Saturday, October 26, 2013

Team update 10/26/13

Meeting on 10/26/13

  • Meredith worked on:
    • Modifying the robot design to line up more correctly at the start of the program.  Success is intermittent.  Approach was "spear based"
  • Gatlin worked on:
    • Modifying the programming during the run to bring the pets to the red zone
    • Modified Seth's basket to make it more narrow in the hopes of a "dual use" attachment.  Both boys can continue to work on the programming on their bots but share the attachment at the table.  
Recommendations for the group:
  1. When done with basket attachment: leave it at the table for the next person.
  2. Two runs at the table for each bot and then back to the square tops for modifications before running it again
  3. If further attachments need to be made, give a sketch to John and Logan to build.  They are good at it.
  4. Have Meredith, Seth, and Gatlin focus on programming and not building unless absolutely necessary.  We can divide the tasks this way and they are good at programming.
Prepared by: Diane

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bake Sale

What are the things we need for the bake sale?  Let's think about this DC friends and get a list going.  John will be bringing baked goods so he will be spending Friday afternoon on that.  Here are a few other things to think about for a bake sale:

Baked goods (I read that rice krispy treats are often the most popular)
Drinks (I think we are doing the homemade carbonated beverages for people so we need water bottles)
Chairs (Should everyone bring their own?)
Poster board signs, tags, and price list
Dollar bills and coins for change/ Cash box
Trash bin
Cups/Plates/Napkins/Utensils/ To-go bags
Cleaning supplies (paper towels, hand wipes)
EZ-up tent (even though it is early morning, we may want to put one up to hang signs on)

John and family will bring two pans of baked goods, a case of water, napkins, paper towels, EZ-up tent and a couple of chairs.  This Friday night we may want to take 5 minutes to make signs.  Could someone bring poster board and markers?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sensor Ports

Remember: ALL PORTS MUST BE CONTINUOUS!!! IT DOES MATTER!!!!! (You know who you are.)

-Color Sensor, Port 3
-Touch/Push Sensor, Port 1

Saturday, October 19, 2013

team journal 5 and 6

October 14:
Today we met the firefighters.They told us a ton about fires! They even gave us a tour of the truck. In terms of robots, however, we ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!!!!

overall progress: 7 out of 10

October 18:
 Today was a slow day.
 Most members barely worked. I really didn't get much done either. I actually had to delete 2/3 of my program! I've got a new program now.

overall progress: 3 out of 10

Friday, October 18, 2013


Emergency #
Parents Names
Primary Email
Logan Farrington
Missy and Doug Farrington
Gatlin Farrington
Missy and Doug Farrington
Seth Levy
Brett and Anne Levy
John Barry
Anya Barry
Lael Levy
Brett and Anne Levy
Kent Kuhler
Diane Kuhler
Brett Levy
Missy and Doug

New photo batch

Team update 10.18.13

Hi everyone,

The team has been making a lot of progress in the last few weeks. The biggest news is that Scottsdale firefighters visited for the entire session on Monday. This was a very high energy meeting where team members got to climb into a freshly-opened emergency fire blanket, explore the fire truck and its compartments while asking a copious number of questions. This was a treat because once the fire blanket is opened, it can't be re-packed. So if you see someone from the Scottsdale Fire Department, be sure to say thanks. Or drop a line to Al Dibenedetto at Oh, and you can go here to watch YouTube videos of the firefighter visit!

The team also has made progress developing a skit for competition and preparing for the garage sale fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 26th at the Kuhler home. We'll send out time specifics next week. So far we have some cookies and brownies to sell, but we could really use more stuff for the garage sale, which will run roughly from 6 a.m. until late morning. Coffee and a coffee maker might really help. Or tea and/or hot chocolate. And don't forget unwanted stuff filling up your garage. The fundraiser will help pay for a quad copter that will be used for the competition and skit props.

The team has also made progress on the competition board, with Seth, John, Lael, Gatlin and Meredith all making progress completing the tasks. Logan wrote the presentation script and has been maintaining the team blog, which you can view at

As well as we are doing, time is quickly running out with competition either Nov 23rd or Dec. 7. The kids primarily need more time to work on the table solution, the skit and the quad copter when it arrives. So, it would be great if we could hold a few additional meetings on the weekend. I know how busy everyone is, so the additional meetings are completely optional, but if you are open to the idea, can you give me an idea if Saturdays or Sundays are better?

One thing we did not do last year was compete in a scrimmage. Even if we don't compete, it might be worth watching. One scrimmage will be Saturday Nov. 2 and the other on Nov. 9th. My family will be out of town the Nov 2nd weekend, so if you want to go that week, I can relay you the information. Otherwise, we'll shoot for the Nov. 9th one.

Another reminder: Don't forget to blog about each meeting. It's not just for posterity, it counts in the competition. (It's okay if your parents help you write a post.)

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

See you tonight.

Brett Levy, co-owner
DadTalk, author


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Videos of our visit from the Scottsdale Fire Department Wildland Response group

Here are the recordings that Madison made of the event.  They are set to Unlisted on YouTube, so a link to them is shareable, but they do not appear in any searches.

Part 1 is all the stuff while we were inside.  Parts 2 and 3 were while we were by their truck

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Monday, October 14, 2013

Notes on project after talking to firefighters

I talked to the firefighters about our project and learned a lot of very useful information

1) From the firefighters perspective, this type of technology is not yet being actively pursued.  They are working on a project to build a Quadcopter drone for their HazMat group.  As far as Adam Brotzman knows they were the first fire dept in the country getting one.  He is in HazMat.  The copter has a High Def camera on it and that is all.  Their biggest concern on that project was that none of the firefighters had any experience flying RC planes, so they are working to make it as easy as possible to fly.  The interface is a map on a tablet.  They click on the map where they want it to go, and it goes there.

2)  The features Adam thought would be useful would be:
A) Live weather (temperature, wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure.  Weather at 3 altitudes (10 feet, 50 feet, and 200 feet) is apparently very helpful for them
C) Being able to quickly see "over the next ridge" to see whats there and gauge the situation there.  Seeing how much fuel there is for the fire is their primary concern.
D) He was very interested in the idea of using the drone as a communication relay when they were in a canyon or mountainous area where communications were difficult.

3) Al DiBenedette liked the idea of having the feed from the drone by more than a single person.  Al is one of the people who direct people fighting forest fires, and he felt it would help him make the decisions he needs to make.

4) We talked about fire spotting towers and the tech they use is quite old.  Each tower that sees smoke from a fire has a big wheel to measure the angle to the fire (from north).  The angle from 2 or 3 towers allows you to triangulate the location of a fire.  It might be useful for the towers to be able to send a drone to get immediate info on the fire as it is forming

Facts about firefighters - by John

I went to a corn maze honoring the 19 firefighters who died.

I learned a little about firefighter science.


Friday, October 11, 2013

team journal 4

Friday, October 11:
It was a slow day today. Only me, Lael and John were here so we did robots only. John had a lot of trouble and got really upset. He calmed down after a while though. I'm having the same problem as last time: the trucks drag the robot around the board! Lael, however, completely finished her program! She made it over the obstacles perfectly! I will now bee showing a "percent of progress" after each entry.

percent of progress: 78%
Lael's post:
Today I made a gyro sensor and a touch sensor attach to a robot. My brother Seth helped me program it. It got over all of he walls five times in a row!! Not even Gatlin can do that!!! He's in sixth grade!! I'm only in third!! I even made it stop when the touch sensor hit the wall!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

team journal 3

Monday, October 7th
I'm happy! We got a lot done today. We practiced our skit but we got a little carried away. We spent to much time on the skit and not enough time on programming, but we still managed to get a lot done! I'm almost halfway done with my program! Meredith and John still have some work to do on the programming, and Gatlin needs to solve his flipping problem, but it's really coming along

Monday, October 7, 2013

What did you work on???

Please say what you have worked on today. We all want to know.

Garage sale

Alright members of DCR we really need to get some ideas for what we are goin to sell at the garage sale. I know some of us already have some ideas but we need to come up with as many people as possible...... Please post all of your ideas.

Our Project

Our project was inspired by the Yarnell Hill Wildfire. The project is centered around a drone that can fly above the fire as an artificial firefighter lookout. Though this would serve as a lookout, it would not replace human lookouts, who would be constantly monitoring footage that is being streamed live from the drone. As this is a proof of concept, we have not implemented all of our planned features, such as infrared cameras that can see through smoke, will not be blinded by the fire, and can "see" day and night. It can also provide up to the minute fire locations, wind speed and direction, and heat levels.
We also plan to have this work as a communication relay point, in the event that the firefighters are stuck in a valley and their communications are blocked by the rock walls surrounding them. Additionally, the drone would not only stream to the lookout's tablet/phone, but it would also stream to the firefighter headquarters for monitoring, allowing the location and status of the firefighters to always be known.

Fire stories

Fatal Arizona fire report: bad communication, no negligence

 Is Living With Extreme Wildfires The New Normal?

 Yarnell Hill Fire investigative report sheds some light on tragedy




Practicing the skit and other photos

The team practices their skit on Sept. 30th.

Logan works on the script.

Seth works on the robot.

Lael fixes the wall.

Seth makes brownies for garage sale

Seth spent a few minutes of his fall break making brownies for the garage sale fund-raiser, which will be  held at Diane's house on Oct. 26th.

team journal 2

Team Journal 2
Friday, October 4th
I had some problems today. I got 45% of my program done, but after that it just collapsed. First of all, Meredith was supposed to come up with a universal wheel, but it didn't quite work. It was hard getting my own wheel off so we just had to take it apart. We also had a hard time fixing our robots so that they were EXACTLY the same. We wanted to change John's robot but he wasn't at the meeting. I started my program and it worked until I picked up the trucks. The robot went flying to all corners of the board! It was SO frustrating. I didn't have time to fix it, though I came up with a few ideas. Overall we got a lot done, but it's not over yet!