2015-2016 Preseason Meeting #1

2015-2016 Preseason Meeting #1

On Tuesday, October 6, we kicked off our 2015-2016 year. It was the first time we had all of this years girls together. In total our team will include 66 girls from 31 area schools. Our team's  junior member program has 17 eighth grade girls. With this program the girls will be meeting once a week to explore the FIRST tech challenge (FTC) robotics platform. On the FIRST robotics competition (FRC) side there will be 49 girls competing. Our meeting began with an informational session for the entire team. After, we broke off into triads (groups of returning girls,…continue reading →
2015 Summer Camps Summary!

2015 Summer Camps Summary!

Wow! Girls of Steel had an incredibly busy and productive summer designing, leading and mentoring four of our very own camps! We kicked off the summer with the Girls of Steel NCWIT Aspire IT       Summer Camp “Programming Your Future with Robotics!” at Carnegie Mellon University on June 15-19. The purpose of the camp was to encourage more girls to see themselves doing computing and robotics in the future. We had 18 girls in grades 6 to 8 with mentors Sophia, Sylvia, Sonia, Alexa, and Corinne. The students had a lot of…continue reading →
Girls of Steel Outreach!

Girls of Steel Outreach!

Hi everyone! Well, it’s official! The FRC season is over. Where did the time go? It seems like we had our first preseason meeting a few weeks ago!! We had an exciting and eventful season, what with changing and improving Ada between all our competitions, winning Chairman’s, going to Champs, winning awards, and meeting so many new people! We’re sad to see it end, but there’s always next year to look forward to. And in the meantime we’ve got lots and lots of outreach to do! Outreach is the way Girls of Steel…continue reading →
Pipeline Presentation & Championships 2015

Pipeline Presentation & Championships 2015

The last week and a half has really flown by!! We had a great time at champs (won two awards!! :)) and are celebrating, but sad to bring the season to a close. One of the most important parts of champs for me, the Media Lead of the team, was the presentation we gave on 'Building a Pipeline for Girls in FRC & STEM'  at the championship conferences.  At this presentation, we shared our story about creating a pipeline, and gave inspiration to other FRC and FTC teams to create their own! Thanks…continue reading →
Post-Season FRC Scrimmage

Post-Season FRC Scrimmage

Hi everyone! This past Saturday, April 11th,  we, along with another FRC team, SHARP, held the annual Post Season FRC Scrimmage at the CMU/Girls of Steel Robotics Practice Field. We had seven different teams come out to watch their robot go up against other FRC teams robots. The overarching theme for this event was “fun”. The point of this scrimmage was not to see who had the best robot, but it was rather an opportunity to hang out and get to know the other teams around the area. This scrimmage had events such…continue reading →
2015 Buckeye Regional

2015 Buckeye Regional

Hello everyone! The past couple of weeks have been full of excitement.  We recently took our robot, Ada, to the Buckeye Regional Competition in Cleveland, Ohio. This year we were one of three all girls teams competing at Buckeye – Murphy’s Outlaws (FRC 677), Fighting Unicorns (FRC 2399), and Girls of Steel (FRC 3504).  The Fighting Unicorns invited us to a delicious ice cream social with ice cream graciously donated by Mitchell’s Ice Cream of Cleveland. It was inspiring to see the true spirit of FIRST at the competition as both teams cheered…continue reading →
Buckeye Pow-wow!

Buckeye Pow-wow!

Hi everyone! In preparation for our competition at Buckeye this weekend, we had a pow-wow on Tuesday to get the team in spirit! To update you on the robot since Pittsburgh: we have decided to remove the doors and fingers, we have made the shack arms more efficient by lengthening the grippers and we have strengthened the collectors. The drive team has been practicing with Bada, our practice robot for the last two weeks. At the pow-Wow, we finished making posters and buttons to handout at the competition, drive team practiced, and had…continue reading →
2015 Pittsburgh Regional

2015 Pittsburgh Regional

Hi everyone! Have you missed reading these blog posts? Don't worry, we have LOTS to share in this one. I'll start with the big things first: Our robot had a major makeover this past weekend! Can you guess which two subsystems got taken off? If you guessed the doors and fingers, then you are right! We decided that the doors were not as useful as we had made them to be, especially since we modified our grippers to hold totes more easily with their rubber and extensions. We decided that our robot was…continue reading →
Bag & Tag/Week Zero

Bag & Tag/Week Zero

We can't believe that build season is over! The robot is bagged and tagged, after an exciting weekend of Week Zero with teams 2656, 3260, 3955, 4031, and 4150!! At Week Zero, we gave the other teams in Pittsburgh a chance to compete and test out their robot! We held matches as well as just had fun with everyone driving our robot around and stacking totes. On Tuesday, we spent seven hours putting the final touches and last testing before bagging our robot. We made a switch to 6" mecanum wheels instead of 8"…continue reading →
Build Season Week 5

Build Season Week 5

Week 5 was one of our most successful weeks so far! We have made lots of progress and are excited to share it with you! First of all, our robot now has a name - Ada - in honor of the first female programmer! :) Ada's electronics and pneumatics are completely done, as well as her assembly of the top and bottom trifold and the fingers. Her Shack, Collectors and Lifters are closed to being assembled onto her chassis, and the Doors are being welded as well. Programmers have done a lot of…continue reading →
Build Season Week 4

Build Season Week 4

I hope everyone's build season is going great!! During week 4, we really picked up the pace on our robot. We fully completed the chassis and managed to get it to drive in less than half an hour!! We started our second chassis for our practice robot with small changes, and are planning to replace the current chassis on the competition bot with that one if we finish before bag and tag. We finished all of the 'trifold' or walls in which the stacks will be built! Our fingers, slider, and collector mechanisms…continue reading →
Build Season Week 3

Build Season Week 3

We can't believe we're halfway through build season!! This week, we made lots of progress on our chassis and manipulator mechanisms. Our U-chassis has been completely welded and is in the process of assembly. Our trifold, the 'walls' between which the stacks of totes and containers will be built, is in the process of fabrication as well. Our collector, gripper (previously called 'wedges') and shack mechanisms have all been CADed completely! The gripper will begin (and hopefully finish!) assembly tomorrow, Tuesday. The electronics boards are very close to being finished, also. Programming finished…continue reading →
Build Season Week 2 & FLL Regionals

Build Season Week 2 & FLL Regionals

Week 2 was just as busy as Week 1! In Mechanical, we finished the bottom part of our U-chassis! We added a new part - the 'doors' - which function to hold the stacks from falling out of the U-chassis. Programming worked on autonomous and the mechanum drive, as well as finishing most of the code for the subsystems. The programming team has worked hard to create several different autonomi, as we call it. Among these include picking up 1 container and 3 totes, 1 tote and 1 container, or just 1 container.…continue reading →
Build Season Week 1

Build Season Week 1

The first week of build season was hectic yet successful. Starting with a five hour brainstorming session following icy roads on kickoff morning, we designed, prototyped, CADed, tested new wheels, and began the chassis of our robot! Chassis & Programming: We are currently working on a U-shaped chassis with mecanum wheels. By Thursday, programmers had received the prototyped chassis to begin testing how the wheels handled different weight distributions, driving over the scoring platforms from different orientations, and finally, we began working on PIDs. Tuesday, January 13, programmers started coding subsystems, since we…continue reading →
Preseason Meeting #12

Preseason Meeting #12

Today in Girls of Steel, we had our last preseason meeting.  This was the last day for the girls to build their team's End of Preseason Project robot.  To start off the meeting, the girls went over a presentation addressing what the start of build season will look like.  During this presentation, we also had a guest speaker, Mary Widom, who came to talk about the Leap at CMU program.  The girls also welcomed the President of Oakland Catholic and the founder of iTwixie, who came to listen in on the Girls of…continue reading →
Preseason #11 & Dr. Chris Atkeson Visit

Preseason #11 & Dr. Chris Atkeson Visit

Tuesday was an exciting day at Girls of Steel! Dr. Chris Atkeson, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who inspired the robot Baymax in the new movie Big Hero 6 came to speak to us! He told us how he was involved and the reality of inflatable robots. He also passed out action figures of Honey Lemon and GoGo Tomago! In fact, Girls of Steel played a part in inspiring these characters, when Disney visited us in 2011.   We also had our second day of the End of Preseason Project! The girls…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #10 & EOPP

Today Girls of Steel held their 10th preseason meeting.  During the start of the meeting, the End of Preseason Project (EOPP) was announced and presented.  The EOPP involves two teams, the blue team and orange team, to build a fully functioning robot over the course of the next three meetings.  This means the team only has nine hours to design, build, and create a robot!  At the end of the project, the two teams will have their robots compete against each other in matches. After the meeting’s start-off presentation was completed, the girls…continue reading →

SCRA & Preseason Meeting #9

This week has been filled with excitement! On Sunday, we hosted the SCRA (Steel City Robotics Alliance) Workshops at Carnegie Mellon. There were four sessions, each with 5-6 workshops, presented by various teams, mentors, judges and students, that attendees were able to choose from. We gave several workshops: Fundraising 101, Beta-Testing Results and Building a Pipeline for Girls in FRC. Thanks to the following FRC teams 1708, 1743, 2051, 2656, 3260, 3955, 4031, 4150, 4467, 5740 and everyone else who participated, SCRA Workshops was a successful event! We also hosted a Food Drive…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #8

This week in our preseason meeting, we began with a presentation by Mr. Eppinger, who explained the step by step process of how to access and use the Girls of Steel affiliated Amazon website.  After this helpful session, Patti announced the winner of the previous week’s talent time - great job to these girls who participated :)! Next, the girls split up into their business sub teams.  In media, the girls were assigned various jobs to focus working on, including the Girls of Steel YouTube account, Five Awesome Robots, Tumblr account, Rookie Firsts,…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #7 & 2014 SWATposium 2014

At our last preseason meeting, we accomplished many great things! First, during the business meetings, we worked on event pages, the business plan, our presentation for the SWAT Symposium, and brainstormed for outreach. We met with a professor from CMU's Tepper School of Business, who provided great guidance for our presentation! During the technical meetings, we made lots of progress! At the electronics meeting, we learned about pneumatics. We learned how to cut pneumatic tubing properly, the different parts of the pneumatics system and how they work. We look forward to setting up…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #6

On Tuesday, November 4th we had our 6th preseason meeting!  We started off our meeting with "triad talent time."  This fun-filled 15 minutes included talent acts such as dancing and singing.  Following our triad time, we went into our business sub-teams.  In media, we worked on event pages and blog posting.   Outreach also worked on event pages, and additionally looked for potential events for Girls of Steel to attend. Finance worked on putting together the instruction sheets for the light bulb fundraiser that we are preparing for.  In addition, the finance sub team…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #5 & Spaghetti Dinner

On Tuesday, October 28th we had out fifth preseason meeting! For the first hour we split up into our business sub teams and worked on specific tasks as well as event pages to document all the things we have done each year! Our technical level training meetings today consisted of Welding, CADing, Mechanical, Electronics and Programming, as usual. Today the welding team got hands-on and worked on some metal scraps. The programming team introduced robot-builder in eclipse to all the new girls. We also thanked all the girls who showed up to the…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #4 & Self Defense Class

On Tuesday, October 21, we had our 4th preseason meeting! At this meeting, we had all technical level trainings, including CAD and welding, and worked on business tasks, like usual! We also had a meeting for all the Girls of Steel's parents! At this meeting we talked about the schedule for the upcoming year and team obligations. Last Sunday, the Girls of Steel took a self defense class for team bonding! They learned many skills and even had a chance to try them out on one of our mentors .. with protective armor,…continue reading →

FRC Beta Testing

We made good progress on testing the 2015 FRC Control System last week. We wrapped up the report to FIRST on putting the hardware on our summer/pre-season robot project and porting last year's code to the 2015 environment. We had no big issues to report for either. The electronics were tested under low battery conditions to confirm that power to the radio was not interrupted as the battery ran down. That's important because the Field Control System needs to remain in constant contact with all the robots during competition. Finally, the various options…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #3

We were very busy at our 3rd preseason meeting on October 14th. Girls attended their first business meetings where they were introduced to their new business sub-team: media, outreach, or finance.  Then they went to the Level 0 training for their respective technical sub-teams: programming, electronics, or mechanical.               We also hosted special guests, Ms. Lesley Perry and Ms. Gloria Blackwell of AAUW (one of our awesome sponsors), who visited us while they were in Pittsburgh for a conference.  They went on a tour of the high…continue reading →