Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reliability - Looper-Scooper or Looper-Lopper?

The team has had limited time since their late regional to make any major changes.  After Batavia, we had a brainstorming session to decide on what should be done to prepare for State based on our robot performance and the feedback forms.

So far, they've revised the script, re-shot and edited the "present ghost" video, brought to mind their teamwork skills, and have worked in small teams to incrementally improve robot reliability while each of the three 3-man teams have continued to practice.  At this stage, the failures are less spectacular (that's a very good thing!), but that makes it a challenge to say what caused missed points on the board, since a failure may not recur with any regularity.  I've been coaching them on the importance of careful observation and it really paid off today.

Example: Joey, Paul and Alex were practicing and found Mission 3's implement was often hammering the first tall loop.  Joey noticed that their "ramp" was not long enough, hitting the first loop end-on, missing it and throwing off the rest of the run.  They increased the length - but then it was out of base.  So they relocated it further back - but then the implement was lopping the first loop in half.  Everyone was watching it, run after run, until finally Alex saw that the top of the implement was now hitting before the ramp - it was happening so fast it was hard to see.  They shortened that part and it then started scooping loops every time.  Now, it works every time.

The 3 jockey teams have done an exceptional job of tracking changes and passing on information to the next team using their collaboration tools.  I'm really looking forward to observing their reliability in Arlington Heights this coming weekend.

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