OUR HISTORY – WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED!
FIRST Robotics Team 324, CHIPS, is a robotics team that was created as a partnership between Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD) and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). The team was established in the summer of 2019 in preparation for the 2020 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season.
Chips is the fourth NASA JSC house team and the second CCISD team. The team’s workspace is located at Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, TX. The school district’s head-quarters is located in League City, TX.
2022 Ice: Robot Overview
Base: Our robot uses swerve drive with SDS Mark 4’s.
Shooter: The shooter is an adjustable hood that uses limelight targeting to score in the high goal. There is a brush on the kicker wheel for the larger diameter and there is a snowblower motor on the adjustable hood for no backdrive.
Intake: The robot has a double intake with two motors – one inner and one outer. Gears are used to change direction and it passively adjusts for ball path.
Hang: The robot has a traversal hang that is achieved with two sets of bars. One set goes up and leans forward, while the other is a pair of static hooks.
Software: The software uses closed loop to achieve a two ball auton with taxi.
On January 9th, 2021, the Chips team met in the Clear Brook HS cafeteria for the first (and hopefully last) completely virtual FRC kickoff. Because of the CoronaVirus pandemic this was to be a very different type of FRC year. There was a hint of a slim possibility of in-person competitions, any such competitions would be a replay of the 2020 game with minor modifications to the rules. There would also be several challenges that would be played out completely at home. The At Home challenge was a collection of five skills events that would be done at home with video submissions for competition. The Innovation Challenge was a competition of teams developing concepts and designs of things to help with people’s health. The Game Design competition allowed teams to develop a completely new FRC game. There were also the traditional judged awards such as the Chairman’s Award, Woodie Flowers, Dean’s List, and robot design awards that were done completely virtually.
After some discussion Chips decided to participate in all of the competitions and challenges. With the intent of creating a new robot designed to play at in-person competitions when they were rescheduled. After a few weeks FIRST announced that there would be no in-person competitions so Chips went all-in on designing an At Home challenge robot. While still working on the other challenges.
Chips finished 9th in their division for the Robot Challenges. Chips won the Creativity Award for Game Design.
As a “new veteran” team, Chips participated in the Channelview FIRST in Texas district event (March 6 – 8) with our robot Ahoy. After qualifying matches, Chips was ranked 3rd with a record of 8-4-0. Chips accepted an invitation by the 1st seed, 5427, SteelTalons and was joined by 5908, Spartans for the elimination matches. The alliance won 2 of 3 quarterfinal matches and lost both semifinal matches. Chips was also presented the Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation. Chips was temporarily presented with the Highest Seeded Rookie award but promptly returned the award because of the new veteran status instead of rookie status.
Shortly after the Channelview event, the FIRST season was suspended due to the Coronavirus. At this time, Chips was being listed/voted as the fourth best team in the south by FIRST Updates Now (FUN).
The remainder of the suspended season was cancelled.
As a pre-rookie team, Chips participated in The Remix 2019 off-season competition. Chips rebuilt the Robonauts 2019 Everybot to compete in the competition. We rotated through a collection of drivers and human players to give as many people as possible the experience of being behind the glass. We were the 25th pick, the 3rd pick on the 1st alliance, joining team 3310, 148, and 5417. We finished in 2nd Place.
Mr. Anderson was an aerospace engineer for many years before getting involved with mentoring robotics teams. He began mentoring his oldest son’s FIRST Lego League (FLL) team in 2008. In 2013, he started mentoring FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team 118, The Robonauts. Seeing the opportunity to further share his passion, Mr. Anderson accepted a position teaching robotics and engineering at Clear Brook High School in 2016. In 2019, in preparation for the 2020 season, Mr. Anderson was one of the key mentors in the creation of FRC Team 324, Chips. Since 2013 Mr. Anderson also mentored BEST team Jigsaw, several VEX Robotics Competition teams and a VEX IQ team.
Some comments from students that worked with Mr. Anderson:
“Mr. Anderson provides us with not only the tools to succeed in robotics but also in life.”
“Rather than building anything himself, he actively teaches us, and watches us grow as we complete tasks ourselves.”
“His emphasis on guiding us through manufacturing allows us to gain first-hand experience in creating realistic and practical designs.”
“If you have a stupid idea, he won’t tell you it’s stupid. He’ll let you design it and guide you in the right direction as you do.”
“His guidance helps us hone our designing skills as well as how to adapt and overcome the faults in our ideas as the manufacturing process goes on.”
“Mr. Anderson is extremely student-focused and he always encourages students to make all the decisions for the team.”
“He is always promoting teamwork and communication within the team, facilitating connections between team members and ensuring that our social skills develop along with our technical skills.”
“All of the Chips students can agree that the atmosphere of the lab feels like home”.
“Anytime a student messes up or has done something wrong, you can almost hear Mr. Anderson’s laugh. This laugh is not to tease the student but rather, to reassure them that mistakes are normal and that we can learn from them.”
“Mr. Anderson is a joyful person to be around.”
“He is always making something with a student and as soon as the machine stops and a product comes out, he is always happy and satisfied with it, no matter what the product.”
“When the team receives new tools and packages, it is almost as if a little kid is opening presents on Christmas day as Mr. Anderson and his students gleefully look at their new equipment.”
Despite a personal battle with cancer during the last few years, Mr. Anderson continued to show up for his students, presenting them with a support system like no other. He continued to make robotics easy for everyone as he taught concepts applicable to robotics competition teams and industry. Mr. Anderson took the time to put concepts into words that beginners could understand and walked students through them once, twice, or however many times it took until the student became confident in their new abilities.