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Westwood Robotics
Robot Science

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competition
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Gatekeeper Field

This year’s game, Gatekeeper, is focused on the manufacturing of CPUs (8 or 32-bit), and their components.

Each team designs a robot capable of moving transitiors, ICs and/or CPU components from point to point. These dowels including transistor containers, IC’s, and CPU chips. Each transistor container, which there are 15 of (6 have a washer on top), can yield up to 96 transistors depending on its orientation, which gate it is placed in, and which level of the assembly area it is located in. AND, OR, and NOT gates (10pts. ea) require 24 transistors each to make while the NAND gate (8pts.) requires only 16. IC fabrication consists of 20 coat hangers that can be hung either on an upper or lower assembly line (the upper produces twice as many as the lower) in certain amounts to produce the MUX (80pts. ea), Adder (60pts. ea), Decoder (40pts. ea), and D-Latch (60pts. ea) components. All components produced will be inventoried and can be used later on during construction of the CPU. The CPU is composed of two areas: the core processor and the memory module. Depending on how many of certain components are placed into the CPU and memory modules, an 8-bit memory module (worth 90 pts.), a 32- bit memory module (worth 420 pts.), an 8-bit CPU (worth 512 pts.), and/or a 32-bit CPU (worth 1,024 pts.) can be created.

engineering/design process
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We start the design process with a Kickoff debrief in order to make sure everyone understands the rules and the intricacies of the game. This year, due to the rather perplexing nature of the points system and the multiples configurations, we decided to make our own game summary to distribute to our members. This summary (attach hyperlink here) condensed the game rules to 8 pages and highlighted the information that we believed was important.

Next follows our Brainstorming Process. More BEST-experienced members will try and relate the game to previous years' games and robots. For example, our robot's main arm is based off concepts from last year. Usually by the end of the brainstorming process, we have a generous list of different mechanisms and ideas for completing the given tasks, which are compiled into a list and split between groups to test and build.

Rapid Prototyping is the most hands-on, and exciting part of our engineering process. It is also very fast paced, as we could all our time testing various ideas. We allot one week purely for prototyping in order to build parts of a working robot. This speed prototyping makes us prepared to test at the Test Drive and on Practice Day.

Perhaps the most important step is Solution Evaluation. When the team assesses a solution's successes and failures with achieving a goal. If the solution was mostly successful, we go back to our prototyping phase to improve weak details, finishing with a refined component. However, if the solution completely fails, we dump it, and evaluate how our other solutions tested.

Finally, when have all the specs that we need, and have thought through our strategy, we begin Building our Final Robot. Usually a 1 - 1 and 1/2 week process, Our final robot will contain most or all of our best solutions.

robot
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This years challenge required us to build a robust design and one that could move easily with two people driving it. Our robot, named Trump Card, is completely different from anything that we have seen an competition. What we hope to achieve with every robotics competition is to make a unique robot that is efficient and "trumps" the competition. This year, we noticed that many of the robots present at Test Drive and Practice Day were very similar to the demo robot shown at the Kickoff. Our design is not only unique and efficient but show a different way of thinking, one that most teams aspire to achieve.

experience
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the team
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We are the RoboWarriors!

The Westwood Robotics team is made up of a diverse set of students all striving toward the same goal, to inspire new opportunities through technology.

Our team consists of students of all grade levels, from freshman to senior. We also feature a few students from other high schools and even some middle schools. Westwood Robotics members come from various backgrounds. We are an ethnically minority team. Our members also have a wide range of interests; including band, orchestra, dance, soccer, lacrosse, swimming and everything else in between.

Our club offers a large parent network and mentor system. Our mentors and parents are more to us than just chaperones; they offer us guidance and act as our support system and as our instructors. To say the least, the Westwood Robotics team is a group of intelligent individuals with great potential.

team history
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Our club was founded many years ago, back before any of our current members were at Westwood. Ancient records revealed that at this time in our history the Westwood Robotics Club had participated actively in the early years of the BEST robotics competition, although we do not know much else. Just like many great civilizations before it, suddenly the club and its glory vanished, leaving very little behind.

In 2007 Collin Buchan and Eric Wood joined up to resurrect the club, determined to keep it from fading away ever again. Before long many other students started following them, and within the first month they had the manpower they needed to realize their vision of the club's future. Harnessing the finest brainpower Westwood had to offer, we were once again on track, taking on the annual BEST challenge in stride. But that only served to fan the flames of our passion for robotics, and before long we were hungry for more action.

The club evolved into a powerful engineering force almost overnight, and the very next year Westwood students ascended to the next level by qualifying for the Texas BEST championships. In the years following, a group of students who had learned under these two passionate revisionists continued out their legacy, even though they had both graduated. Westwood robotics has continued to qualify for the Texas BEST championships since then, currently for four, going on five, consecutive years. This dynastic success comes regardless of the hardships the club has suffered, including strife within the school causing several switches in teacher-sponsors and constant relocations of the club’s arsenal of tools.

Last year we earned 2nd place for the BEST Award as well as Robot performance in the regional competition. Following regionals we Finished 4th in the state competition against 500+ other schools.