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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rebound Rumble

The wait is over!! It has been 4 months since our first robotics meeting of the year and we FINALLY learned what this year's game will be. It is called Rebound Rumble and, as you can guess, the game is based on basketball. More on that later...

In an unusual twist of fate, not much went wrong today. Our Kick-Off Event was at the U of M Twin Cities. Some of the team members met up at Perkins for breakfast together at 5 am. Everyone got to JHS by 6am and we left on time (!!!!!). Big shoutout to Allan's mom for driving a couple students down to the event. Really great of her to take the time to help out the team and allow everyone a chance to experience Kick-Off. THANK YOU! The drive down was uneventful. There was a little trouble finding a parking space for the behemoth of a Sprinter van (Bydlon told everyone that it was a tour of the U of M campus). Eventually we decided on using metered parking. The metered parking led to a funny story which included our team exchanging one dollar bills for stranger's quarters.

Mock up of Basketball Hoops
The team decided to attend the Post Kick-Off Event along with the video presentation so we watched the live stream with all of the teams participating in PoKo (picture 1 and 2). We live-tweeted the event so check out the side bar on this blog's main page or go to this link. The anticipation was incredible. The video was star-studded. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Stephen Colbert, and Will.I.Am all made an appearance. Each, in their own way, acknowledged all the great things FIRST Robotics does for students, mentors, communities and our US culture as a whole. Colbert especially was really funny. Best line of his was "I have experience in robotics too. My toaster and Roomba battled to the death. Needless to say, my Roomba is now in charge of making my toast." Other parts of the presentation talked about the major sponsors (JC Penney and Coca-Cola) and last year's Chairman's Award winner from Hawaii. Dean Kamen, the head honcho of this crazy business, also did his "State of FIRST Robotics" speech.

Mock up of Balance Boards
It took about an hour but eventually we got to the juicy details. As already stated, the game is called Rebound Rumble. You can check out the video here. It really is worth a watch. In case you didn't watch it or are confused, the two basic tasks each robot needs to complete are shooting mini basketballs into hoops and then balancing on a board either by themselves or with other robots. Each of these tasks are similar to previous years. Basketballs were used in 2006 and the balance boards were used in 2001. This will make research and designing much easier.

Post Kick-Off was a rewarding experience. The team was able to start talking through the design process and received a printed out rule book and Encyclopedia Robotica. Thanks GO FIRST! Along the way, the team had a bunch of laughs and build more camaraderie (including a Sprinter van dance party). All in all, it was a great day.


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