View Full Version : [Project] SciOly Robo Cross - and Thank You

04-08-2008, 03:12 AM
Several months ago I was invited to help our Montessori school students design and build a robot to compete in Science Olympiad's 2008 Robo Cross event at our regional competition.

I'm primarily posting this so that Trossen's staff can see the results of their own labors, and to say "Thank You!".

Throughout all the challenges and complications, Trossen Robotics was an amazing and fail-proof resource. From the right components at reasonable pricing, to being 100% rock-solid reliable all the way down to multiple orders in the final days, Trossen never failed us. Outstanding reliability and customer service, so rare in my experience! We had to order a few components that Trossen didn't stock readily, and none of those companies came near to delivering the way Trossen did.

Our SciOly team took the Gold Medal in Robo Cross, decimating the competition, and spending far less money than turn-key kits. In fact, if you took the two most expensive kits there and added their scores together, you'd just barely equal our score, and be in more than 10x the outlay! And that doesn't count the learning experiences and the joy of competing with a 'bot they could truly be proud of.

I'm enclosing a photo and a video link for your review.

Thank you again, Trossen Staff, and I will absolutely be placing more orders just for "fun" side notions I have percolating now...




P.S. The #25 roller chain and associated cogs are a thing of engineering beauty!

04-08-2008, 01:32 PM
Wow, thank you very much for this kind post. This made my day! I'm really glad you did so well in the competition. Sounds like you deserved it for great preparation and good design!

04-08-2008, 02:29 PM
Thanks for the kind words. Glad we could help out.

That's a mighty fine bot you guys built, too. Congratulations!

04-09-2008, 10:10 AM
That is a pretty ingenious robot you and your team built! It's awesome to hear just how well your team did in the competitions:D

Thank you for all complements!

04-09-2008, 08:35 PM
Applause to you and your school. Not for the win (which is wonderful in itself) but for the program you have established over there. I am encouraged when ever I see kids pushing the bounds of creativity and intellect. I also was extremely happy to see girls take part in engineering. As a father of a young daughter, I always look for ways to inspire girls to explore the sciences. Great job all around!!!

04-10-2008, 12:58 AM
Hi All,

Thanks! Let me respond to your kind words roughly in order -

Matt - I appreciated your response to one of my order comments. I still have it here. No more panic'd orders for ~6months, but I'm close to placing my largest order to-date. Even though we don't know the specifics yet, I have some ideas that are terribly "out there", maybe pushing the bounds of the current state-of-the-art. Of course, I don't know how to accomplish it yet... That makes it fun/exciting. ;)

The one "oopsie" that we had in all those orders was, of course, an opportunity for Trossen to shine, and shine your folks did. I ordered a motor second day (in a panic, several days before the competition), and it arrived as expected - sans filter capacitors. I called Alex well afterhours, and my call was returned first thing the next morning with the absolute answer to my question of what caps I needed to pick-up at the local store. If I'd been thinking instead of panicing, I'd have reasoned that out. Twenty plus years of electronics, you'd think something might have rubbed off. :o [sigh] Point being, I had the opportunity to experience Trossen's top-notch support too.

I've run a lot of small companies - and some large support teams. Little errors never matter to the customer if the support is solid at the end of the day. You guys have it together.


Thanks, Dave and Alex! Are you guys familiar with "The MonkeyHouse Phenomena"? I think the 'bot is cute, creative, has moments of genius, and is overall really neat. The Monkey House Phenomena is like walking into the monkey house at the zoo. The first 15 minutes you're like "wow! It STINKS in here!" The second 15minutes you're thinking "oh, it's not so bad, they must have turned on some kinda filter". The third 15 minutes you're thinking "I don't know what I was upset about, there's really no odor to speak of...".

I've been living in the Robot Monkey House for the last several months. :rolleyes: The logical observer on my shoulder knows all the shortcomings and it says I'm over-rating the thing more than a bit. But I do appreciate the kind comments! :happy:


Thanks Eric! You've really nailed it there on so many levels. First - I'm female, and an engineer. People reading me frequently think I'm male - likely because of preconceived notions about what an engineer "should be". Leigh was our alternate, and didn't get to compete with the 'bot. But she's "just" a sixth grade student this year, paying her dues. We losing the boys next year (on to Jr. High), and she'll be moving up the seniority ladder, if you get my drift. And next year's 'bot will be amazing if my crazy notions can be made a reality. And she'll be getting her choice of position.

As a female engineer, I really do enjoy introducing girls to my love affair and life-long fascination with technology. There's not nearly the social stigma today that there was when I started, but it's still by no means a level playing field. If you will help your daughter explore technology and see if she has an interest, that's just one more step in what I see as the "right" direction.

I'm actually not a parent, and just a friend of a parent at the school. When he brought up the possibility that I might give them some advice, I lept on the opportunity and really owned it, start to finish. Now I'm so hooked, I'd move the proverbial heaven and earth to help these kids achieve their goals in this venue...

[sorry - hot button topic]

I believe that the community adopting projects and schools and kids this way may be the only chance we have to put our science programs back where they belong - or even elevate them above what they might have been. Every year sciences slip more and more. We geeks [said lovingly], hobbiests, enthusiasts... have the unique opportunity to turn this around for nothing (at the entry level) but a few hours of our time. And in return we get to share the things we're passionate about with young eager minds.

I think it's a trade I profit from substantially.

And, hey, I get to learn things too. When a child's imagination presents a unique engineering challenge, the opportunity to discover something new is practically irresistable to me.


Well, I'll stop waxing semi-eloquent. Thanks again for all comments!



04-10-2008, 09:40 PM
Hey An,

>>>Matt - I appreciated your response to one of my order comments. I still have it here.

You can't tease me like that and not deliver!!! What was it?! You can PM it to me. I'm curious.

>>>As a female engineer, I really do enjoy introducing girls to my love affair and life-long fascination with technology. There's not nearly the social stigma today that there was when I started

It's interesting, we run into far more woman and girls than one would expect in robotics. There are a lot of young females participating in the robotics competitions. I think it's the interactive nature of the field that is helping to draw females toward the technology which is a great thing. BTW - If you want to see a pic that will melt your female robot lovin heart click here (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showpost.php?p=7101&postcount=30).

04-11-2008, 02:19 PM
She's so cute! And the advantages of having a 600lb killer robot to take for a walk will definitely be real. ;)

>> You can't tease me like that and not deliver!!!

Sorry - any build-up would be overrated. ;)

I just appreciated the personal-touch. I had written "I promise that after April 5, I'll quit appealing to you [*for expedited processing] in a panic" and you had circled it and written "No Problem" with a smiley. Just a nice personal touch.