Week 2: This is Nothing like BattleBots and I am Thoroughly Disappointed

cargointakeIf you thought reality TV was intense, you clearly haven’t been around for build season. The first week is kind of like Big Brother–you’ve got veterans watching over you, making sure you’re following the rules, and being there to lend a helping hand if you need it. But then comes week 2, and it is not fun and games. Think Survivor, except if you were to fall into the water below, you’d destroy your subsystems hard work and a lot of materials. You know, in theory, the whole “let’s build a robot and sing Kumbaya” thing sounds great, but when you get into the nitty gritty, you realize you can’t really build a robot on your own and you definitely can’t sing. But we try anyway, and it usually works out. Eventually.

The weekdays are usually pretty quiet. It’s been a long day, and we’re just trying to screw some things into place and go home to sleep. But on the weekends, with the ever-loving promise of lunch in our…front view mirror–I don’t know, I don’t drive–it’s go time. On Saturday, we planned to have a design meeting to prune our variety of prototypes into a select few for optimal functionality. We were fully prepared to go full Shark Tank to choose our favorite prototypes, but to make a long story short, that didn’t happen. So instead, we had a nice little status meeting over pulled pork sandwiches and listened to the same three Queen songs on repeat in our shiny new computer lab. This isn’t to say we haven’t done anything–oh, that is far from the truth. Our cascading elevator is fully CADed, and our prototype for the HAB mechanism has been tested and tweaked all week. The prototypes for the cargo and hatch intake are smoothly sailing, and being tested on our field parts. The programming team has even been spotted outside of the compprogcomputer lab! As it turns out, some brave souls emerge from their cave every once in a while to test their code for robot vision, in which case the media team torments them until they go back into the darkness. And when they do, they’re typically met by Jacky’s interpretative dance routines, with an army of fellow rookies cheering him on. It’s something out of Dance Moms, truly. In other news, the CAD for the drive base has also been making progress. It’s a tedious process, but it’s incredibly important that it’s done correctly. I mean, it’s a little bit like Hell’s Kitchen at points–but who doesn’t love a little Gordon Ramsay?

Despite its minor bumps, this week has treated us rather well. Everyone has settled into the rhythm of build season, and is continuously working out to improve their respective subsystems. By the end of this week, we’ve made major strides in finalizing the design of our robot and establishing a standard for the level of dedication expected from everyone. Luckily, the drama that usually arises in reality TV shows has yet to settle upon us, but it might have to soon. My popcorn is getting cold.



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