Category: Uncategorized

Robotics Permission Slips and expectations

December 20th, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

To be an official part of the team all the kids at Kickoff should register in the STIMS system.  This also involves the parents.  Your child will fill out some information, but parents will receive an e-mail asking for confirmation to participate.

The lab is based at 110 Cummington St, in the basement of the BU Department of Mechanical Engineering.  Room B06

The lab is generally open on weekdays from 3PM to 6PM, and weekends (and holidays) from noon to 5PM.  This is of course dependent on mentor supervision.  Having said that, if you are a parent with a technical background and want to help out on the weekend, let me know.  We also need some parents to help out with the entrepreneurship aspects of our program.

Although the lab is open 7 days a week, we do not want students to be there that much.  The time commitment is similar to a varsity sport.  We expect new students to the team to put in between 6 to 12 hours a week.  It is okay for students to participate less, but they might not be part of the travel team.

The most important things for me are

1.  The kids are SAFE in the lab

2.  The kids are having fun

3.  The kids are keeping up with their academics.

We will have updates on our team calendar too.




BUA Robotics Kickoff

December 20th, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

The BUA Robotics Kickoff will be on Saturday, January 7th.  This is the beginning of our six week varsity season for building our FIRST Robotics Competition robot.  On this day, the new seasons game is revealed.

This is a major social event for our team, students, alums, and parents.  I would like to encourage parents in particular to come and make a social event of this!  This is a good time to catch my ear and have a great open discussion of what the season will be like, the expectations of the students and the team.  Given we have over a dozen new students on the team (our largest growth in years) I really want to encourage parents to show up!  The parents of younger students have found it valuable to ask the parents of our older students what is going on.

We will gather for a pot-luck brunch.  Please sign up on the Google Sheet to bring something (so we don't have 50 gallons of Orange Juice).  Additionally, while you are bringing in food for the pot-luck, please also bring in something non-perishable that we can sell the next day at our concession stand at the VEX tournament. Please sign up on the Google Doc.

At around 11AM we will watch the game reveal.

VEX Field Setup: At 12 noon we will setup the gym for our VEX tournament which we are hosting on Sunday January 8th.  This will take a couple hours. But the more people we have pitching in, the quicker it will go!

Kit pickup: I also need one parent (and a couple kids) to volunteer to drive over to Northeastern to pick up our kit of parts.

VEX practice: Many of the younger students will probably want to spend the afternoon practicing on our VEX field in the gym.  They can stay as long as the mentors are willing to supervise them.

FRC game discussion: The rest of our team will be engaged in excited discussion of the game that afternoon.

Crowdfunding Update

December 20th, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

We will be starting a new Crowdfunding Campaign this season in early January.

Students are asked to come to kickoff with a list of 24 friends, neighbors, and relatives whom they intend to get in touch with (e-mail, facebook, etc) to ask to help out!  We ask parents to not give themselves to the BUA Robotics Campaign.  Parent donations should go to the BUA Annual fund, which is turn does fund our program.  We are trying to bring in donations that would not normally be made to the BUA Annual Fund.

It is not live yet, but you can view last year's crowdfunding site at this link. This is a Crowdfunding Platform rnu by BU in collaboration with Scalefunder.  All donation are tax deductible.

You will find that donations are made in multiples of $24.60!

Our goal this year will be $7380 which is $2,460 * 3

We will begin in mid-January.  We will end right before spring break.

Every 3 days we will try to switch witch students we are highlighting on the splash page.


BUA Robotics Tournament Travel plans for 2017

December 20th, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

It is worth noting that both of the FIRST district events we plan to attend are during Spring Break.

We will attend local championships if we qualify.

VEX Tournaments:

Jan 8: We will be hosting a VEX Tournament on the Sunday after kickoff.  We have 3 teams registered.

Jan 14: VEX Tournament in Hopkinton.  We have 3 teams registered.

Jan 21: VEX Tournament in Framingham.  Tentative.

Jan 28: VEX Tournament in N. Andover. Tentative

Mar 4-5  VEX New England Championship at QCC in Worcestor (We need to qualify first).

Mar 8-10 (Wed night to Friday) FIRST District event at WPI

Mar 17-19 (Fri night to Sunday) FIRST District event at Reading High School

April 5-8 FIRST New England Championship at UNH Durham (We need to qualify first).

April 19-April 22  VEX World Championship Louisville, KY(only if we qualify)

April 26-30  FIRST World Championship, St. Louis, MA (only if we qualify)

May 26 to June 4th  FIRST China International Competition. (depends on funding)


October Coach’s Update

October 14th, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

Dear friends,

Last week we hosted our first Girl Powered Robotics Workshop. Many thanks to Eve, Divya, Alexia, Alex, Emily, Professor Grace, Rucky, and Sarah for helping to run this event.

Our younger students have been busy building VEX robots.  Our older students have been refining their programming skills and learning CAD.

You can view upcoming events on our team CALENDAR.

On October 29th we will attend a post-season FRC event with Hungry Hippo, our FIRST robot from last year.  We will be attending the Bay State Brawl.  Permission slips are available at this link.  Permission slips are due on Wednesday, October 19. Teresa Scott will be organizing carpooling and transportation for this event.  You can sign up to help at this link.  We hope that some 9th grade students will be able to drive this robot.

We will be hosting our first major event of the year on November 5th.  This will be a FIRST LEGO League and VEX Scrimmage.  The rounds will run from 9AM to 12 noon.   Doors will open at 7:30 and we hope to have the floor swept by 1:30.   Sign up to help with this event at this link. We need help from concessions to judges to logistics for this event.

Our biggest event of the year is our FLL Tournament which is December 3rd.

We may attend several possible VEX events in January.

The FIRST Kickoff is January 7th, and our VEX Tournament is Jan 8th.

We will attend Two FIRST District Events this year.

WPI District event March 8-10 (during the break)

Reading High School District Event  March 17-19


Cool Camera for Robotics Teams

October 12th, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

Each year, our robotics team hosts several large FLL and VEX robotics tournaments at BU. One important feature that we would like to implement in the near future is a live video stream from each of these events on our team’s youtube channel. We will be using the high definition video capture capabilities of one of these security cameras since they allow 1080P video to be uploaded to youtube with some simple transcoding in between instead of a expensive hardware encoder. Using this guide for RTSP to RTMP transcoding it is possible to use any RTSP capable IP camera to stream to youtube. Instead of setting up a poor wireless stream from a camera with wifi capabilities or utilizing a low-quality IP camera such as the Axis camera we currently use to stream video from our robot for analysis, this camera’s hd output will allow us to stream hd video to our youtube server. The addition of audio input, either from the video itself or from our tournament’s sound system, will make the stream more accessible and informative for those watching over the internet. We may then publicize our video stream by embedding it on the front page of our team’s website.


Another purpose for our camera would be to record video from our robot in hd quality. Although we currently use a low-quality IP camera for quick streaming and target detection, these high definition ip cameras would allow us to record onboard video separately, without interfering with our robot’s vision system or the other wifi signals on the field. By FRC competition rules, most cameras with wifi capabilities are not even allowed on the field, but this camera’s lack of a wifi streaming feature actually provides a huge benefit for us. Again, we may then be able to publish the onboard videos on our website and youtube channel. Often, onboard videos are very helpful in for training new robot drivers and demonstrating our robot’s capabilities. This camera would certainly be a significant and much-needed addition to our team’s inventory!

Annual Review of our last season!

September 24th, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

The 2015-2016 season was an amazing season.  Please feel free to download our

AnnualReview2015-2016 and read about it.

We graduated an amazing group of seniors Oliver, Evelyn, Jordan, Lenny, Michael, Janina, Oleg.  Best of luck in the future.

Two of our lead mentors, Emily and Dr. Joe have also moved on, and a big thank you for their years of guidance!

I hope many of you will help to mentor and inspire the next group of students.




Coach’s Update Sept 5

September 5th, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

Hi all,

Welcome back to our new season.  I will be announcing what days the lab will be open after I consult with the mentors. The lab will be open at least two afternoons a week from 3PM to 6PM.

Of immediate concern, I need a few helpers ASAP to move our shipping crate out of storage in Professor Holts lab, which is across the hall from the Bot-lab.  We will probably want to move it to BUA unless we can find space in the lab.

We will demonstrate the Hungry Hippo this coming Thursday at the Activity Fair.

We might have a demo at the College of Engineering Activity Fair in a couple weeks.
CAD has been a vital part of the team the past few years, and I am looking for 4 students to become our CAD specialists for the year.

This fall we will be making a big push with our VEX program again.  Last year we did not attend any away VEX matches in the fall, and I am hoping to do so this season.  Several of the 10th grade students have been quite active over the summer building VEX robots.

If there is sufficient interest, we could attend an FRC event with the Hungry Hippo at Westborough High School on Saturday, October 29th.  However, you have to attend in costume.  This event is the Bay State Brawl.
Caleb's mother is going to be organizing the parent volunteers this year.  Make sure they talk to her at Parent's night.
We have one workshop scheduled in October.  We have a Girl Powered VEXIQ Workshop on Tuesday, Oct 11 from 3PM to 5PM.  This event is geared towards girls in grades 6-9.

On Saturday Nov 5th, we will be holding a FLL/VEXIQ/VEX scrimmage.  This is an all hands on deck event.  The public part of the event will run from 8AM to 1PM.  We will have some setup Friday afternoon, and I hope to have the gym cleaned up by 2PM.  We will invite 12 VEXIQ teams, 9 FLL teams, and 16 VEX teams.

We will probably also do a FLL workshop sometime later in November.
Our FIRST LEGO League Tournament will be Saturday December 3rd.
FRC Kickoff will be Saturday Jan 7th.  Our VEX Tournament will be Sunday Jan 8th.
I know some of you have suddenly realized we no longer have the class of 2015 running things, and Emily, Christina, and Dr. Joe have moved on from the team.  In that sense, this will be a rebuilding year.  But we have a lot of great mentors returning this fall including Alex B., Joseph V, Paul T., Abdullah and Mr. Nazarenko.  Leah and Lenny will be around to help us run our major events.  So I am very confident that we will have another great season.

BBQ this Friday June 10

June 7th, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

Our team end of year festival will be this Friday evening at the Faas-Bush home in Arlington at 6PM.

15 Devereaux St, Arlington 02476

Food contributions are welcome, but not necessary.

Summer robotics

June 3rd, 2016 in Uncategorized 0 comments

Monday afternoon June 6:  I would love help if you want a study break with

  • Finishing the senior yearbook
  • Writing the annual review
  • Sending out thankyou notes
  • finish prepping the physics classroom for the summer camps

The end of season BBQ will be Friday evening, June 10th at Owen's House.  Directions and exact ETA coming.

The Beantown Blitz is Saturday, June 18th.  This is a one day FRC FIRST event at Revere High School.

If you have younger siblings, please have them sign up for our summer STEM workshops.

Our first workshop will be the week of June 20-24.

We have a camp from the Northshore that asked to stop by for a labtour and demo on July 5 and July 19

The Boston MakerFaire is July 23.

My current thought is to have the lab open for summerwork on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4PM to 7PM, starting June 14th.

Summer projects include:

  • Oliver needs help coding and implementing his 4 speed transmission for the Hungry Hippo.
  • I need some guinea pigs to try out the MATLAB/SIMULINK VEX curriculum I have written.
  • Start working on the new VEX game, StarStruck.