Team 5499 competes at the FIRST Festival of Champions

Last week Team 5499 and Tsumugi travelled all the way from Berkeley, California to attend the FIRST Festival of Champions in Manchester, New Hampshire, a Super Bowl-esque event in which the champion alliances from the East (St. Louis) and the West (Houston) battled for glory. Team 5499, along with the other teams of the Red Alliance including Team 973, Team 1011, and Team 4188 kicked it off with a two-win lead over the Blue Alliance in the best-of-five competition. Tsumugi did an excellent job at collecting gears for its team mates by accumulating an astonishing average of five gears per match, not to mention the autonomous mode that perfectly scored a gear every match. Tsumugi proved to be a real ape by effortlessly climbing the rope at the end of four matches.  The Team proved it had earned its place in the 2017 Class of Champions with five matches in a row free of errors.

 

Unfortunately, the Blue alliance snatched the win from the Red Alliance’s clutches with a sudden three-win streak. Congratulations to Team 254, Team 2767, Team 1676, and Team 862 of the Blue Alliance for winning the FIRST Festival of Champions. Team 5499 thanks you all for playing a great game and providing an entertaining experience.

 

Speaking of entertaining experiences, Team 5499 was graciously invited to attend a tour of DEKA. On the tour, DEKA uncovered some of the many technologies they are currently working on, including prosthetic arms for wounded veterans and stair climbing wheelchairs for disabled people.

 

The wheelchairs would’ve definitely come in handy when climbing the giant stairs of Dean Kamen’s house where all the teams were invited to eat dinner and hang out. The place was so big and full of art that it felt more like a museum than a home. It even came with its own basketball/tennis court and baseball field. Many teams found joy in rolling down the hills sideways, playing kickball, and Ultimate Frisbee. I even got to talk with Dean himself. Needless to say, it was worth the 30 minute shuttle wait times.

Posted by Tre Miller

Team 5499 Cleans Up the Bay

Rising junior Ely Feldsher collects trash at the Berkeley Marina. Photo credit: Katherine Tomashevsky

On Saturday the Team attended the Berkeley Shoreline Beach Cleanup, hosted by the Shorebird Park Nature Center. Every time it rains, creeks and storm drains carry trash into the ocean. It then washes up on the shoreline, littering our beaches and damaging the surrounding habitats. As local, environmentally conscious teenagers, the students on Team 5499 decided to take action to preserve the California coast.

After arriving at the nature center, we learned about the impact of plastic and other pollution on the environment. Trash collects in a patch of the Pacific Ocean called the North Pacific Central Gyre, and from there it is deposited on our shores and in the stomachs of marine animals. We then set out to the marina, where we walked along the shoreline picking up trash and recording data on what we found. As a team, we collected approximately 30 gallons of harmful debris, and we left the waterfront looking pristine.

The students on team 5499 remain committed to preserving our planet, and we know that we must do our part to make a difference. We hope to continue this tradition in the future.

Posted by Zoe McDonald

Tsumugi visits the San Mateo County Fair

Senior Elias Weber shows a guest driver his objective while Sophomore Max Willig manages the drive station computer and oversees a visiting co-driver while a third young fair goer observes it all. Photo credit: Andy Cate

Over the past week, the San Mateo County Fair had daily three hour “robot demos” in the technology section of the exposition hall where local FRC and FTC teams were able to talk with students and parents alike about their robots and the opportunities that FIRST had to offer. The Bay Orangutans are grateful to FRC Team 5026, the Iron Panthers, for facilitating a wonderful outreach opportunity for numerous bay area FRC and FTC teams.

Many teams also allowed young fair goers to drive their robots. Team 5499 certainly did! Visitors were thrilled to drive Tsumugi, and a chance at driving our robot proved to be a great way to spark interest in FIRST, robotics, and STEM in general.

Our spiel was unique due to our team’s status as a community team. We welcomed students, no matter where they hailed from, to join the team. Our inability to take in younger students shed light on the need for community FLL and    FLL Jr. teams in the area, and The Bay Orangutans have made this their next goal in fulfilling their mission to provide all students in their community with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and knowledge in STEM, leadership, and finance through training for and participation in competitions. Becoming a community team broke barriers between the team and students from schools other than Berkeley High School, and community FLL and FLL Jr. teams should help the team extend its reach beyond just high school students.

The fair ran from June 10th to June 18th and though many were busy studying for finals, the team was able to come by on the 10th, and, after finals finished, again on the 17th and 18th. Since our regular drive team was unavailable, other team members filled in for them, often making the interim drive coaches about as experienced as the guest drivers. Team members who were able to attend the event agree that they had as much fun as the kids they were entertaining.

Posted by Teo Tezcan, 0 comments

Reaching out to the Berkeley High School community

 

Sophomore Hanna Miller (left) and Junior Zoe McDonald (right) tell Berkeley High School students how they can get involved with The Bay Orangutans.

Last week, Team 5499 attended the Berkeley High School Activism Fair organized by school leadership. The Team made it loud. The Bay Orangutans showed how much good could be done for the world through FRC, FIRST, and STEM in general. This was a great opportunity for the Team because, as a community team, it was not allowed access to the school’s club fairs. This event, however, welcomed any off-campus groups which were in any way about doing good in the world. Students did a great job of connecting work they had done to elements of activism. The Team talked a lot about its non-STEM related service to the community as well as the value of the opportunities it brings to students, and its past outreach efforts to make these opportunities more accessible to underserved students. The Bay Orangutans also spoke of their plans to get involved with STEM-related endeavors at local elementary and middles schools in order to get students on track for fulfilling careers in STEM before they are pushed away from STEM via socioeconomic or cultural barriers. The Team was able to connect with dozens of prospective students as well as other service-based organizations such as the Elders’ Guild. Last Wednesday at Berkeley High School, technology really did bring people together.

 

Posted by Teo Tezcan, 0 comments