Checkpoint reflection on these past few weeks and the ASIJ competition:
We first see what problems we need to fix or deal with, then we come up with ideas that will fix these problems. At first this problem was to actually create a robot for the competition. After the vex competition at ASIJ we learned what we needed to do to make our robot better. One problem we realized was that many of our screws came loose after every match or even just testing the robot. So we are going to recreate our robot to make sure that nothing will come loose. This is what we have done repeatedly throughout our building process. Assess what needs work, come up with ideas to fix it, execute the final ideas.
What I’ve learned:
These past few weeks have taught me that communication between your team members is crucial to success. Our team struggled with communication at the beginning and it took a while to actually get work done. But, once we had developed a system that works and we listen to everyone on the team, we can effectively and efficiently build or do whatever we need to. I also learned that you can’t be successful without actually committing to your team and building your robot. Coming in after school is very important to our team because otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to complete everything we want to. Something I taught myself was how to get rid of stripped screws. This was very important for my team because we used hex screws, many of which became stripped so that you couldn’t just unscrew them with a screwdriver. When this happened I would have to get pliers and tightly grip the sides of the screw and twist it out. If we couldn’t do this, many parts of our robot would never have been fixed. Sometimes a screw wouldn’t be tight enough but was so stripped it couldn’t be tightened, or we would need to replace something but we couldn’t get rid of the screw that was in the way because it was stripped.
What I learned at ASIJ:
I also learned many things when I went on the trip to the competition at ASIJ. This being the first robotics competition I went to, I learned a lot. Some things that were team specific and some other, more general things. Because this was my first robotics competition, I didn’t really understand how alliances worked. Only after the competition was over did I realize how important having a good alliance is. We were going to pick Foshan A as our alliance, but because of a mishap, we didn’t ally with them. In one of the rounds, we spent much of our time saving our alliance because they got stuck. Then, when they were unstuck, they didn’t get any flags. After wasting time and our alliance not getting any points, we lost the round and were unable to move forward in the competition. Our original idea for an alliance, Foshan A, ended up getting to the tournament finals and winning the tournament. If we had allied with them, we might’ve had a chance to win the tournament. Another important thing in the competition was scouting. This goes hand in hand with alliances because if you don’t scout the teams, you won’t know who to ally with. Something I wasn’t prepared for was how often things go wrong during the tournament. After every round, something was wrong with our robot. Now, that may have just been our fault for not making our robot the best quality, but it still took some getting used to. Because our robot needed a lot of fixing, I had to learn how to very quickly identify any problems with the robot, and figure out how to quickly fix it. By the end of the tournament I had developed a kind of routine where I would check the parts that most often got broken, then I would check the other smaller parts of the robot. During this competition, I actually learned what washers are for and why you use them. After learning this we realized our robot needed way more washers than it had. Now we are rebuilding it with washers where we need washers.
The Design Thinking Process in our robot:
First, we had to empathize with the problem and see what we really needed to accomplish. The problem was that we needed a robot to be able to perform in this year’s vex game. Then we defined the solution and what we were gonna do. We decided to focus on shooting the flags, as that would get us the most points if that was all we did. We came up with multiple ideas to shoot the flags; a flywheel, a catapult, a slingshot type robot, a puncher, and other things. In the end, we decided to build a flywheel on our robot. To prototype, we had to CAD our whole robot before we could even begin building. Next, we built the robot and tested it many times to see what we could fix. After testing, coming up with ideas to make it better, and building those ideas, we had a fully functioning robot with a flywheel that could hit the flags.