FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Diary of an Innovator Team 1880: The Season Begins

Jan 30, 2024 Written by Team 1880, Warriors of East Harlem and FIRST Robotics Competition Staff




This 2023-2024 FIRST® season, follow along as we hear from four FIRST® LEGO® League, four FIRST® Tech Challenge, and four FIRST® Robotics Competition Diary of an Innovator teams about their season experience and the culture of innovation their team has created.

This post is by Team 1880 Warriors of East Harlem from New York, USA. You can read their first blog post on the FIRST Robotics Competition blog.


Q: How did your team work together to prepare for the upcoming season?


A: During the off-season, our team engaged in a variety of team-building activities and training sessions to help us get used to the intensity of the season. We had the opportunity to attend a couple of off-season competitions which were a fantastic way to introduce new members to the world of robotics, test out wild ideas and give our drivers the practice they needed to master the controls. It wasn’t just about the technical stuff though; these competitions are like a big reunion with other teams, we had the opportunity to swap stories, learn from each other, and make lasting connections. 

Our robot design and tool & safety workshops were extremely helpful for our team as well. These sessions focused on enhancing our technical skills and understanding the engineering process which were crucial in laying the foundation for a successful transition into the new season. 

We also had the chance to participate in multiple community events including the American Cancer Society’s walk and East Harlem Tutorial Program’s annual Turkey and Toy Drive before the holidays. 

Overall, our off-season was a well-rounded experience, blending technical skill development with team building and community service.


Q: Can you share the most surprising lesson your team has learned together while preparing for the upcoming season?

A: The most surprising lesson for our team was the realization that failures aren't roadblocks but opportunities for growth. Embracing challenges with a positive mindset allowed us to turn setbacks into stepping stones on our journey to success. This shift in perspective not only refined our problem-solving skills but also showed us the power of resilience. Despite not being able to build to our expectations during the 2023 season, the experience highlighted the importance of relying on each other to help us conquer any challenge. These lessons have not only strengthened our team bonds but has also given us a newfound confidence for the 2024 season. 


Q: We’ve officially released CRESCENDOSM presented by Haas! What are your initial reactions to the game?

A: Our team experienced a mix of emotions upon seeing this year's game. The anticipation was met with excitement, shock, and tons of ideas racing through all of us. How will we climb? Is the Trap really a trap? Are we going for the Amp, or are we going for the Speaker? As we delved into the game manual to dig through the intricate details of the challenge we embarked on a journey of strategic design. After a looong but careful examination of the rules, we devised a plan with the goal of unlocking our team's full potential on the field. This process turned out to be more than just understanding the game; it was a thoughtful approach and a collaborative team effort to strategize and improve from our previous season. From our perspective, the game presented numerous challenges, some of which we have yet to figure out, but it has also given us the opportunity to learn, adapt, and enhance our skills.


Q: How will your team innovate for this season’s game?

A: Our innovation for this season involves implementing Swerve Drive for the first time, which is a significant leap into uncharted territory for our team. Although Swerve Drive has become extremely popular in the FIRST Robotics Competition community, this is our team's first time giving it a shot. We are motivated by the challenge and believe it will not only improve our robot's maneuverability but also give us a competitive edge on the field. 

As first-time users, we recognize the learning curve that comes along with adopting this new type of drivetrain, but we’re ready to push the boundaries of each other’s capabilities, which also explains why our commitment to innovation extends beyond hardware. 

We are making a big effort to strengthen our programming abilities. This is something we struggled with last season and recognized that a well-programmed robot is necessary for optimal performance. 

In addition to our technical improvements, we recognized the important role mentors have in cultivating innovation. That’s why we’ve been actively reaching out trying to expand our mentor network with the goal of learning from diverse perspectives. Even by hopping on a quick Zoom call, we’ve found that by asking questions we not only better our technical skills but also broaden our understanding of strategy, design, and problem-solving. 

Innovation, for us, goes beyond the robot; It's about encouraging our team with continuous improvement and adaptability. We’re hoping this season marks a pivotal moment in our team's journey, and we're excited to see how our innovative approaches will unfold on and off the field. 


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