Team History

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Team Info:

Team Name: Gus Robotics Team 228
Team Size: 15 Students, 8 Mentors
Schools: Platt High School, Maloney High School, Wilcox Tech High School
Competitions: UTC New England Regional (FRC), NERVE Scrimmage (FVC), NERVE Competition (FVC), BattleCry7 @ WPI (FRC), Bash at the Beach (FRC), ConnVex (FVC)
Awards: UTCl Best Website Award, 2006 NERVE Finalists, Bash at the Beach "Teacher's Pet" Award

Behind the 'Bots

Behind every robot is a story. A story of late nights, endless programming, and a rush to get everything done in only six weeks. Learn more about the design, fabrication, and achievements of each of our robots from our rookie year's bot to our latest robot, Gus 9.

The Robot

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Our eighth year involved in FIRST was one of extremes; on one hand our FIRST Vex Challenge team became one of the best in all of New England, placing second in both the NERVE Scrimmage and the NERVE competition, while on the other hand our FRC Team started off as an 'off-year' of sorts for our team until it culminated successful at the 2006 Bash at the Beach competition.

In 2006, our FIRST Robotics Team attended and competed at four competitions: the UTC New England Regional, FIRST Championship Event, BattleCry7 @ WPI, and Bash at the Beach. At these competitions, our team's performance greatly improved as the season went on, until we were ranked 3rd at the Bash at the Beach off-season competition, capable of scoring at least fifteen points in autonomous, without having to leave the starting box.

Also in 2006, our FIRST Vex Challenge team competed at three competitions: In the 2005/06 season, we competed at the NERVE Scrimmage and the NERVE competition. In the 2006/07 season, our FVC team competed at the first annual ConnVex FVC Competition, while many members and alumni of our FRC team volunteered at the event.

But despite many of the troubles which our team incured at the beginning of the year with our FRC robot, 2006 was the beginning of the next main great chapter in our team's history. As the 2005/06 school year came to a close, our team lost all but a few members due to all the seniors gradating from our team. To complicate matters even more, our team was still reeling from the loss of one of our major sponsors prior to the 2005 season, when they closed their Meriden plant, outsourced their labor to Georgia, and dropped our team's sponsorship. In the middle of 2006, our team came the closest to folding as ever before in our team's long history. Things looked grim, but our work was cut out for us.

We soon began meeting every single week during the summer months, planning out our 2007 season. For the first time, we formed extensive business, marketing, and recruitment plans to bring our team back to the level of its large size from the 1999-2002 years. As soon as the school year began, our extremely active recruitment plan resulted in nearly 30 new members joining our team, with almost 25 of them staying as permanent members. This extremely high percentage of retaining team members was fostered by our strong involvement with the FIRST Vex Challenge, and many of the team members becoming inspired very early on in the school year.

The second phase of our plan, which is still in progress, was getting more and more cooperate support for our team from companies from around Connecticut. One of our first sponsorships we worked on was the getting CBIA (the Connecticut Business and Industry Association) involved with our team; their two year grant for teaching advanced and high-tech CNC manufacturing to our diverse students was much appreciated. (And the large amount of CNC manufactured parts on our 2007 robot - the most ever in our team's history - is a lasting tribute to what were were able to accomplish with their sponsorship.)

Along with the CBIA Educational Foundation grant, new sponsorships from Proton Energy Systems (a fuel-cell company) and R&D Precision (a CNC sheet-metal fabricating business), two local companies from Wallingford, CT also greatly helped our team for the 2007 Season. At the time of the end of the 2007 Build Season, our team had not yet reached our target level of additional sponsorships for that season, but was strongly continuing our efforts to reach that by the end of the season.)

And yet one additional aspect of our team that was reborn in the end of the 2006 season was our "Contagious Enthusiasm" spirit. Originating from our 2002 season, our Contagious Enthusiasm helped our team win the 2002 DaimlerChrysler Team Spirit award at the UTC New England Regional. Although our team spirit remained strong on the inside from then on, our small team size from the 2003-2006 seasons prevented it from being as dominate as it was in 2002. But along with our vastly increased team size at the end of the 2006 season, our Contagious Enthusiasm was back!

Games Competed In

Aim High (FRC)
Aim High was a fast-paced game in which teams attempted to score as many seven-inch Poof (nerf) balls as possible into any one of three goals on the far side of the playing field. All balls shot into the eight-foot high center goal counted as three points each, while any balls dumped into the two side goals counted as one point each. At the end of the match, robots could climb a steep ramp at their "home end" of the playing field for bonus points.

Half Pipe Hustle (FVC)
Half Pipe Hustle was the first, full-fledged FIRST Vex Challenge game following the initial pilot competition at the 2005 FIRST Championship Event. The playing field, which featured dual ramps at each end of the 10"x14" playing field resembled a half pipe, hence the game name. The main scoring objects were raquetballs, which teams could pick up from either the floor or one of two "auto loaders" at the ends of the playing field. All balls could be scored in one of four corner goals, and one 18" high center goal. At the end of the match, bonus points could be obtained by climbing onto one of three platforms that surrounded the center goal.

Hanging-A-Round (FVC)
As the world's second FIRST Vex Challenge game, Hanging-A-Round was a fun and exciting competition comprised of of two main tasks: scoring balls and hanging on a hanging bar. The first of these tasks involved scoring softballs in either low goals in the corners of the playing field, or in one of two high 24" goals on their side of the playing field. The other main aspect of the game was to either park on a spinning platform in the center of the field for a small point bonus at the end of the match, or for an even greater bonus to have your robot completely hang off a 33" high bar fixed to the spinning platform.