2014 Indiana Robotics Invitational

July 20, 2014 in Competition by Reagan Spexarth

From July 18th to the 19th, Texas Torque competed in the 15th annual Indiana Robotics Invitational, an off-season “All-Star” event held in Indianapolis, IN. We were thrilled to have participated as one of the top 68 teams competing from all across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We were especially pleased to see Texas so well represented, with a delegation of six robots that included 118 The Robonauts, 148 The Robowranglers, 624 CRyptonite, 1477 Texas Torque, 1817 RoboRaiders, and 2468 Team Appreciate.

Qualification rounds began on Friday, in which Texas Torque competed in six matches. During the qualifications Texas Torque suffered a wide variety of mechanical malfunctions, leading to losses in four of our six matches. However, due to the quick thinking of our pit-crew, Texas Torque was able to fix and overcome these difficulties and go on to win matches 34 and 62. Match 62 in particular was a great testament to our abilities, because along with alliance partners 118 and 51, Texas Torque was able to win the match with the highest score of the entire competition (335).

On Saturday Texas Torque completed our final three qualification rounds, with a 1-2 record. With this mind, Texas Torque went on to prepare for alliance selection. In the second round of selection, Texas Torque was invited to join the 5th seed alliance, in which we were happy to have joined up with teams 2175 The Fighting Calculators, 368 Team Kika Mana, and 233 The Pink Team for the elimination portion of the competition. We were also glad to see our fellow Texas teams 118, 148, and 624 make it into the eliminations portion of competition.

In a heart-pounding first quarterfinal match, the fifth seeded alliance (playing 2175, 368, and 1477) lost to the fourth seeded alliance 153-322. The fifth seeded alliance (playing 2175, 368, and 233) then lost the second nerve-wracking quarterfinal match to the fourth seeded alliance 207-321, eliminating our alliance from the competition.

Texas Torque is grateful for the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the FIRST Robotics Competition, as well as to have had such a great learning opportunity to prepare the team for the upcoming build season. We would like to thank teams 45 TechnoKats, 234 Cyber Blue, and 1024 Kil-A-Bytes for hosting such the event, as well as Indiana FIRST for organizing and streaming the competition. We would also like to congratulate teams 2056, 469, 1625, and 4039 for winning this years IRI competition, with a special shout out to the third member of the winning alliance, 1625, whom we had the pleasure of partnering with earlier this year.

Texas Torque team members pose after the competition.

Superintendent of CISD Visits TTWHQ

July 15, 2014 in Outreach, Sponsor by Reagan Spexarth

This summer, Texas Torque had the pleasure of hosting a visit for the CISD Superintendent, Dr. Stockton at the Texas Torque World Headquarters in The Woodlands College Park High School.

Team members took great joy in showing Dr. Stockton around our workspace, introducing him to the subteams that keep our organization running smoothly. The Superintendent also had the opportunity to talk to individual team members about their daily activities, so that he could better understand just how much of an impact Texas Torque has on its students.

Toward the middle of our meeting, outreach sub-team members Jeffrey Zhang, Reagan Spexarth, and Lexalee Flanagan gave Dr. Stockton a brief presentation over the possibility of a STEM center available to students of CISD. This STEM center would allow Texas Torque to expand past the constraints of our current lab, as well as to encourage greater participation in BEST, FLL, and VEX robotics. The team is currently working on location and layout, but still plans to present this STEM center proposal to the CISD Bond Committee this coming fall.

At the conclusion of our meeting Dr. Stockton drove our 2014 robot “Rev1” around the field set-up, even getting the opportunity to help shoot game pieces into the goals.

Texas Torque looks forward to a continued relationship with the Superintendent, as well as the current  potential of a CISD STEM center to be built in our district.

Texas Torque students explain the different functions of the robot to Superintendent Dr. Stockton.

Primrose Demonstrations

July 11, 2014 in Outreach by Reagan Spexarth

Earlier this summer, Texas Torque performed not one, but five demonstrations in our area. These demonstrations were done at local Primrose Preschools, for children from the ages of 2-6, as a way to give the children their very FIRST look at robotics. Team members distributed themselves among the five events around our community, promoting science and technology at the various presentations. Our 2013 World Championship robot “Sonic” was demonstrated at two of these events, while our 2014 robot “Rev1” had its very first showing at the three others. Our students took pride in explaining the function of our robot to the children.

Texas Torque Primrose~Sunday 2

Texas Torque is proud to be such an influential factor in the scientific growth of our community’s youth. We are continuing these efforts with more demonstrations in the near future and we will certainly continue to strive for an even greater impact.

2014 FIRST Pitch

July 9, 2014 in Outreach by Reagan Spexarth

In addition to the Houston Astros vs. Detroit Tigers game, there were FIRST teams all around Minute Maid Park this past Sunday. Texas Torque joined forces with robotics teams from around Houston to demonstrate their hard work and “Make it Loud”. Texas Torque was pleased to have organized this event for the second time in a row, and hope to establish this as an annual off-season event for all of the teams in the Houston area.

Texas Torque Comicpalooza~Sunday 2

Starting early in the morning, robots could be seen everywhere in Minute Maid Park. 1477 Texas Torque and 624 CRyptonite demonstrated their 2013 robots from Ultimate Ascent in Union Station, much to the entertainment of the crowds. Our team members were happy to encourage the young children in attendance to join FIRST robotics teams in their schools. Just outside the entrance gates, robots from Aerial Assist performed alongside eachvother, propelling the 2014 game pieces into the air. As the Astro’s game spectators walked along the park’s inner rim, all of the teams had booths set up, playing release videos, showing off 2012 robots, and handing out stickers, buttons, and brochures. All of the teams in attendance were happy to answer the questions from the crowds and were proud to promote FIRST in our community.

FIRST Pitch was a huge success thanks to support by the Astros’ administration and management. We hope to continue our partnership with them, so that we may promote FIRST in the years to come.

A huge shout out to the other teams in attendance, 624 CRypotnite, 148 Robowranglers, 3847 Spectrum, and 2587 Discobots. Texas Torque would like to thank these teams again for their time, support, and participation in this event.

The teams lined up for a group photo with the robots.

Texas Torque student speaking to a crowd of Astros game spectators.

Microsoft Store Demonstration

July 8, 2014 in Outreach by Reagan Spexarth

Texas Torque had a very successful demo this past week at the grand opening of the Microsoft Store in The Woodlands. While there, Texas Torque engaged people of all ages by speaking about FIRST, FRC, and our team as the crowds waited to enter the store. We then showed off our 2012 Rebound Rumble robot and handed out stickers to the attending children. In addition to these normal demo activities, Texas Torque also had the opportunity to meet with James “The Beard” Harden, an olympic gold medalist and professional basketball player for The Rockets. Students were able to “Make it Loud” by talking to Harden about both FIRST Robotics and Texas Torque. Harden then signed our 2012 robot, Velociriptar, and in return Texas Torque offered him one of our iconic t-shirts.

James “The Beard” Harden with members of Texas Torque.

Fourth of July Parade

July 7, 2014 in Outreach by Reagan Spexarth

This past Fourth of July, Texas Torque team members walked the 1.3 mile stretch for this year’s city parade held annually in The Woodlands, Texas. Between the South Pacific musical and the firetruck, kids watched in awe as our robot, Rev1, shot 2 feet in diameter exercise balls to the crowd of Torque following behind. Proudly wearing it’s patriotism, Rev1 performed at its highest, mounted where all could see. Stickers and smiles were shared throughout the crowd as Texas Torque displayed it’s patriotism and spread the enjoyment of FIRST to an excited community.

We hope to participate in this wondrous event in the upcoming years, continuing to Make It Loud!

Photo: Happy Birthday America!