Team Collaboration at NASA

March 31, 2014 in Competition, Slideshow by Scott Rippetoe

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 Scott Rippetoe

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 Scott Rippetoe

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 Scott Rippetoe

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.