Early Reports From On-Site Robotics Team

Chris Vincent reports from Detroit that “not much to report again during our first day (Friday) here. Check in went well. We spent the day working on the robot (finding out that putting magnetometers next to large magnetic-field inducing motors is bad), wandering around town (to find grocery stores and late-night food), and checking out other teams’ entries (apparently you can turn a four wheeler into a robot). Weather’s holding out (no rain) and is surprisingly cool considering past competitions.
Sunday morning, around 1:00 a.m. Chris goes on to say “as far as today, a lot went on. We were informed about an hour before our design presentation that not all of our paperwork was filled out correctly (the same paperwork we had submitted four weeks prior). However, after a couple of frantic phone calls and faxes with our advisor, Dr. Wunsch*, everything got straightened out.
The Design Presentation went very well. The judges were very impressed with our professionalism, the flow of our presentation, and the design of our robot. Unfortunately, we failed to make the finals (top 6) but are still holding out hope that we achieved a top ten finish (even though we won’t hear about that for several weeks).
On the autonomous side, programming is still progressing. Our sensors are looking very good, and we plan to qualify Aluminator, complete with stylish shades, tomorrow morning. No hardware failures so far (knock on wood).
*While these teams are pretty much autonomous (like they hope their ‘bot will be), hovering in the background is a staff or faculty advisor who serves as the uber-source of technical knowledge. In a pinch the advisor can throw his weight behind the team in cases of mis-communication. In this case back in Rolla Dr. Don Wunsch apparently became the team’s attorney and helped the event judges “see the light”. Don is a soft-spoken, all-round great guy who really knows his stuff. Just don’t get in a chess game with him.
More later today.