Safety Training

Last week was the beginning of safety training, with today being the day of testing! To ensure that everyone is being safe, everyone was required to take the safety test. Rookies and team members working with the robot took a level 2 extended test while veterans could take a level 1 test. The test was on standard safety procedures and machine handling. “I felt confident about the test, I mean, everything on it was from safety training,” said a scouting sub-team member. But here’s the catch – in order to pass, every question on the test must be answered correctly. That’s why many people, even veterans, will have to retake the test.


In this week of robotics, things have started to heat up! That’s right, our team has started to prepare for the 2015 build season. No one is left without a task as veteran team members train with the rookies. Each sub-team has been planning for the upcoming build season. In addition to training new members, sub-teams are taking inventories and mapping out what they will need for the upcoming season. Driver training has also begun, aided by three robots from past years; Garfield, Æther, and Hermes. This year, we have both new and old talent practicing with a variety of drive trains. We hope to meet our competition head on!

VEX Competition

Last weekend, CORE hosted our annual VEX tournaments. Saturday, the day of our middle school tournament, had a turnout of 40 teams that competed on two fields. The next day, there was not only 20 high school teams that came, but the army participated with a robot of their own. It was inside a glass enclosure in which participants could drive the robot around the obstacle course to test their skills. After that was done, everyone could test their strength by doing a couple pull ups on a bar, comparing themselves to the strong soldiers. There were many capable volunteers that spent their time working all weekend to prepare for the many events. They made sure that the visitors could focus on cheering for their favorite teams. Needless to say, South’s gym was jam packed with robotic excitement!

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Drawing Ever Closer to Competition

It’s three weeks into Vex build season and a lot has happened! Teams have built robots that weeks ago were only concept and drawings. Their complex robots had humble beginnings. Joe’s team’s designs have developed a lot, especially the design for their arm. “We started off with a claw design,” he says, “but we quickly realized that the claw was too slow and heavy for our arm. So instead we added an almost vacuum brush type design that is more effective in picking up the cubes.” Another innovative design comes from Sam who has made a wheel base that can go in any direction, even sideways. “Our robot’s base is designed with agility in mind,” he explains. “One of the South mentors showed us a program that they used when they were in middle school and so we used it to make our robot more agile and easier to handle.” Both innovations have made their robots more efficient and easier to use.



All in all the teams are on the way to victory as the finishing of their robots bring them ever closer to competition on November 9th!



C.O.R.E. Vex Season Kick-Off

Tuesday, September 22nd was the first night for rookies and they’re starting off the season with Vex. For some this is their first introduction to robotics, so it is crucial that they pay attention and participate. Just ask Ryan, who joined Vex after hearing about it through the engineering academy, “Vex is a great intro to robotics. It takes complex ideas and concepts and explains them in an easy and fun way.” Right now teams are working on different aspects of designing their robots. Bjorn says that his team is “learning how to build our robot with the limited materials and resources available.” Finding and dealing with limits and restraints is a problem that even the C.O.R.E. team faces daily. When students begin the FRC challenge they will be immediately faced with size and weight restrictions on their ideas. In general, getting into teams and dealing with a robotic challenge is a great intro to C.O.R.E.


After competition, our team has hit the ground running with presentations and summer planning. This Friday we have two presentations planned at the local elementary school, Meadowbrook, as well as at a STEM for Girls event. Through these presentations we hope to spread our passion for robotics and the many skills it can teach. At STEM for girls especially, we hope to address the appalling gender gap in STEM fields and on our team by teaching these students what amazing opportunities are available and by helping them discover their passions in these areas. The following Monday we will travel to Hillcrest, another elementary school in the district, with a similar purpose.


In addition to our interactions with younger students, we have been maintaining connections with our community through events including a recent presentation at Rockwell Automation’s Take Your Child to Work Day. Our team feels it is crucial to demonstrate the meaning of FIRST throughout the entire year and spread this to the community at large. Sponsorship, while essential to our team, is never a one way street.


Robot Name

The name for this year’s robot has been chosen! In keeping with the tradition of naming our robot after Greek Gods, our team unanimously decided this morning upon the name Hermes. Here is a little background on this name:


Hermes is the Greek god of transitions and boundaries, which fits in very well with the three divisions on the field and assist points between regions. He was known for being quick and cunning, and his role was to deliver messages between the mortals and the divine, which in the context of our FRC game could translated to delivering the ball between robots. He was also the protector of travelling (between zones), herdsmen (we herd the ball), thieves (defense), trade (passing the ball), and perhaps most relevantly, invention. In addition, he flies on winged sandals, which could relate to us shooting the ball into the high goal or over the truss.
As depicted in specific classical literature, Hermes draws even more direct connections to this year’s competition. In the Iliad, Hermes was depicted as the bringer of good luck (which is always helpful) and a guide and guardian, as well as “excellent in all the tricks”. This relates perfectly, seeing as how in driver practice the drive teams have been actively working on strategies and “tricks” for every scenario in our match playbook. In Aesop’s fables, Hermes is featured as a provider of hospitality (coopertition) and was burdened with assigning each person their share of intelligence. In the The Homeric Hymn to Hermes, he was discussed as “one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds” and by the look of our robot this year, this is going to be quite true for us.
Stay tuned for further developments as we rapidly approach the Milwaukee competition!

Competition Season: Week 1

CORE successfully bagged the competition robot on Tuesday night, and thus ending the build season for 2014. As the team transitions into competition prep, the mechanical group is working on finishing the second robot so our driver’s can start practicing. Also, the programming sub-team is waiting for the robot to work on code while Controls is wiring the robot, working closely with mechanical students. Other non-robot related sub-teams are preparing for the Wisconsin Regional. Chairman’s is working on the Chairman’s presentation and video, while the web design sub-team is pushing out a new update to CORE’s website. As a team, we are getting ready to perform our best for the Wisconsin Regional, and carrying the momentum from previous weeks into the competition season.

Students and mentors collaborate to meet the build season deadline.

Students and mentors collaborate to meet the build season deadline.

Week 6 of the 2014 Build Season

With under three hours until the robot must be bagged and left untouched until competition, work at CORE has reached an incredible level of excitement. While school was dismissed early yesterday and all after school activities canceled, the team is still at a good place today. Mechanical is currently finishing several final touches on the robot and preparing to pass it off to controls for testing and observations. Final pictures and measurements are being taken in anticipation of a month of waiting and nerves before competition. Chairman’s has been very busy recently as well, with robot spec booklets to complete, sponsor panels to create, a speech to write, and a video to create. The scoutegy sub team is currently preparing to train new scouts for competition, and website has exciting updates planned specifically concerning the safety section of the website. Be sure to check out the competition page of the website for specifications on this year’s robot, and stay tuned for pictures of the completed robot!

Week 5 of the 2014 Buildseason

Here at C.O.R.E. the work goes on. Media is creating slide shows of our lovely team. Bumpers is fabricating (with fabric) their easy color switch design. Controls has put in network cabling to connect wiring on opposing sides of the robot and is currently running hosing for pneumatics. Programming is working on vision and detection of the hot goal. Mechanical is working on the robot’s six wheeled tank drive as well as a catcher. CAD is adding a blocker to their models and putting on a few finishing touches. Last but not least, safety is keeping everybody safe. Happy day of build everybody!


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