SMART  build season Starts: 

By Tyler Ritter
JAY — It’s that time of the year again, and the Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team (SMART) is shifting gears from fund-raising to building a robot and preparing for competition. On Saturday, January 3rd, the University of Southern Maine was kind enough to host the Kick-Off Event! This is the meeting where robotics teams from around the state of Maine come together to discover what this year’s robot challenge will be and how to play the game.

The game is called Recycle Rush. The goal of the game is to build stacks of totes, place recycling bins on top, and recycle litter, all on top of the scoring platforms. The game is played by two alliances of three teams each, on a 27×54 foot field. This game also has a “cooperation” aspect, where the two opposing alliances must work together and stack 4 yellow totes in order to receive a 20-point bonus to both teams!

The twist on this year’s game is that teams no longer need bumpers; no robot-on-robot contact is allowed between two alliances.

Two major themes of the FIRST Robotics Competition are “cooperation” and gracious professionalism. We have learned through our competition season how important communication and teamwork are to success. We have also learned that when we cooperate with members of our own team, we become a strong example for others. Some of our most satisfying experiences come when we help other teams compete to the best of their ability.

Right away, some team members of 3930 went to their scratch books and began sketching down their strategies and ideas! Once we returned to Spruce Mountain High School, the team developed some potential design plans that we may follow. One includes a pneumatic piston system, which acts as our pick up mechanism. Our team has never used pneumatic pistons, so a challenge has already presented itself this season, but a challenge that can be easily overcome by thesmart minds of 3930.

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John&RebeccaPoatwereawarded,’OutstandingSupporters’attheJanuaryKickOffevent. Pictured with the Poats is Dan Lemieux Technology Education Teacher at Spruce Mountain High School as well as S.M.A.R.T. coach.

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Coach, Dan Lemieux is pictured with Ted Berry. Berry and his companyreceivedthe,“Sponsoroftheyear awardfortheirsummer internships and ongoing partnership.

Livermore Falls Advertiser 01/21/2015, Page A01

S.M.A.R.T. continues to  build:

JAY — The second week of build season has come and gone with tremendous productivity. One of the most important pieces of competition is learning the rules.

The team has had many people dedicated to reading the rules, not just once, but multiple times. There are many loopholes in the game manual that can work to their team’s advantage in the competition.

At the same time, they have been busy coming up with designs for our robot. Knowing that this year they will be using omni drive wheels, which are wheels that will allow them to move forward and back, side to side and diagonally. S.M.A.R.T. has been working on a prototype for an arm that would guarantee points by lifting two totes at a time or one tote and one container, which are two of the major pieces in the game.

As far as Madison Lecowitch is concerned, being a ninth grader on theSMART robotics team can be hectic and confusing most times, ‘but we have great mentors and team captains to help us out.’

So far, the ninth-graders have been doing random jobs around the shop that teach about robotics in all aspects. Robotics offers many opportunities to learn new skills that will help in job fields of one’s choosing. Robotics is an amazing opportunity; hopefully more people will come out to help make this a better program!

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This prototype is just one of the many robotics that student are working on.

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S.M.A.R.T. students study the possibilities of control systems with a 3D printer.

Livermore Falls Advertiser 02/11/2015, Page A01

SMART robotics: Week 5 update

By Sydney Shaffer Work continues on the 2015 SMART robot. Feb. 3rd, 5th, and 7th the build team and mentors continued working on our lift system.

All the various components are starting to come together. Testing of the wiring system and programming is ongoing while the robot is still being build. After Saturday’s practice all systems have been tested. The Build team is almost done and ready to hand the robot over to the wiring and programming team. The programmers did an amazing job. They have most of the programming done, the only thing left for them is to work out some minor glitches with our sensor and encoders.

Our wiring team has been working hard for a couple of weeks. The Robo Rio is new this year and is give the team a new challenge. But when all said and done the new Robo Rio will be an improvement over the old control system.

The plan is to have two-build team session this week. We hope to finish the wiring and programming. We will be have a full team meeting next weekend with the Spirit team working Chairman Award write ups, ordering T-shirts, finishing poster and our SMART for Dummies booklet.

The build and drive teams will be going to Portland to practice on the new created full practice court. Many of the Maine teams will be coming together to do a pre-season practice session. We will haveMonday and Tuesday of vacation to finish the robot. It must be complete and place in plastic bag on Tuesday night at midnight.

The students for SMART robots are very thankful to our amazing mentors: Dan Lemieux, Rob Taylor, Kym Bryant, Tony Flagg, Fred Ouellette, Sarah Delaney, Donna Greeley, Michael Taylor- Hampton, Tracey Castonguay, Randy Luce, Steve Gettle, Aaron Hastings, Joel Pike and Tina Riley.

On to competition season (all First robot competitions are free the public): March 12, 13, 14: Pine Tree district event, Lewiston, MEMarch 20, 21, 22: University of New Hampshire District Event. Durham, NH April 8, 9, 10, 11: New England Championship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Livermore Falls Advertiser 02/25/2015, Page A01

Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team completes robot

By Sam Brenner The final build week was as hectic as usual; there was a lot to do and time was running out.

The robot needed to be finished, programmed, and tested, and of course there would be many challenges along the way. When the robot was completed to its original design, it was 3.5 pounds overweight and there was seemingly no way we could remove enough metal to make it lighter.

The conclusion was that we would thin its dual omniwheels down to single wheels to save weight. This made us legal, but it had unforeseen consequences; when the robot attempted to drive over the scoring platform, it hit the thin middle omni-wheels hard enough to bend them, rendering the wheels useless.

After some consideration, the build team decided to remove the center omni-wheels in favor of four mecanum wheels in the outside positions, as had been used last year. The transition took little time and the programmers easily adapted to the different drive system.

Mecanums worked nearly flawlessly and had the added benefit of reducing the weight by about eight pounds, putting the robot well under the limit. The team decided to make the transition permanent. The final modifications were made in less than a day and the new code was ready in less than an hour. The last hours of the final build day were spent test-driving and working out any small problems which arose.

The team really came together in the final four days; everything that could go wrong seemed to happen. However, through teamwork and cooperation, all issues were overcome, and we produced what we consider our most competitive robot ever.

Over the next few weeks, SMART will be gearing up for our first competition at the Colisee in Lewiston March 13th-14th. We are working on presentation skills, and preparing spirit equipment to impress the judges, on- and offfield. We hope to be among the most competitive teams this year and appreciate the wonderful support the community has given us this year.

Team 3930’s robot is bagged, tagged, and ready for competition.

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The finished Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team robot.

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