april 27 2006 using vex to supercharge your frc team l.
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April 27, 2006 Using Vex to Supercharge your FRC team - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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April 27, 2006 Using Vex to Supercharge your FRC team . Speakers. Dan Larochelle Engineering Manager - intelitek FRC team #40 and FVC team #9 14 years FRC experience Donn Griffith Engineering Outreach Director - USC FRC team #343 9 Years FRC experience. Overview.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Dan Larochelle

Engineering Manager - intelitek

FRC team #40 and FVC team #9

14 years FRC experience

  • Donn Griffith

Engineering Outreach Director - USC

FRC team #343

9 Years FRC experience

  • Introductions
  • What is Vex?
  • Who is intelitek
  • FVC program
  • Software Overview
  • Curriculum available for Vex
  • Mini FRC video
  • Questions
who is intelitek
Who is intelitek?
  • Intelitek is a world-leading developer, producer and supplier of industrial CNC machines and technology training solutions.
  • Our educational solutions are the ideal choice for Pre-Engineering programs, Automation Programs and Middle School and High School Technology Programs.
  • Our educational and industrial product line covers subjects such as CAD, CAM, CNC, robotics, machine vision, FMS, CIM, hydraulics, pneumatics, PLC, sensors, process control and data acquisition. We also offer e-learning solutions designed to prepare students for careers in technologically advanced business environments.
  • For over 20 years we have provided comprehensive solutions for training in engineering, mechatronics, automated manufacturing and industrial technologies.
who is intelitek continued
Who is intelitek? (continued)
  • More than 10,500 CNC and 12,500 robots installed worldwide
    • PLTW
    • Skills USA
  • More than 1,100 CNC machines to industrial accounts
    • World leader in industrial Benchtop VMC’s
  • 250 CIM installations worldwide
  • More than 500 Labs worldwide
  • Over $250 Millioninstalled in North America
what is vex
What is Vex?
  • Vex is a robotics design system that allows students to bring their ideas to life.
  • The Vex Starter kit has over 500 parts including a configurable chassis, programmable microcontroller, gears, wheels, hardware and much more.
  • In simple terms - it is like an erector set with a brain.
why did intelitek choose vex
Why did intelitek choose Vex?
  • Intelitek was developing a world class robotics curriculum (REC) and needed a platform to base the content on.
  • After a year long search and lots of testing of various robotic platforms, Vex proved to be the most compete solution at a price point appealing to the educational market.
educating the frc team members
Educating the FRC team members
  • Robotic Engineering Curriculum (REC)
    • Assumes no prior knowledge of robotics
    • Robotic concepts are introduced and reinforced with activities and projects.
    • Material is web based and interactive making it appealing to students.
    • Content is presented in an effective blend of text and visual materials.
    • easyC integrated in to curriculum
the big test
The Big Test


  • Enhance current brainstorming techniques with the Vex platform.
  • Rapid prototype 6 mini robots for to prove out the validity of our ideas from our initial brainstorming session.
    • 3 shooters and 3 ball dumpers
  • Limit the build to 2-3 days.
  • Compete the various designs against each other and see what happens.
  • Test the robustness of the Vex platform and identify possible limitations.
mini frc video
Mini FRC Video
  • This video can be downloaded from the intelitek website at


what did we learn about the game
What did we learn about the game?
  • Winning autonomous was a big advantage, it put the losing team in catch up mode.
  • Good shooting robots are hard to beat.
  • Shooters missed a lot more than they got in.
  • Ramp points weighed heavy in low scoring matches.
  • The field was littered with balls after the first few periods, picking up balls from the floor was key.
  • A good defensive robot can nullify a good offensive robot, especially while a shooter is shooting!
  • Mobility was important, the field was crowded and there were lots of places the robot could be pinned
how did it affect our frc robot
How did it affect our FRC robot?
  • Focused our design on being effective in autonomous
    • A rapid fire shooter
    • Mobility traded off for strength – Mechanum wheels
  • Use the camera to aim shooter to avoid wasting balls
  • Dual conveyors to harvest balls from both sides
  • Educated decisions were made early in the design process. Reduced guessing!
how did it affect our team
How did it affect our team?
  • First project in 14 years that involved every single member of an FRC team.
  • Leveled the playing field enabling younger students to learn and share their ideas with their more experienced teammates.
  • Higher level of thinking about the game. Game strategies could be played out in real time.
  • Students were challenged to show their ideas
  • It made believers out of the skeptics that felt that MiniFRC project was a waste of time.
  • Team bonded together and had a lot of fun.
what did the students learn
What did the students learn?
  • Working in smaller groups allowed more ideas to be developed and tested.
  • Students not intimidated by the hardware, permitting greater experimentation and innovation.
  • Student experimented with autonomous programs using easyC
  • The competitive element of the competition drove them to keep making their robots better.
  • The engineering design process was dramatically reinforced through competition, especially the concept of design iterations
  • Shooting balls is FUN!
what did the mentors learn
What did the mentors learn?
  • Mentors became facilitators, empowering the students.
  • The students had to understand the Aim High Rules. This led to a better informed team.
  • Leveled the playing field between the boys and the girls.
  • Robustness of the Vex platform allowed for a direct correlation of concepts and ideas to our FRC robot.
  • Team spent time testing ideas and strategies in week 1 and 2 rather than week 6 when it is typically too late!
  • Increased comfort level with trying out new ideas.
  • Training prior to kickoff with Vex, easyC and REC made the project run smoothly.
was it worth it
Was it worth it?


  • Increased comfort level with final design
    • Team 40’s most advanced design to date
  • Great team building exercise.
  • Increased student knowledge and awareness
  • Surprise! – BAE regional confirmed most of our Mini FRC findings
would we do it again
Would we do it again?

Yes! …..but

  • Get familiar with all the accessories and options for the Vex platform
  • Build and test various drive trains before kickoff
  • Set firm dates for mini completion – know when to end the mini robots and start the big one.
  • Integrate more sensors and programming into the mini designs