FIRSTmember | FIRST Song Parody

November 1, 2016
Written by Chantal Cheung

Photography by Gary Chen

With the submission deadline on November 1, 2016, Team 4001 had to less than a month to write lyrics, film and edit the music video. Week after week of hard work from our music video crew, the Jazz Band and singers, we were able to submit a song parody that we are all proud of! More importantly though, working on this video gave us the opportunity to bond as a team and share many special moments together. This experience has definitely taught us more about gracious professionalism and cooperitition. (*wink wink*) Thank you to all the lyric writers, singers, filmers, editors, and the Jazz Band for your hard work!

FRC Canada's Golf Day

July 7, 2016
Written by Paulina Phang-Lyn

Over the summer, members of Team 4001 represented FIRST at FIRST Canada’s Golf Day. It was hosted at Angus Glen Golf Club on July 7, 2016. Members from teams 4476 and 4343 also attended, not to mention a few FLL teams. Throughout the day, they demonstrated their robots, talked to sponsors, and promoted FIRST. The students were eager to share their experiences in FIRST with the sponsors. Many were taught by the students on how to operate their robots.

Festival de Robotique

This past weekend, Team 4001 attended Festival de Robotique in Montreal, Quebec. 

Day 1

On Wednesday afternoon, we packed up all our paraphernalia and headed onto the road. We were headed to Montreal to compete in our second regional competition of the year.  All the students and teachers were very excited to be on our way to our next competition, so the bus ride there was full of students eating snacks, doing homework, listening to music, and overall just enjoying the company of one another. We arrived in Montreal later that evening, and relaxed before getting ready for bed since the grade 10's had OSSLT in the morning, and the rest of the team had practice matches.

Day 2

The team had an early start in order to get the pit ready, as well as the robot. The grade 10's on the team however, headed off to do their OSSLT. During practice rounds, we decided to make some improvements on the robot that didn't go too well. One problem after another occurred, so we decided to keep the changes that worked, and change what didn't work back to its original setting. We had an incident where one of our battery's started smoking which gave us all a scare. After lunch, the grade 10's joined the team at Stade Uniprix to observe and enjoy the practice rounds. After a long day for the team, we went back to the hotel to discuss the plans for qualification rounds.

Day 3

After a hurried breakfast, the team got on the bus so we could get to the competition early and set up. After a quick safety meeting, the drive team and pit crew went off to the pits to get ready for our first match, while the rest of the team took their place in the stands. A short scouting meeting took place in the stands while we waited for the opening ceremony to begin. Since this was our first time at this regional, we didn't know what to expect for the opening ceremony because each regional competition brings something special. It was a very interesting and engaging opening ceremony, getting all the teams pumped and ready to go for the qualification matches. Founder Dean Kamen was also there which was very exciting! 

The qualifications started, and throughout the day we kept improving. We all practiced our French while we talked to other teams. We enjoyed meeting new teams throughout the day while slowly moving up in the rankings. In every game that we played, we tried to improve one thing. Whether it was scaling faster, breaching more defenses, scoring more goals, or capturing the tower with other teams. We had a good first day, and we were excited to move up in the rankings the next day and improve upon our scores. When we got back to the hotel, we were all tired, but we ended up staying in a scouting meeting for about 2.5 hours. We had a plan, and we were determined to carry out.

Day 4

We had an early morning start, since we had to all pack our bags onto the bus. We ended up doing our safety meeting on the bus in order to save some time, so that when we went inside, we would be more efficient. As soon as we got inside, the drive team and pit crew went off to the pits once again, while the rest of the team went to claim our seats in the stands. After another wonderful opening ceremony, we began the remaining qualification rounds. When qualification rounds concluded, we were sitting in 10th place. Alliance selection was shortly after, which didn't give us a lot of time to discuss our ranking. 

After alliance selection, we were chosen by our alliance captain Team 3544, and joined Team 2626 as alliance 5. We were excited to be working with some awesome teams, and we all had the drive to win. Qualifications went well, although we had to play a third match as a tiebreaker. We ended up moving on to the semifinals, where we were beaten by the first place alliance, Team 5618, Team 3990, and Team 3533. It was a heated battle, where our alliance did not give up. We had won the first match, which had given us hope, but they had won the second, meaning we had to play another tiebreaker. The first place alliance were able to just edge us out. They ended up becoming Regional Champions, which we would like to congratulate them on. We had an amazing alliance, and we ended up playing some great matches. 

During the award ceremony, we were so happy for all the teams that won an award, and we would like to not only congratulate them, but to also congratulate all the other teams on doing so well, and showing so much gracious professionalism throughout the duration of the competition. We didn't go home empty handed though; we walked away with a very prestigious award, that we are all very proud of, the Engineering Inspiration Award. We are so thankful for receiving it. This award qualified us for Worlds, but since we had already qualified by winning the Greater Toronto Central Regional earlier this month, our spot was given to the second alliance captain, Team 3360. Congratulations!

We headed home after a long weekend, and got back to our school around 1:30 am. We were all happy with our accomplishments from this competition, and couldn't wait to tell the school. That had to wait since it was 1:30 am on a Sunday morning, and no one was at school.

 

We are so excited to be going to Worlds in less than a month now, and we couldn't be more thankful for being able to travel there once again. This was a great season for us, which is not over just yet!

Rogers Daytime TV and Aerospace Ontario Research and Tech Week

Today was a busy day for our two captains, Celina Tang and Erich Phang-Lyn, as well as one of our senior team members Kelly Yuan. They started off the morning with a visit to Rogers Daytime TV, where they represented our Team 4001 as well as FIRST Canada on the local TV station. They talked about FIRST, what went into building their robot, and their personal experiences on the team. They were also asked to demonstrate our robot; we only showed our ability to drive and shoot low goals since shooting high goals and climbing are unsafe and could lead to technical difficulties in the facility.

 

 Shortly afterwards, they arrived back at school just in time for third period before heading off again, but this time to the Aerospace Ontario Research and Tech week at the Toronto Congress Centre. We were joined there by fellow FRC team, Team 1325 Inverse Paradox. We discussed topics similar to what they had previously discussed at Rogers Daytime TV. They also went more in depth on their personal experiences and outreach. Topics such as coop at one of our sponsors, Quanser, starting and mentoring teams in China, and the role we play in FLL. They had a long day promoting our team, but enjoyed every minute of it.

 

Greater Toronto Central Regional 2016, FIRST Stronghold

Day 1

The day kicked off with the opening ceremony, and a few guest speakers. The excitement for the matches to begin, could be felt within the atmosphere of the preparation for competition. Our day began very early, seeing as we had one of the first matches of the day. The team members that sat in the stands got organized quickly, so they could begin their scouting. This was most of our team members first time not only at the Greater Toronto Central Regional robotics competition, but also at their very first FIRST competition. Everyone was excited to see our robot in action. Our day began with a rocky start in the competition, but we knew that we would be able to pull through, and as the day progressed, so did we - within the rankings. At the end of day one, we were sitting in the middle of the pack, with high hopes that day two would increase our standings.

Day 2

Team 4001 had a very successful second day at the regional qualifiers. The day kicked off with many guest speakers including the president of FIRST Canada. Our team battled through the competition and climbed up in the rankings during the final matches of the qualifiers. After the qualification matches were over, we stood in fourth place overall. During alliance selection, we were chosen to be in an alliance with the first seed team, Team 3683, Team DAVE. Joining our alliance was also Team 5039, IRISH IRON. All was going well during our first quarterfinal match against the 8th alliance, Team 781, Team 5834, and Team 854, until our circuit board was hit. We were still able to win against the 8th alliance, but we had many technical difficulties. Due to the condition of our robot, our alliance made the decision to have us sit out the next match because we were confident that with the extra time, we could be able to fix our robot and test it. We were also confident that we could still be able to win even without the help of our team in this match (still against the 8th alliance). Our alliance then fought a 2 vs 3 match, which we won in a tight match, by a margin of one point. In the short time that was available, the drivers, builders, and programmers worked hard and efficiently to fix the robot. Our team moved on to the semifinals, and played two difficult matches. We were able to win those too, which qualified us to play in the finals. Members from Team 3683, Team DAVE, and Team 5039, IRISH IRON, and members from our own team were all very excited. We all wanted the win, and we knew that we could achieve it. Throughout the final matches of the day, which determined the Greater Toronto Central Regional champions, we fought hard and came out on top. All three teams, in our alliance, cheered and celebrated as the final score came up to determine who the champions were. After a long day, we were champions of the Greater Toronto Central Regional's. We also walked away with the Creativity Award, which gave our team another dose of happiness. 

We would like to congratulate all the teams who competed at the Greater Toronto Central Regional; everyone did amazing. We would also like to thank Team 3683, Team DAVE our alliance captain, and Team 5039, IRISH IRON, for being on an alliance with us, and helping us to achieve all our wins.

2016 Kick-off Day: Stronghold

The cafeteria tables at St. Robert Catholic High School were filled with Team 4001 members, eagerly awaiting the reveal of this year's FIRST robotics game.

The name of the game was revealed to be, FIRST Stronghold. Teams are required to build a robot that would, with 2 other alliances, attempt to capture and defeat the enemy’s tower. Robots must first go through a line of defensive obstacles and then throw boulders through the towers in order to weaken their strength.

This day has brought excitement and anticipation in the students. As the live-stream ended, the team immediately got to work. All of the students settled down to read the manual filled with more details about the game and rules. Afterwards, the team split into smaller groups to brainstorm ideas. Each group came up with different strategies on how to approach this game. This led to a group discussion on robot designs, pertaining to the strategies discussed earlier. A couple of students even took to the whiteboard to draw out all the types of obstacles that the robots would be facing on the court. Everybody shared their thoughts on how we would approach this game.

We look forward to the six week build season and accomplishing our high expectations of the competition season.

"Every Piece Has Its Place" Award

Team 4001 has a tradition of celebrating one of its graduate students for their hard work and dedication to the team. The graduating student receives an award which includes a bursary provided by the sponsors of Team 4001. It is presented to a student who has demonstrated kindness and respect in the fierce of competition. In the "First Robotics" world, this is referred to as "co-opetition".

This year our team captain, William L., won "Every Piece Has Its Place Award" for his dedication and hard work over the last four years.

Co-op at Quanser

 This year one of our team members, Celina Tang, got the opportunity to work at Quansar as a co-op student. Quansar is one of our main sponsors and is the world leader in the design and manufacture of advanced systems for real-time control design and implementation used in education, research and industry. 

"As I was working with the engineers at Quansar, I was able to learn more about robotics and sharpen my skills at programming, troubleshooting and mathematical reasoning. I was also able to successfully work on demos for their new products. This opportunity taught me how to apply my skills and has provided me with more confidence and hope for my future career."

Celina believes that this unforgettable experience has changed her as a student and as a person. She will continue to learn and share her knowledge with other students and FRC members.

Sharelife

 ShareLife Day is an important celebration at St. Robert Catholic High School which takes place right before the end of the school year. It is a day where students can join a variety of activities prepared by different student organizations. This year Team 4001 decided to prepare activities for students to promote FIRST and to advertise the team to new members for upcoming seasons.

The robots from the last two seasons were available for students to drive and a couple of our team members were available to answer any questions that students had about the robots. We were a very popular attraction, and many students came to see what we were doing. Our drive team displayed their skills to students, and taught them the controls so they could test out our robots.

Robotics Gala!

The team celebrated the end of a successful season with team members, mentors, sponsors, alumni, and special guests. The gala took place at St. Robert CHS, in the school cafeteria, and was organized by senior team members. Mr. Paul Gilbert, Peter Martin, and Safwan Choudhury attended the gala on behalf of Quanser, the team's main sponsor. The team also welcomed a special guest Mr. John Hobbins, Director of FIRST Robotics Competition in Canada. The evening started with speeches from the guests, alumni, and team members. We celebrated our achievements from our successful season. Afterwards, our team spent time with one another playing a few games that we had played at the World Championships in St. Louis, and doing one thing that our team does pretty well, play Just Dance. Most of the evening was spent playing Just Dance, alumni vs current team members, current team members vs current team members, and alumni vs alumni. There was even a special game between the past, present, and future team captains. Our team had a great time with one another by celebrating our accomplishments, that we were all sad to see the night end. The future of the team depended on a few of our students - who would lead the team for the next few years.