October 15 Meeting

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On October 15, the N.E.R.D.S. team met at the house of Mr. Gerald Nelson to have the regular Saturday meeting. The attendance included Caden Peck, Michael Burke, Evan Nothstine, Mr. Nelson, fellow mentor Mr. Ross, Kevin Henggeler, Nathan Meyer, and new member Colton Swalley.

The meeting began with the viewing of a short YouTube video called “Team 9920 Vex Skyrise Mecanum Drive.” This video showed a robot using Mecanum wheels. These are wheels that can move in any direction with incredible smoothness. After viewing the video, the team immediately agreed to use these wheels for the challenge. To see the video, please click here. Each wheel requires an individual motor for proper functioning. Mr. Nelson made plans to order the wheels, and the meeting continued. The team decided to build a robot for the temporary purpose of getting a feel for future drivers and the wheels themselves. After this was all decided, the meet continued with Mr. Nelson explaining the various parts of a robot, their functions, and their importance. Like the body, the robot parts act like organs. The battery acts like the heart, with the 12 volt power wiring acting like the circulatory system carrying fresh energy through the robot. The USB wires are the nervous system, carrying electrical impulses that tell the robot what to do. The Android ZTE computer is akin to the brain, as chief receiver and creator of commands. The sensors are the eyes, ears, and touch, while the servos and motors are the muscles. (Mr. Nelson explained in biological terms due to the fact that most members were more familiar with anatomy than with physics and robotics.) As Kevin and Colton unwrapped and categorized new parts, Mr. Nelson went on to talk about a simple and effective sensor example. It consisted of a button on one side that when triggered, would show the robot that it was in contact with an object. Team 9960 talked about the uses of such a sensor, such as using it to learn when the robot was in contact with the wall, avoiding damaging collisions, and knowing if it had properly obtained a cap ball. The team then had a short talk on possible gear options, such as the well known classic toothed gear, or fancier types like planetary gears. After this, the team discussed the upcoming Smithville qualifier meet on December 10. The group will go observe and to gain insight and inspiration for the team’s future creation. For final notes, mentors were reminded to go through the regular screening process for such a position, and members were reminded to look out for inspiration for possible ways to launch any and all point balls into the center arena vortex. This concluded the October 15 meeting.

The team was very excited to receive and work with the Mecanum Wheels. They shall hopefully ensure Team 9960 of Northwest Missouri a great victory in the upcoming challenge on January 21.