FTC Update 2017

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It is a new year, but FTC is not over quite yet. We still have one more competition left, the league championship, two weeks from now. We are very busy preparing to actually do well this time, since our current record is rather abysmal. However, for every loss and teammate we let down, we learned something. To quote Winston Churchill, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” 

Words don’t mean much without action, though. So, we are constantly aiming to improve. For example, we recently learned we can stow multiple “particles” in pregame, thus being able to score multiple corner points in the first few seconds. Prior, we could only store one. Certain things have come to light about design, and the competition in general, that will assist us in our general improvement. First off, in the judging portion of Saturday’s competition, I learned that we must have a presentation ready for the actually judging. This is something I will have the whole team actively engaged in, in the following days. Secondly, our robot size, despite my protests that it doesn’t exert “undue force” on the sizing box, is too large. The FIRST official who managed the inspection station, said that the people at the next competition will say it is too tight. So, we are going to cut down the size a quarter inch, to remedy this quandary.  It is not only in design which we are improving. Brennan, my outstanding programmer, has learned a few things from friend of his, who happens to be a programmer, that will allow us to have a autonomous program, something that has eluded us for a long time. He is also improving our teleop program. At the Bethesda competition, we found that our middle wheel only could turn in one direction! As serious as a blunder this seems to be, it actually worked out, given our robots capacity for flawless turning. He is fixing this, as well as general tweaks to improve performance.

One thing that continues to surprise me is the members of our team. Perhaps it is my lack of experience in the world, but I have never seen such potential among a group of young adults. It may very well be that I am a bit too optimistic, but one thing remains for certain. Even if we come out of this year with empty hands, I have never enjoyed or learned as much as I did on this team, 10443.

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