Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Season

This season we are doing FIRST Tech Challenge. It is already in progress and we have until march to build it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So. . . what is the Judge's Award?

"During the course of the competition, the judging panel may encounter a team whose unique efforts, performance, or dynamics merit recognition, yet doesn't fit into any of the existing categories. The judges want to give a special award today to one such team...
They display unusual strength in 3 areas:
1) Thorough strategy planning
2) Exceptionally strong system design
3) True team spirit with a positive refreshing attitude
They are from the "south" but not as far as you think.
Don't get close, you may get burned. They are really "out of sight."
The Judges Award is presented to Team #2129, UltraViolet, from Southwest High School."

~MN North Star Regional Judging Panel

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day #3 of the MN North Star Regional

We won both of our remaining qualifying matches today and were selected as an alliance partner, but we lost in the quarter finals.

Southwest made a good showing at the regional. We won 5 out of 7 qualifying matches, our best showing in 3 seasons, and ended with a ranking of #12 out of the 51 teams attending. Breakdowns were minor and game playing good. In the end, the dumpster designs our performed the shooter designs. However, our team did win the JUDGES AWARD for refreshing team spirit and innovative design, and with it two trophies. Congratulations to everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Day #2 of the MN North Star Regional

Today we won 3 of our 5 matches. The robot was fully functioning for all matches except once when the batter wire came unplugged and we lost power; we finished today in 18th place (out of 51 teams). Tomorrow we have 2 more qualification matches and then the finals begin.

At the award ceremony today we won the "Judge's Award" for innovative design and refreshing team spirit, and with it 2 trophies!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day #1 of the MN North Star Regional

Today we added our revamped electronics and flew through inspection, just making it within the 28x38 inch limit. The new turret system is working well and the robot vision is successfully tracking trailers!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Feed Fixed

You may or may not have noticed that our feed was throwing weird errors for the last few days. If you did, those errors should all have gone away. There was a glitch on FeedBurner's part (specifically, the half-or-so of FeedBurner that runs on Google's servers) that took a little while to track down.

Apparently it was (and likely still is) pretty wide-spread, affecting many publishers. The problem started after I migrated my FeedBurner account (which contains this site's feed as well as my own blog's) to Google's servers. The nitty-gritty technical details are (more or less) spelled out on my personal blog in a very rough, quick post, if you're so inclined to read them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Website Updated

I just pushed our development site to the production area. That means you'll see a new and improved site when you go to

Among the new features are email addresses on the Members page (obfuscated to keep spambots from picking them up), updated pictures, and a search box. The search box has been reported to have some problems with its appearance, but I haven't been able to fix them because they don't happen for me. (If you see the problem -- a cut-off box or button -- or you know something about CSS and might be able to help, please email me at daniel.w [at] swrobotics [dot] com.)

There are more improvements in the works, and now I have a second developer to help me. Hopefully things will start flying out, at least after we're all done with build season.