Texas Torque at the Lone Star Regional

April 8, 2014 in Competition by Humphrey Obuobi

This past weekend, Texas Torque took part in one of the last FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Regionals in the 2014 season: the Lone Star Regional. Of the 15 years that the Lone Star Regional has been active, Texas Torque was proud to make this their 11th appearance — and a solid one at that. Sixty-seven teams were present, including two teams from China and three teams from Mexico.

The team quickly reaped the benefits of the two weeks of fixes and practice between the Dallas Regional and this event, winning the first match 231 to 16 with longtime partners, FRC 624, CRyptonite. Throughout the first day of competition, Texas Torque only lost one match.

The second day brought even more successes, as Texas Torque won every qualification match in the morning. By the end of the day, Texas Torque was ranked 2nd of the 67 teams at the regional, falling beneath FRC 148, Robowranglers, by only 20 Assist Points. In alliance selection, we were elated to welcome CRyptonite, our historic partners, as our first pick on our alliance. The pair decided to pick FRC 3997, The Screaming Chickens, to complete the alliance.

In the elimination rounds, Texas Torque, CRyptonite, and The Screaming Chickens won the quarterfinal and the semifinal rounds handily. Semifinal 2-2 was especially intense, as the 2nd seeded alliance set the high score of the regional without fouls (275). In the blink of an eye, the finals were upon us, and our 2nd seeded alliance was up against the 1st seeded alliance of FRC 118, FRC 148, and FRC 2585. Both alliances played at their best, but in the end, the first seeded alliance came out on top.

Texas Torque was glad to bring home the Industrial Design Award and a Finalist trophy. In addition, Texas Torque congratulates FRC 3103, Iron Plaid for their Engineering Inspiration Award, and FRC 3847, Spectrum, for winning the Chairman’s Award at the Lone Star Regional.

All in all, the team is happy with their performance at the 15th Annual Lone Star Regional. We would like to thank all of the Lone Star Region administration and volunteers for all of their hard work in making this such an amazing, well-organized event. Of course, we congratulate the 1st seeded alliance for their well-fought victory and thank our own alliance partners for all of their effort. We can’t wait to see many of these teams again at the World Championship!

Lone Star Regional — This Weekend!

April 1, 2014 in Competition, Outreach by Humphrey Obuobi

Texas Torque is proud to announce that it will be attending the Lone Star Regional this upcoming weekend!

The event will take held from Friday, April 4 to Sunday, April 6 in traditional FRC fashion; while the first day will be mostly practice matches and robot maintenance, Saturday and Sunday will include scheduled matches and awards, with the highly intense eliminations matches held on Sunday afternoon.

In addition to high-powered teams in the state of Texas, the regional will include three teams from Mexico and two teams from China.

We highly encourage everyone to come to support Texas Torque and the other teams, as this one one of the last events in the FRC season before the World Championship. And, of course, who doesn’t want to see robots?

For more information, visit the webpage for the Lone Star Regional on the Texas FIRST website.

Team Collaboration at NASA

March 31, 2014 in Competition, Slideshow by Humphrey Obuobi

This weekend, members from Texas Torque, the Robowranglers, and CRyptonite met at the Johnson Space Center, headquarters of FRC 118, the Robonauts, to prepare for the next event — the Lone Star Regional.

From morning to night, dedicated members from all teams worked together to simulate the upcoming matches. Making good use of the Robonauts’ practice field, the teams were able to hold three-on-three matches, even using simple spare robots to play defense. Through this, all the teams’ drivers and operators were able to gain realistic experience on the field.

Through the resources and effort provided by all, we were able to benefit greatly from the extra practice. Despite a few mechanical and electrical issues on the robot, Torque engineers made great progress in determining the necessary changes to the robot. Members and mentors of all teams present exchanged ideas and discussed potential strategies to maximize efficiency in the game.

FRC 118 passes the ball to our robot, completing the assist.

FRC 118 passes the ball to our robot, completing the assist.

Without a doubt, the upcoming week will be spent in further preparation for the Lone Star Regional. Our experiences with FRC 118, FRC 148, and FRC 624 were indispensable learning experiences and have helped us to advance significantly. We thank the Robonauts, FRC 118, for offering their home field to these fellow FRC teams in the spirit of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. In addition, we are very thankful for all of the time and effort that our fellow teams FRC 624 and FRC 148 put forth in coming out to practice. We can’t wait to see all of these teams and more at Lone Star!

Practice with FRC 3847 and FRC 3335

March 27, 2014 in Competition, Outreach by Humphrey Obuobi

This past weekend, Texas Torque hosted two teams – FRC 3847, Spectrum, and FRC 3335, Cy-Ranch Cyborgs, at our school to get a little extra practice before our Week Six event — the Lone Star Regional.

All three teams spent the day at The Woodlands College Park High School, home to Texas Torque World Headquarters. The teams made great use of the practice goals made by Texas Torque. It was exciting to see the progress made by the three teams over the course of the day as they made improvements. (Interestingly, the three teams happen to be the exact same teams that composed the winning alliance at our off-season event, the Houston Robot Remix!) At the same time, scouts and mentors alike took some time to watch the Greater Toronto East Regional.

All three robots in the middle of practice.

All three robots in the middle of practice.

The event certainly helped to prepare us for our next regional event, and we were glad to have shared the experience with our fellow teams. This upcoming week brings plenty of work, but we will continue to make all necessary changes to make sure that we are ready to compete.

To see a snapshot of our work over the weekend, see Spectrum’s video through this link.

Texas Torque at the Dallas Regional

March 18, 2014 in Competition, Slideshow by Humphrey Obuobi

After this year’s busy build season and the continued work on the robot throughout the last 9 weeks, Texas Torque was eager to compete at its first official FIRST Robotics Competition event since last year’s Championship — the Dallas Regional.

Following the first day, which consisted primarily of travel and pit setup, the team entered its first day of competition at the Dallas Regional. While key members in each of the build subteams spent nearly the entire day working on final adjustments on the robot, other teams members took time to help out other teams at the regional. As a team that considers Gracious Professionalism one of the driving influences on the team’s character, a solid portion of our team’s members went out into the pits to make sure that all teams would be in tip-top shape for the following day of competition. Work on the robot finished successfully as well; near the end of the day, our team played two practice matches to get a feel for the gameplay and performed very well on the field.

This year's robot performing in the qualification matches at Dallas. (Photo credit: FRC 1296)

This year’s robot performing in the qualification matches at Dallas. (Photo credit: FRC 1296)

On the second day of the competition and the first day of qualifications, Texas Torque started the day off with a bang , winning its first qualification match 165—28. As the day went on, Texas Torque suffered some mechanical and electrical difficulties, causing problems on the field. Still, the team’s members kept their spirits high, fixing problems as they arose with a respectable air of efficiency and calmness. The day ended with a victory playing with FRC 148, the Robowranglers, and a 5-3 record overall. That night, team leadership and scouting/strategy officials on the team met to discuss what could be seen in the following day of competition and potentially strong alliance partners in the next day of competition.

The third day of competition started with an unexpected loss due to further problems on the robot. We continued to play through the rest of the qualification matches, ranking 21st. We were happy to form an eliminations alliance with FRC 1817, the Roboraiders, and FRC 3735, the KleinBots. However, our 3rd seeded alliance lost in the quarterfinals due to the 6th seeded alliance after two hard fought matches.

The regional ended fantastically with a well-deserved Chairman’s Award, the first ever in Texas Torque’s history. The team is honored to have been bestowed this prestigious award and be identified as a team whose character and impact serves as a model for other FRC teams. The team celebrated this victory with a dinner with FRC 359, The Hawaiian Kids.

The presentation squad poses with the newly acquired Chairman's banner alongside a key mentor, Sherry Coats.

The presentation squad poses with the newly acquired Chairman’s banner alongside a key mentor, Sherry Coats.

Texas Torque would like to congratulate FRC 148, the Robowranglers, FRC 359 The Hawaiian Kids, and FRC 457, The Grease Monkeys, for their unchallenged victory at this event. In addition, we are gracious for the efforts of the Irving Convention Center for hosting the event, as well as the constant support of our sponsors and everyone involved with the team. We hope to see many of these amazing teams at the Lone Star Regional in two weeks; in the meantime, Texas Torque members across the board will be busy preparing for this upcoming challenge.

Subsea 7 and iTech 7 Offer Scholarships to Texas Torque Students

March 1, 2014 in Sponsor by Humphrey Obuobi

This year, our team has had the pleasure of welcoming two influential companies as sponsors and partners: Subsea 7 and its subsidiary, iTech 7. Mr. M. Landwehr, an employee of Subsea 7 and a parent of a Texas Torque student, has been gracious enough to develop something a little different: scholarships to graduating seniors on the team.

In a group presentation early Saturday morning, Mr. Landwehr explained the functions of his company and the details of the scholarships, dubbed the “Being 7 Scholarships” to emphasize the importance of certain qualities that Subsea 7 and its subsidiaries promote. Again promoting the power of the students, the Being 7 Scholarships enable all team members and mentors to nominate senior students who embody one or more of five key attributes: Saftey, Integrity, Collaboration, Innovation, and Performance. The final decision on these scholarships will be made by a selection committee composed of both Subsea 7 employees and dedicated Texas Torque adults.

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Demo Blitz Week for Texas Torque

February 28, 2014 in Outreach, Slideshow by Humphrey Obuobi

This past week has been one of the most active weeks in Texas Torque’s history, with robot tuning, lab organization… and three demonstrations at elementary schools in the Conroe Independent School District.

Team members distributed themselves among the three events at Armstrong Elementary, Anderson Elementary, and Bush Elementary, promoting science and technology at the various presentations. For many of the students, this was their first time getting to see a fully functional robot from Texas Torque; while some of the students remembered seeing our 2012 robot, VelociRiptar, we also presented our 2013 robot, Sonic, at two of the three demonstrations. Our students took great pride in explaining both the functions of our robot and our team to children and parents alike. Even our newest members were able to demonstrate knowledge of our team and FIRST as a whole.

And, of course, our team encouraged all students to join robotics if interested. We advertised FIRST programs to all students, suggesting everything from FIRST Lego League (FLL) to FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) as a channel for robotics experience. Many were pleasantly surprised to hear of our open membership policy and the range of students who can join Texas Torque in addition to the skill and poise that all volunteer members exhibited.

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Texas Torque is proud to be such an influential factor in the scientific growth of our community’s youth. In the future, we will certainly continue to strive for an even greater impact.

Texas Torque Volunteers at Local Science Events

February 18, 2014 in Outreach by Humphrey Obuobi

Texas Torque is well known for its active role in the community, and this year has been no exception. Despite one of the busiest schedules in Texas Torque’s history, team members made a constant effort to help out with the Sci:// Tech Exposition, an annual series of events and competitions held in Conroe ISD to promote science and technology.
At the beginning of the campaign, Texas Torque held a demonstration at the Lone Star Expo, where team members answered questions about the team and the 2013 robot. Outreach Captain Matt Bartell worked hard to organize members of the team to help judge the Junior and Senior divisions of the Engineering Design Competition, where students in grades 7 through 12 built basic robots to complete tasks on a timed course.
We are continuing these efforts with more demonstrations in the near future. Thanks to Texas Torque volunteers, the Sci://Tech Exposition was a great success, and hundreds of students were able to take part in a well-executed exploration into STEM applications.

Legislative Director Michael Houck visits TTWHQ

February 3, 2014 in Outreach, Sponsor by Humphrey Obuobi

This afternoon, Texas Torque hosted Michael Houck, the legislative director in the office of State Representative of District 15, Steve Toth.

Team members had the pleasure of showing Mr. Houck around our workspace, introducing him to the subteams that keep our organization running smoothly. Toward the middle of our meeting, Co-captain Vaishu Kishore, Outreach Lead Matthew Bartell, and Public Relations Lead Humphrey Obuobi led our guest to see the various prototypes within Texas Torque World Headquarters, including those developed within the current season. “Sonic,” our World Championship robot, was briefly demonstrated as well.

Students discuss the future of Texas Torque with Legislative Director Michael Houck.

Students discuss the future of Texas Torque with Legislative Director Michael Houck.

Mr. Houck also discussed the future goals of Texas Torque with these team representatives, including the possibility of a STEM center available to students of the Conroe Independent School District. We hope to develop the idea in the future to include all students in CISD involved in STEM related extracurricular activities and beyond. At the conclusion of our meeting, Mr. Houck presented Texas Torque with a congratulatory statement from the state government on our victory at the 2013 World Championship.

Texas Torque looks forward to a continued relationship with District 15 and the Texas state government, in addition to the potential advances that could result from their partnership and guidance.

Demonstration at Sci://Tech Exposition

February 3, 2014 in Outreach by Humphrey Obuobi

This past weekend, Texas Torque members traveled up to the Lone Star Convention Center for the Sci://Tech Exposition, a yearly convention of science and technology for students in the Conroe Independent School District.

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At the event, children from all over the district came together to see our Championship-winning robot, “Sonic,” while team members answered questions concerning robot design, engineering, and safety. Adults and children alike were fascinated by the outstanding feats of engineering on display. Rud Merriam, moderator of the website “Mystic Lake Software,” had this to say about the team:

This competition is for high-school students and, to be blunt, you have to be impressed by their poise and ability to engage with adults and children about their team and robot.

Through this demonstration, Texas Torque was able to reach hundreds of students in the district, thus continuing to spread the principles of STEM throughout the greater Houston area. The event was undeniably an enjoyable experience for both team members and spectators, and we hope to return next year to hopefully reach an even greater audience.