Reading Rendezvous 2018

Sorry for the wait before uploading this, with the excitement of school getting out, we totally forgot! Anyway, we recently volunteered at the Lousac Library’s Reading Rendezvous. The event’s intent is to get kids exited about reading over the summer; we were there representing both literacy (with our Riley the Robot book) and STEM.

This year’s theme was, “Jam out at your library”, so we decided to have the kids make these popsicle stick flutes. We also let kids drive various versions of FRC and FTC robots and provided information about FIRST and local team opportunities.

We had been working on refurbishing both our Bombbot and Tankbot, and had them ready for demo (or so we thought). We were in a grass field, and so didn’t want to bring our competition robot. After getting setup, we first brought out Tankbot, and then shortly after Bombbot. After about 20 minutes of driving the robots around (just as crowds were picking up), Bombbot went wild! Smoke began pouring out of the electronics box, and one side was stuck, causing Bombbot to spin in circles. Thankfully Danny, one of our mentors, was brave enough to pop open the lid and shut the switch off. Our safety captain wasn’t too thrilled about that. After investigation, we found that that specific motor controller wasn’t meant to handle 24 volts (which is what Bombbot runs on), so blew while in the on phase. We still had one bot to go though. Tankbot was doing pretty good, until we noticed it getting slower and louder. The battery voltage was nominal while idle, but would have huge drops while driving. This is because a bunch of grass got inside the belt and jammed it to the point where a human couldn’t move the belt (although amazingly the motors still could). We were left with two broken bots.

Despite this, we still had our FTC team giving a demo, plus the kids loved looking at the robots. They were also having fun building their flutes. While the day didn’t go as planned, it was still fun, we got to practice a ton of patience and perseverance, and we may have even found a few future recruits!


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