Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mission Accomplished: Meet Magnum PSI

Meet Magnum PSI, our outreach robot.

We decided earlier this year that we would set a goal of building a robot in the off season (outside of our regular FRC build season) to tackle some things we had not yet learned to do. We decided the best use of the time and money we were going to spend on this challenge would come in the form of a robot we can share with the public. We want everyone to see what students can accomplish and want to share that with the younger generation so they can get excited about engineering too.

We were determined to learn how to use pneumatics so we felt comfortable with it come build season. What better way to use compressed air than to launch t-shirts at football games? That was our thought, anyway. We also wanted to upgrade our drive system by including a transmission. The third challenge we set  was to have the robot completely drawn in a 3D modeling program so we could order extruded aluminum pieces that would fit together perfectly. We spend a lot of time during build season cutting and re-cutting our framing pieces and fabricating brackets and corner connectors. If we can truly design first, then we will save a lot of build time. This leaves more time for testing and driver practice.

Another change for us during this build season was that every member of the team was part of a technical subsystem. Our historian and public relations students became members of the build team. They turned wrenches, wired electronics, learned to solder, and to use power tools. Since most of these students were the female members of our team, I was especially excited about this. It is my goal to get more female students involved in STEM and in my Engineering Technology program and the robotics team.

We set out on this mission on August 5th. Our initial goal was to have the robot completed by the first home football game in September. As the project progressed we realized this time frame, while doable, was not ideal. We decided to extend our deadline to Homecoming, October 4th. We wanted to take our time to make sure everything was just right and that we learned everything we could with this project.

While the last week of build was hectic, we accomplished our goal. Magnum PSI attended the homecoming pep rally and threw confetti over the football players when the homecoming king was announced. He also rode in the homecoming parade with our team. Finally, he launched t-shirts, footballs, and confetti into the stands during the homecoming football game that evening.

Homecoming Parade

Tiger Football Game

If you are curious about the name ...
We posted photos on our public Facebook page and Twitter account throughout the build phase of this project as a way to share our progress. (I'm sure you'll agree that every good robot needs a name.) When it came time to name the robot, we came up with a list of ideas then let the public decide for us by letting them vote on our Facebook page.  

No comments:

Post a Comment