Our fifth year (2004-05) as a team was one of our best. The City Council conferred on us a proclamation from the City of New York in honor of our 2003 robot, Lola. We had an amazing recruiting season; the entire lab was packed with over 70 students for the lab safety lecture!
Kickoff arrived, when F.I.R.S.T. introduced a game called “Triple Play” involving tetrahedral game pieces that needed to be stacked on larger, similarly-shaped goals, analogous to a giant game of tic-tac-toe. Our robot, Yvette, was designed to pick up a ‘tetra’ and successfully stack it on a goal. The design used a pulley system with a motor reeling in a cord, which pulled a carriage with a horizontal piece to ‘lance’ a tetra and secure it safely on the arm. Our drive system was built using F.I.R.S.T.’s standard kit parts with six custom-made wheels. The robot had a two-speed shift-on-the-fly drive train which operated by repositioning the entire gear box using pneumatics, that would tighten and loosen certain belts on the drive system.
At the New York City Regional, Yvette proved herself to be an amazing robot, and our drive team stood out as we capped tetras at an incredible rate. Our programming team’s prowess in the 15-second “autonomous mode” won the Radio Shack Innovation in Control Award as Yvette was able to cap a tetra and simultaneously release another tetra hanging from the goal. Our primary engineering mentor, Tom Ferguson, won the Woodie Flowers Award based on four years of unwavering dedication to Team 694.
The highlight of 2005, however, was winning the NYC Regional Chairman’s Award. This is F.I.R.S.T.’s most prestigious award, recognizing the team which shows an outstanding commitment to F.I.R.S.T.’s ideals and values of community outreach and good citizenship.
Winning the Chairman’s Award qualified us to attend the 2005 Championship Event held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. In our division of 80 robots, we placed thirteenth and were chosen by the fourth-seeded team, Emery Collegiate Institute from Toronto, Canada. With this alliance we advanced to the semi-finals, the first time our team had ever moved beyond the seeding matches in a national event.