ABOUT THE TEAM
Aluminum Falcons Robotics is not just a team, but something much more. We are a close-knit family. Though the hours are sometimes extensive and the work tougher than most have ever seen, students get much more out of it than anyone else can imagine. All the time and work put into each season results in strong bonds between students. Being a part of this program prepares them to be a part of the real world. It enhances their character, boosts their self-image and motivates them to take part in the fields of science and technology. The FIRST experience completely changes their lives forever. The Aluminum Falcons are focused on exceeding known limits. We concentrate on education, community, and competition. Whether we are inviting the community into our school to experience robotics firsthand or helping out our neighbors in New London County, CT. The Aluminum Falcons are determined to be a force and a recognized name in our Groton, CT community.
Team 2168 is dedicated to helping its members grow as individuals and as a team - working together to learn about science and technology and to pass that information on to others. We strive to provide the best possible experience for our students to learn from our team's dedicated mentors and volunteers. We believe in hands-on education, allowing our members to work hand-in-hand with industry professionals and experts in their fields. We also provide orientation seminars to all new members about mechanical design, programming, strategy, teamwork and work ethics with a strong emphasis on problem solving skills. It is our hope that this will provide them with a solid base from which they can expand their expertise into any field that interests them.
How do we Organize?
We organize ourselves into different groups to maximize what our team is capable of, ensuring that the members of each group are not strictly isolated to the work of their group but get involved in other groups as well. The groups are as follows:
This team does the actual fabrication and assembly of our robot during the build phase. The jobs vary depending on the direction of our engineering mentors, the sponsors we have, and the abilities of the students. Normally, this group dissolves into the Drive and Pit Teams once competition starts. Be aware that to be a part of this crew you must be trusted enough to work in the workshop, you must demonstrate utmost respect for others, common sense, safe working skills, a good work ethic, and good communication.
Shut up and drive.
The Drive Team consists of a robot operator, a base driver, a human player, and a drive team coach. There is a lead crew and a back-up crew, the latter of which is usually made up of rookie drivers. Additionally, there is a scouting and strategy division within the drive team. Drivers are trained a minimum of one year in advance by the incumbent drivers, and are coached through numerous offensive and defensive drills. Drive team students develop tactical proficiency, communication skills, and the importance of group synergy. Students interested in becoming drivers practice as much as possible to develop their skills and are encouraged to develop maturity, humility, dedication, and confidence. Students on this team will develop materials and methods to assess other teams’ robots and strategies, giving our team as much of an advantage as possible. The collection and analysis of team data will assist our team in all phases of the competition. The team is also responsible for the creation of the competitive assessment database, working closely with the photo/video sub team.The drive team is required to stay with the robot for the majority of the time at the competitions. They will also arrive early and stay late to practice at the competitions. This group must communicate well with each other as well as with other groups, especially with the Scouting division and the Pit Crew.
The Pit Crew is a small group of students involved in the construction and maintenance of the robots, practice playing field, tools, and other accessories. During the off-season, students are expected to maintain current robots and tools. Once the competition season starts, the crew is responsible for the creation of a playing field to season-specific plans for designing the robot and robot driving practice. At competitions, their primary responsibility is the maintenance of the robot and the various necessary tools. This job requires one to be punctual and to be present when needed. One must also be very well organized with the storage and upkeep tools and batteries.
1's and 0's baby!
This team develops the code for the autonomous and tele-operated functions of the robot. The team teaches (and learns) the Java programming language during the off-season to newcomers and works on the actual programming of the robot during the build season. This team is also involved in the electrical wiring of the robot, including sensor integration. Close cooperation with the Build Crew is essential during build season, and both groups gain excellent experience managing the inter dependencies between hardware and software.
Built, not bought. "The real MVP of the team."
The Marketing Team consists of several sections; web development, photo and video, communications and public affairs, and the awards crew. The web crew develops and maintains our web presence. Students and mentors work together to develop and maintain our website with latest information available in FIRST and about our team's progress and accomplishments through the competition season and into the off season. Photo and video is responsible for capturing video and photos of all the team's activities and competitions from Fall to Spring. The Communications Team works to hone interviewing skills and presentations. They often speak directly to groups, judges and the media. At competitions, they are stationed outside the pit area to greet other team members and present our image to the public. Last but not least is the Awards Crew - This sub team is made up of students that are interested in documenting our team's efforts in the form of a submission. This submission can take on many forms. Coordination with the other sub groups is essential for the success of the project. The resulting document is a chronicle of our team's efforts. This committee demands students with skills in writing, design, advertising and presenting. Students will most likely end up creating 10,000 word essays, a portfolio, a power point presentation and various public relations material.
"It's not the volts that kill you, it's the amps" (But you can't get amps without the volts!)
The Electrical Team wires and connects the disparate components of the robot into an organized, effective system. Their aptitude for working around the occasionally hectic work schedules and design choices of our Mechanical Team make most of their efforts a formidable asset. Thanks to their hard work, both the mechanical and programming aspects of the team can work together with great synergy and help to operate our robot with peak efficiency. It is quite "shocking" to think about how much this relatively small sub team contributes to our robot.
Something's not 'CAD'-ding up!
The CAD Team is 'CAD'-egorized by their proficiency in using programs such as Solidworks to create 3D designs that serve as the backbone of our team's construction efforts. These designs are converted to detailed drawings that are sent out to our sponsors and in-house machining experts. The CAD Team informs fabricators about what to cut, tells our Mechanical Team how things fit together, and provides starting points for the Electrical team relating to key points to place wiring and circuitry. The CAD Team ensures that our various ideas transform into a clean, efficient, and industrial design.