A Big “Thank You” to Our Sponsors!

This morning, at 7:30 a.m. we held a meeting to thank our sponsors, and we had an opportunity to show them the robot they’ve helped us build. Those who have donated have been a great assistance to the team.

As the day progressed, we began to plan out our trip to Houston. This included dates, times, hotels, and food.

In our Mars Yard Readiness Review (or M.Y.R.R.), we made a few updates to the information about the hand, the functional block diagram, and the programming.

We also made sure to get more practice in operating the robot. We had a chance to test out a few changes in the mission control software that would improve operating efficiency. However, C.L.O.E.E. had a bit of a “stroke.” Her board overheated, and that caused the entire left side of wheels to stop moving, so we had to solder some connections back together to get her working again. Here’s a picture of the board.Burned.png

After we got that fixed, the testing continued successfully.

C.L.O.E.E. even had to run speed tests. We determined her speed to be about 1 foot/sec.

Additionally, we completed a rough build of the “mock arm”, a scaled replica of the C.L.O.E.E.’s real arm. The plan is for the real arm to mimic the movements of the mock arm, which will be controlled by the team member’s hands.


Critical design review


We had our penultimate meeting with Rebecca, Bryan, and  Jessie.  We were given suggestions on how to transport our robot to Houston and how to make sure we have a functioning robot there. In addition, we got a couple of  electronics and CDR suggestions. After this meeting, we used these suggestions to update the CDR (previously PDR).

We have the final draft for our T-shirt design. We had many differences of opinion in the process of the word jumble over the font, font size, font color, background color, and just about anything else possible to argue about was argued about. After all of these differences, we came up with our final design.


A fifth camera was mounted to the underside of the robot. The new camera gives us depth perception. This has made picking up objects with our arm a great deal easier. The view from the new camera is the window on the left.

In addition to the new camera, the building team also added two springs to our robot and a chute. The springs were added underneath both sides of the robot to help keep it from tilting backwards with the rocker bogie system. This will help us stay steady during the competition. The chute was added to help rocks and other objects that we pick up go into our collection box.

On to hand design number 5! Our fifth hand design has more rounded corners and has pointed teeth all the way around to provide us with more grip.



Four Cameras!!!

All four existing cameras are up and running. We tested them by running CLOEE remotely outside from inside the building. The drivers confirmed that it was possible to navigate through the cameras.

This testing was also conducted to test CLOEE’s ability to run all functions and drive remotely. Besides having a little bit of trouble with a loose servo screw, CLOEE did very well in her test run.

We started the day by practice-presenting the PDR (preliminary design review) PowerPoint, to make sure everybody knew what they were saying. We all survived.

CLOEE enjoyed the model life today. She was out of commission today for and hour and a half because she had to have glamour shots taken by our local photographer Moose (Matt Young).

Caleb and Alyssa updated the hand design…..again.


Building Frenzy

Today we built a lot of things. The building team re-attached the arm to the rover. The programming team is currently re-establishing communication with the arm so it can function properly.The wiring has also gotten organized. The wires were sorted so they are easily distinguishable. The switches were also re-soldered and put onto the rover. Now the two main components, circuitry & computer, and servos can be controlled by two separate switches.

In the news of the mock arm, the arm is being built and the potentiometers are being ordered.


Stronger Hand

Today the hand got beefed up. The new linear actuator came in allowing the hand to become more powerful. The new more powerful arm is able to grip rocks. It can even pick up a tissue box. The team is also experimenting with a new idea of controlling the arm with a “mock arm”. The idea is that the mock arm will have potentiometers that will control the moments of the real arm by the potentiometer giving the arm’s servos positions. The programming team has controlled a servo by a potentiometer. A really helpful thing would be if a Prop C library was written to directly connect a Prop C board to a Verizon Jetpack ( Hint, Hint, Andy Lindsey). box hand.jpg

We updated the back of our shirt with this colorful word mashup.


Upgrades, So Many Upgrades

First thing this morning we had a design review “pre-meeting” before our actual design review. The team presented our designated slides to our advisors in preparation for our Preliminary Design 2 Review. We learned that you aren’t supposed to look at the slides you are talking about during a professional meeting, say umm um basically umm, and don’t let your hands do more talking than your mouth.


Lots of upgrading was done today. The old arm servos were replaced with stronger ones, the new hand finished 3D printing with its new set of teeth, and our PDR is being updated with new pictures as well.




C.L.O.E.E.’s hand was plastidipped much better this time. -Thank you Lizzie

The gimbal was programed into the remote control as well.

We have our new wheels on with their dog balls and went for a test drive outside!




Programming Day!!

The programming team had a field day today. Team lead, Hayden, reprogramed the controller to update the commands, added connection failure detection to the program, updated the arm network code, and fixed other bugs in the arm programming.


Our building team reglued the dog balls on our wheels.


Keep an eye on your mailboxes! We finished our many thank you notes  that includes information about an open house for our sponsors. Thank you again for everyone who donated. To help us continue to fundraise you can visit: https://www.coloradogives.org/TSJCRobotics Speaking of finances, we updated our travel budget and calculated how much money we needed to go to the NASA Mars Yard in Houston, TX in May. Traveling is EXPENSIVE!!!!





Our cameras are also streaming now so we can see where we are picking things up. We are going to be spending a lot 0f time practicing. Even the video gamers on this team seem to be struggling to learn this “real life” game of drop and pick up. We don’t currently have a winning score yet of those of who have tried.

Hayden and Lane are getting the gimbal up and working. The gimbal will allow a “bird’s eye” camera that sits atop a tower on the back of the robot to have a full range of motion to view all around.

We had a lesson in letter writing today-thank you Ms. C for showing us your knowledge of things past. Our thank you letters turned into an embarrassing learning curve for those of us in a generation of emails and texts with people who don’t know what pen pals are – apparently that’s a bad thing. As you can see, there is no room for a stamp, or a return address. In our defense, this was the worst of them (but we are getting there).


Blast From The Past


Today the team members learned the history of the robotics program. Since we are presenting at an art gallery’s open house, the team decided that each years robot should be presented to the public. Each robot is being presented by two team members. It was amusing when Tony and Lizzie turned an old robot on that immediately ran away when they turned it on. They jumped up and chased after it when they recovered from their heart attack. Jenny said, “Yeah, that’s BEK-E. She’s our fastest.”

The robots are being presented by:

Whiskers: Caleb and Auguste

CASPER II: Josh and Mark

C.A.T. by:Alyssa and Seychelle

A.L.L.E.N. by: Valon  and Lane

B.E.K.- E. by: Tony and Elizabeth

S.A.B.L.E. by: Hayden and Jenny

Jenny and Seychelle are working on our new T-shirts. They were having a bit too much fun with it. Here’s what I mean. We will post True T-Shirt when it’s officially finished.

T-shirt joke

Hayden has been working on getting the dynamixal motors working again on the arm. The motors have a red light on them that signals that something is wrong. The problem this time was not that the motors were overheating, it was that the batteries were dying, thus making the motors struggle. The programing team is also working on programming the base servo for the arm today. The programing team will continue to work on getting the arm up and running.

We tried to pick up Mr. Bill and put him in the box. Got half-way there.

Rainbow Wheels

How many students does it take to color coordinate and glue pokeys onto wheels? (5 apparently). Today, Jenny, Seychelle, Tony, Valon, and Caleb cut up pokey dog balls and glued them to the reprinted wheels. It took them a while to decide on the color scheme, but we decided on the most colorful option (As you can see).


Hayden, Auguste, Karen, Lane, and Josh tested the robotic arm’s camera. We realized there is a blind spot and decided to remount the camera another day. Also, the arm’s base servo doesn’t always work correctly, so Hayden will be fixing that soon. We also put a spring on the robotic arm to spread out the weight the servo needs to lift. Lane, Auguste, Lizzie, Jenny, and Tony all tried their hand at controlling the arm. August is currently the winning controller. He said, “I guess video games have paid off!” We tested lifting up small rocks and the alien life form (Mr. Bill). Whoever is best at controlling our arm will get to control the arm during the Johnson Space Rock yard test. Jenny’s mom brought Pizza for everyone! YAY!