LigerBots is back for another year!
September 22, 2019

Over the summer, between breaks, our team members had the chance to represent LigerBots in several events across the local community and outside it.

On July 4th, Ligerbots took their 2016 robot all the way to Providence, Rhode Island, to participate in the Providence Waterfire event, which included some Independence Day celebrations. The team members encountered other FIRST teams from around New England and demoed their robot. Kids of all ages came to the LigerBots booth to interact with team members and even man the robot itself! 

The 2016 robot presented at the Rhode Island Waterfire event.

Kids interact with the 2016 LigerBots robot at the Waterfire event in July.

On July 13th, LigerBots volunteered locally at the Newton Free Library’s STEAM expo. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, and hosted many other organizations like the Society of Women Engineers. Participants were able to interact with the LigerBots booth—making STEM-related arts and crafts such as binary necklaces and bracelets—and even got to watch LigerBots team members demo the robot.

With summer ending, school starting, and the season approaching, the LigerBots had their first meeting on September 4th at Newton South. We have spoken to several subteam-leaders about their plans for the upcoming weeks, rookie training, and what they hope to cover in the preseason. 

Asa, the director of technology and training, is in charge of the technical side of the team. Through the training period, team members interested in the mechanical parts of the robots will be talking about CAD (computer-aided design), as well as learning in depth about robot elements, such as robot mechanisms and driving, which rookies will practice using last year’s robot. Through this hands-on training, rookies will also be able to learn about the systems incorporated into LigerBots’ 2019 robot. For the preseason project, the mechanical subteam will focus on the JPL open-source rover, a NASA-affiliated project in which participants can build a Mars rover in their own labs. The LigerBots are excited to start on this project!

LigerBots CTO Asa preparing for the first meeting of the season.

Matthew and Charlotte, heads of strategy, worked with new members to dive into the core of the game rules and scouting strategy. Rookies were shown animations of 2018-2019 matches and the different robots that participated in them. The strategy subteam works to “improve the team’s chance of winning [even] beyond the drive team” by using data analysis to evaluate different teams’ weaknesses and strengths. They scout after other teams’ robots for the best alliance potentials and come up with the best strategy to win each match. As strategy takes a bigger approach, other subteams focus more on the fine details. 

Samy, our executive advisor and former CTO, spoke about the processes that the electrical subteam is teaching rookies for the upcoming year. Beginning with wire diagrams and teaching what the symbols mean, the electrical team will be taught soldering basics – and how to achieve a “nice, good, flowy, pretty” solder over a cold solder. Soldering is the fusing of wires using solder, which is a low-melting alloy, and it is a technique that rookies must master early on. They will also be taught about the control system—robot components and how they connect to each other electrically—using past robots as guides. The goal is to create communication between all motor controllers, and by the end of the training period, all electrical subteam members will be able to make a wire diagram using premade cutouts of the components on the robots as well as a good solder. In a few weeks, the electrical subteam will start working on pneumatics, and more exciting projects related to the preseason.

Samy explaining electrical basics to rookies in one of the meeting’s info sessions.
A LigerBots rookie trying his hand at soldering wires.

Last but not least, the marketing team, headed by Maggie, will be starting to focus on outreach, grants, and advocacy. Watch for upcoming events, such as FLL events and local happenings, which LigerBots team members will take part in. For our next upcoming event, make sure to catch the LigerBots booth at Newton Village Day on September 22nd, starting at 12:00 PM. Can’t wait to see you!

LigerBots marketing subteam’s Maggie and Carolyn speaking at the meeting.

Finally, some announcements about team meetings. LigerBots meet every monday at Newton North High School from 6:30-9:00 PM in the engineering room. On Thursdays, LigerBots meet at Newton South High School’s woodshop, in room 9170. Feel free to drop by upcoming meetings and join the LigerBots team!