?
9:37 am - Breakfast is over, and we're all moving into the main arena for the Kickoff now!
9:44 am - The arena is really filling up fast now, and the entire playing field is covered up a sheet. What this means is anyone's guess!
9:54 am - Blair is up to the microphone now, warming up the crowd.
9:55 am - We're all waving at Blair!
9:57 am - And it's Mike the clapping seal!
10:01 am - The webcast countdown has started! 90 seconds to go
10:03 am - The Kickoff video this year is awesome. Great props for bringing up JFK's landing on the moon challenge form the 1960s.
10:06 am - Paul Abele is up, and introducing one of New Hampshire's congressmen.
10:09 am - Paul Abele is back with all kinds of interesting statistics abou FIRST.
10:11 am - ...and now he's onto talking about the Hall of Fame (National Chairman's Award Winners) teams, including last year's winner Team 842.
10:13 am - Now here's Moe Team 365's video celebrating their 2007 Hall fo Fame induction. (Does anyone else notice that they seem to use the same background music in every HOF video at Kickoff every year?) Otherwise, it's a great video as usual!
10:19 am Paul Abele is back at the microphone, and is bringing up the moon and the Apollo lunar missions again.
10:24 am - A representative from PTC is up, and announcing their continued support of FIRST in spite of the difficult economy. Thanks!
10:25 am - Paul Abele is back and talking about the new Control System, the new FIRST Virtual Simulator, and all of the scholarships available to students through FIRST.
10:29 am - Thank you volunteers and mentors!
10:30 am - The preview of the new documentary sponsored by PBS looks really interesting. Can't wait until it's done.
10:34 am - Now they are announcing the President's Circle, as well as the winners of the competition. Congratulations to the Cyber Knights Team 195 for having the winning video! Also, the new student advisory board sounds like an interesting idea.
10:36 am - Always use [eye] protection, and be safe.
10:37 am - Grant Imahare (from the Mythbusters), is shown in a video to the teams telling them to be safe.
10:38 am - Team 342, the Burning Magnetos, award winning animated safety video is shown.
10:40 am - Dean Kamen is up to the podium! Wow, FIRST is already 18 years old!
10:43 am - The problem of science and technology resounds around the world, in which there is an enormous potential for technology to transform the world for the better.
10:46 am - As usual, the content of Dean's speech is good, but the delivery is, well, characteristically Dean Kamen.
10:50 am - Dean's speech is continuing onward about how difficult it is to make a game both easy for the rookies and challenging for the veterans.
10:52 am - Reading between the lines, it will take a lot of hard work and dedication this year is you really want to master the new control system.
10:59 am - Dean's speech is riddled with "frictionless" jokes...
11:04 am - The FIRST Alumni database project over the next two years seems like a really cool idea, in which they can see how many people have been impacted by FIRST.
11:06 am - So, who's up for a road (or train) trip to Washington DC in 2011?!
11:07 am - The moon, frictionless surfaces, and musical instruments (voilin and kazoo) oh my!
11:08 am - It's Vince with the new control system! "It's a really big deal!"
11:13 am - The new control system is really complex, but has amazing potential.
11:14 am - Dave Lavery, program executive for NASA is up at the podium and talking about NASA's support of FIRST. Dave's story of getting involved "for only a year" and they looking back at fifteen years of FIRST mentorship is shared by many.
11:17 am - Dave is really stressing the importance of having mentors on your team to learn from them, as this is what really sets FIRST apart from the 81 other similar robotics, science or technology high school competitions.
11:20 am - Dr. Woodie Flowers is up!
11:22 am - Wall street broke because of greed and incompetence, which is the exact opposite of gracious professionalism.
11:25 am - While Woodie is talking, behind the scenes they are starting to move all of their camera assembies out of the way of the center of the playing field and off to the side. The Game Design Committee members are gathering in front of the drapes!
11:26 am - Woodie: It's important to create real wealth, not artificial wealth. And the only important thing about this recession is that maybe now society is willing to listen to new ideas, such as gracious professionalism, that can help prevent things like this from arising as much or as serious in the future.
11:28 am - It's all about being in the right place at the right place and the right time. "FIRST is the right stuff, and the right time is now. And all you need to provide is the right attitude" - Dr. Woodie Flowers
11:30 am - It's a giant rope? Wait, now Woodie is talking about the moon!
11:30 am - It's the Game Design committee!
11:31 am - The 2009 Game! Lunacy! The playing field is now called the crater.
11:33 am - The entire game is themed like the moon this year. Launch pads, moon rocks, regolith, etc.
11:34 am - Mobile goals are back!
11:38 am - That slippery playing field looks like quite a challenge!
January 1, 2009
Do you like pasta? Do you like dessert? Do you like raffles? If you answered yes to any of these questions then come to Gus' pasta dinner fundraiser at Maloney High School on January 11th. Dinner will be served from 4 - 7 pm, adult tickets are $7, and children under the age of 5 are only $5. Also, come see our progress on our 2009 robot. Thank you for your support!
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Team 228 at a Glance
Location: Meriden, Connecticut, USA
Team Size: 25 Students, 10 Mentors
High Schools: Platt, Maloney, Wilcox Tech High Schools in Meriden; Lyman Hall, Sheehan High Schools in Wallingford
Rookie Year: 1999
Team Mantra: Contagious Enthusiasm!