First Robotics Competition 2019 Kickoff

January 7, 2019 in Outreach by Texas Torque

Last Saturday, students, mentors, alumni, parents, and supporters of Texas Torque met up in The Woodlands College Park High School LGI to watch the FIRST Robotics Competition 2019 game reveal. This much-anticipated webcast revealed the year’s challenge and marked the beginning of the new FRC season, DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE.

The 2019 competition involves a space themed game in which two teams of three robots compete to grab disk shaped “hatch” panels to place on a “rocket” or a “cargo ship”, then place “cargo” kickballs afterward. In the first 15 seconds of the game, a sandstorm, or black curtain, is lowered in front of the drive teams, instead of the autonomous periods in past years. At this time, teams can control the robot using visual feedback from the robot and its cameras and sensors. After the initial sandstorm, the curtain is then raised for the tele-operated period. In the last 20 seconds of the match, teams return their robots to the habitat platform and scale different levels of steps to gain additional points.

The following video released by FIRST further explains the challenge.

Following the exciting reveal, Torque members spent the next few hours brainstorming and discussing design and strategy for the game. Students collaborated with mentors and alumni to come up with prototype ideas and strategies to maximize match scores. For the next six weeks, team members will work to design, prototype, construct, and program a new robot for the season before the seven week competition season begins.

Texas Torque wishes all teams the best of luck and hopes that everyone has fun this season!

Mexico FLL Camp

November 10, 2018 in Outreach by Texas Torque

During the summer of 2018, two Texas Torque members, Ithza and Cristy Lopez, traveled down to Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Mexico to host the FIRST Lego League (FLL) camp, Construyendo los Ingenieros de Mañana (Building Tomorrow’s Engineers). They borrowed an FLL field and robot materials from Texas Torque as well as books in Spanish from local libraries to encourage reading.

The CIM Robotics camp established itself in Casa Grande in the summer of 2017.
Aimed to spread Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and encourage STEM education equally to boys and girls, the camp was also two of Torque’s team members’ rural hometown.

In 2017, Ithza and Cristy were the sole mentors and only one school was able to participate in the camp. This year, every elementary school in the area was invited. Thirty 4th-6th grade students were accepted from the list of applicants as well as twelve student mentors from local community colleges. Alongside attendance growth, a small library was added to the camp so students would be able to read while participating, during recess, and at home.

At the end of the camp, the Texas Torque representatives hosted a closing ceremony. Local news stations and government, businessmen and women, engineers from the regional association, and a mentor from FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) 6684 RoboCats from Laredo attended the closing ceremony. At the ceremony, special awards were presented for an exemplary mentor and a handful of students who showed outstanding qualities as young engineers.

After the ceremony, Ithza and Cristy provided information on the requirements and benefits of official team formation. Using the information provided, Grupo Mexico has announced it will be sponsoring FLL teams in Nueva Rosita as well as their national network of sites for the 2019 FLL competition season. A private school in Nueva Rosita will also be forming a competitive group of FLL engineers, as well as several public schools in the area seeking sponsorship for teams. Thanks to the efforts of the Lopez sisters, Texas Torque has helped to spread the influence of FIRST on a global level in a town that is close to their hearts.

Concessions

October 6, 2018 in Outreach by Texas Torque

On October 5th, Woodforest Bank Stadium was completely filled for the exciting College Park vs Klein Forest football game. Hundreds of fans cheered for their teams while 36 Texas Torque members provided them with the fuel to do so.

Concessions Photo

While mentors took orders and handled the cash registers, students prepped and supplied tasty concessions. Local boy scouts worked alongside our team members to collectively raise money for the Ray Wert Memorial Scholarship. Mr. Wert was a beloved mentor who passed away this past spring, his family donated $1,000 to create a memorial scholarship that was to be given to a student with Mr. Wert’s principles. With the funds raised by these students and mentors, an exemplary member of Texas Torque will receive this scholarship in memory of Mr. Wert’s dedication to his students.

 

In Loving Memory_Wert

China Trip- July 2018

August 17, 2018 in Competition, FRC, Outreach by Texas Torque

Texas Torque went abroad from July 20th through the 29th to participate in 2018 Chinese Robotics Challenge. At the competition, Texas Torque represented the United States by advancing to the semifinals as a part of the third seed alliance. Alongside Beijing-based teams 7095 HiMach and 5449 Prototype, Texas Torque showed off their 2018 robot Armageddon. Team 1477 mentor, Matt Davies, performed as Master of Ceremonies for the competition, bringing his southern charm to the opposite side of the globe. After the tournament concluded, event organizers took foreign teams on a tour of local areas around the South China Sea.

The team representatives also participated in cultural events. During the China exchange activity, Texas Torque took a fourteen-hour bullet train ride to Zhengjiang to meet team 6304 EAGLE and visit their facility. After the tour, Texas Torque revisited its past by competing with soccer robots against EAGLE.  Other activities included learning from experts in paper cutting, modeling clay, and Chinese knot making. When some members of the team fell sick, EAGLE generously covered the hospital bills. The team representatives visited Cultural History museums where they put their hands into fermented foods, ate specialty noodles, and viewed culturally significant artifacts. The final stretch of the trip involved Torque visiting the village of Zhen and a nearby Buddhist temple.

The team members that went on this once-in-a-lifetime trip received cultural and robotics knowledge, as well as developed international friendships. Texas Torque is extremely grateful for the opportunity to represent the United States given by Team EAGLE and hope for future cooperation.

2018 Repsol Student Awards

April 13, 2018 in FRC, Outreach, Slideshow by Texas Torque

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On Thursday, April 12, Texas Torque was invited to attend the Repsol Student Awards, an event created by Repsol to recognize students who placed first in any local STEM related school district competition.

We demonstrated our 2018 robot “Bravo”, a version of our bagged competition robot, which we built for drive team practice in our lab. Although the stage space was too small to fully use and extend our robotic arm, we were able to invite NASA Astronaut Dr. Anna Lee Fisher to drive “Bravo” around the stage.

signing

At the event, Texas Torque members had the opportunity to speak with Dr. John Charles, a NASA researcher and head scientist, Dr. Anna Lee Fisher, a NASA Astronaut and Medical doctor, the president of Repsol, and our school district’s remarkable superintendent Dr. Don Stockton. Both Dr. Charles and Dr. Fisher were kind enough to sign Bravo’s blue bumpers after taking group photos.

A high-achieving local FLL team 983 had also been invited to the Repsol Student Award ceremony, and the FLL team presented their own homemade video showcasing their achievements, much like an FRC Chairman’s Award video.

Texas Torque was honored to attend the event and we were happy to present our accomplishments  to our local business community, from parents, to small business owners, to major corporations.

2018 South Florida Regional

April 7, 2018 in Competition, Outreach, Slideshow by Philip Wallis

This past weekend, the students, and mentors of Texas Torque traveled to West Palm Beach, Florida, to compete for our week 5 competition, South Florida Regional. Texas Torque competed in 10 hard fought qualification matches, which resulted us in the rank 34 position. By gracious decisions of the alliance captain 1251, Tech-Tiger Robotics, and their first pick 1902, Exploding Bacon, we were able to join their alliance to compete as the 7th seed alliance.

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After 3 hard fought quarter-final matches, we were able to advance to semi finals, where we have been knocked off by the 6th seed alliance, team 1744, 2383, and 3164. Although some issues came along, the drive team did the best they could do to win the match. Congratulations on regional finalists to the 6th seed alliance, and the 1st seed alliance, 179, 180, and 1369 for their regional win.

Good news for the team came along during the awards ceremony, when Texas Torque was selected as the Chairman’s Award winner! This is our 4th Chairman’s Award in five years, which continues the three-year streak of winning Chairman’s Award. You can watch our 2018 Chairman’s Video here.

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In two weeks, Texas Torque will be competing in the 2018 Houston FIRST Championship. As we prepare for the event, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or The Blue Alliance for updates on our progress.