According to club sponsor George Giltner, the TechHOUNDS robotics team has been working diligently during its six-week build season after receiving official game instructions for “Rebound Rumble” on Jan. 7.
“Right now, we have a drive train and a collection device to collect the balls. We’re currently working on a way to get the balls to our shooter and making a shooting mechanism,” Giltner said. “We plan on being done with all that and handing over the robot to our programmers and electrical team so they can wire and program it next week.”
Ryan Wilmes, student team lead and senior, said he is satisfied with the team’s rapid progress thus far.
“Throughout divisions, everyone’s making substantial progress,” Wilmes said. “Construction finished the playing field a couple days ago, and they are working on finalizing the pit design.”
In years past, the TechHOUNDS team has shipped its finalized robot inside a crate, and that crate has served as part of the pit for robot repair and maintenance during competition. This year, however, the TechHOUNDS team must bring the robot to competition on its own. Therefore, according to Wilmes, the construction division must redesign the pit.
“Robot ops made very, very fast progress during the first two weeks, where they successfully defined our strategy and then moved on to prototyping the shooter, the elevator, the ball intake and then the bridge-lowering mechanism,” Wilmes said.
Giltner said he is especially proud of the programming and electrical division, which has successfully accomplished visual video recognition for the first time in this team’s history.
“The programmers have done a really good job with a camera that can visualize and detect the goal,” he said. “What they’re waiting from the robot ops (division) right now is creating a turret which will rotate the camera and basically survey to see the goal.”
According to Wilmes, who also served as student team lead last year, the team is working faster than it did last year.
Part of the team’s rapid progress may be due to similarities between this year’s game and that of 2006.
“In 2006, it was almost the exact same game, where we had to shoot balls into a hole on the wall. They were smaller Nerf balls, but it was similar,” Giltner said. “We are familiar with collecting balls; we’re familiar with shooting balls, but we’ve never had to do it so accurately.”
Both Giltner and Wilmes said they hope each division will not grow complacent with the team’s overall progress.
“For the most part, everyone’s been diligently working and getting stuff done,” Wilmes said. “(I hope) that we keep forging ahead so that even if we do get stuff done early, we’re refining it to make it better for competition.”