Category Archives: Janky News

Week 3 of Build


As Build Season is passing by quickly, the Janksters struggle to make the most efficient use of their time, but they remain productive and enthusiastic.

In fact, the Electronics Committee is making their finishing touches on their board, which they have been designing through CAD. One of these designs is figuring out how they will wire their board to the chassis.

The Programming Committee has been teaching their rookies valuable skills through experience. The rookies had to make a presentation about gyros and accelerometers that even the veterans ending up learning from! They have also been testing out the electronic board and deploying codes.

The Mechanical Committee has been busy in their different groups:

Field Elements have completed the CADing of the drive station and finished all their prototyping, as well as the mockup.

The Scaling Committee is also working on CADing and are almost done! Through overcoming obstacles as a team, they have bonded greatly, and the rookies have developed the critical thinking required to find easy solution.

Finally, the Chassis group has almost finished making 4 different gearboxes and are trying to complete their portion by their deadline.

Finally, Marketing has made great progress, as they have decided on their final designs and are ready to print. A social media plan has been implemented, and bows are almost completed, as well as the costume for our mascot. They have also created the Robot Reveal invitations, which are ready to send out.

We also had some non-Build Season related events that were really fun! For example, on Saturday, a few 7th graders in the LEAD program came to visit our team, and we had the opportunity to show them our committees firsthand. We can’t wait to meet a new group of students again next year and hope that they join robotics, no matter where they choose to go.  Today, our team took some time to relax and watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail to go with our medieval theme in this year’s competition, Stronghold.

As usual, we could not have done any of this without our amazing sponsors, mentors, and parents. Thanks so much!

Week 2 of Build

Credit to Tamara Kawa

This second week has been an amazing for the Janksteres, who remain productive and diligent.

The Marketing Committee has been making bows that the Janksters will wear at upcoming competitions. They have also finalized giveaways, the annual t-shirt as well as button design, and the design for the team’s standard. A social media plan is now finalized, and updates to our website have been made. A few members were able to attend a Networking Presentation, where they captured the attention of new, generous sponsors.

Our amazing programers have been working hard. They have researched for their daunting task of programming the robot,  including attending a special presentation yesterday, where they has the opportunity to learn more about electronics. The veterans created a challenging quiz to help them stay on task, and they are now forming a plan based on the Mechanical and Electronic components.

The Electronics committee has completed the task of creating a board for the robot and worked on their first electronics project. Not to mention, they have been working tirelessly to complete BOM measurements to make sure the Janksters are ready for competition.

During the past few days, the mechanical sub committees have made progress on their separate projects:

The ball manipulation group has been brainstorming and taking dimensions. They have also finalized their general plan by analyzing what will fit on the chassis.

The scaling group has been pondering the logistics of their mechanism and how to keep that mechanism going. There have been some obstacles, but we have no doubt that their Janky minds will soon find a solution!

Finally, the chassis group has been taking the necessary measurements and they have been CADing, in order to figure out the proper spacings required.

All in all, The Janksters have completed so much in the span of seven days, and we can not thank our mentors and parents enough for their support!

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Week 1 of Build


This week has been both chaotic and productive for the Janksters, who are almost finished prototyping the various brainstorms for their robot.

During Kickoff, we divided into groups to read the game manual before joining together to make a list of our goals. On the second day, we we went through that list to prioritize the ones most practical and important for us. The team was then dispersed again to brainstorm the various components of the game, such as strategy, mechanism, and defense. Throughout the next few days, these groups divided further into subcommittees:

The Scaling Group first came up with three ideas and were able to create a mockup of one possible mechanism.

The Field Element Group recreated three of the Stronghold defenses- rock wall, ramparts, and moat-, and they are currently working on the low bar, which is proving to be a challenge.

The Ball Manipulation Group took a look at previous year’s robots for inspiration and recently tried out various wheels with their prototyped mechanism. The wheels are now decided, but they have to figure out the spacing of where everything should be placed and are considering janky ideas for the robot.

The Chassi group made up of many rookies and veterans commented that they had bonded a lot already in just the first week. They brainstormed about possible designs and whether they were feasible through a lot of math. Now, they are prototyping their top ideas.

Programming is working on training their rookies on C++, as they must wait for a final plan from the other committees in order to start their work.

Marketing has also been very productive, finalizing their final t-shirt, standard, and button design. A social media plan also been decided on, as well as this year’s giveaway.

All in all, the Janksters are so excited about the return of Build Season and hope to keep the productive spirit of it’s members!

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Credit to Tamara Kawa

by Tamara Kawa ‘16

Originally posted on Notre Dame High School

It’s that season of the year again – FIRST Robotics Competition Build Season! And Notre Dame’s very own FRC Team 1967 Janksters couldn’t be more excited! Eager to start a new build season, the Janksters woke up at 7:30 am and eagerly waited for the new game to be announced. Before long, the room was abuzz with excitement for this year’s game – FIRST Stronghold.

FIRST Stronghold is a great throwback to previous FRC challenges that includes an innovative, medieval twist to capture-the-flag. The 2016 FRC game is played by two alliances, each with three teams, whose main objective is to breach the enemy’s defenses and capture their tower. To capture a tower, the robots must launch boulders past castle walls until the tower is sufficiently weakened. However, before attacking and scoring points, robots need to be able to get past the enemy’s defenses. These obstacles, following the game’s medieval theme, include drawbridges, portcullises, and even a moat!

The Janksters were pumped from the first second. Moments after the reveal, Emma Ryan, sophomore and mechanical co-lead, stated, “I think this game is definitely more exciting than last year’s game, but I do see that it’s going to be more of a challenge – especially with those changing field elements.” Tiffany Ta, junior and mechanical co-lead, adds “It’s going to be a lot harder than last year’s game, but it’s also going to be really, really fun.” After rewatching the game video and taking inventory of the Kit of Parts, Team 1967 read through the game manual, thoroughly investigating each section and rapidly noting the important restrictions. With the game understood, the girls then enacted a few rounds of FIRST Stronghold, followed by a strategic brainstorm session that left the students eager to explore the game more. Anisha Kabir, a freshman experiencing her first build season, commented, “It looks challenging, but I’m excited to see what we’ll do!”

The following Sunday was dedicated to prototyping mechanisms that could breach defenses and launch boulders. Rookies and veterans alike spent hours with whiteboards and computers, researching machines that complete similar tasks and drawing out their various ideas.  Another group of Janksters finalized the team’s strategy, considering all the ideas from the brainstorming session and debating the benefits and drawbacks for each. Throughout the morning and afternoon, the Janksters left no stone – or boulder – unturned as they explored all the possibilities of the 2016 game. Adriana Mulla-Carrillo, a mentor and team alumna from the Class of 2012, marvelled, “Just seeing how far the strategy discussions have come has been really cool to see.” At the end of the day, when the team came together to discuss their findings, all the mentors were amazed by the depth with which the Janksters discussed their mechanisms and strategies. Yashna Bansal, team admin and Class of 2017, reflected “It was very nice to see all the ideas come together, especially when those four groups put their mechanisms together.”

In just two days, Team 1967 has made amazing progress in building a robot for one of the most dynamic FRC challenges yet. What will FIRST Stronghold have in store for the Janksters? They may not know quite yet, but they’re enjoying every second of it.

2016 FRC Challenge!

Credit to FIRST
 This year’s competition, Stronghold, is played with two alliances of three robots. Both teams are on a Quest to breach their opponents’ defenses, as well as weaken and capture their opponents’ tower with boulders.

There are nine possible defenses, but only five are on the field per Alliance – these are referred to as the “Outer Works”. The low bar is constant throughout each match, but one other is chosen by the audience, and the three remaining are chosen by Alliances. A defense is only reduced when an opposing robot crosses it once, but after being crossed two times, the defense becomes damaged. When four out of the five defenses are damaged, these fortifications are “breached”, so the team that has crossed will be awarded extra points.

During autonomous (first 15 seconds), Alliances can accumulate points through moving to their opponents’ defenses, crossing it, or scoring boulders in their rival tower.

In Teleop (final 2 minutes and 15 seconds), Alliances accumulate points while defending their castle, obtaining as well as scoring boulders, and possibly capturing or scaling their opponents’ tower.

Each Alliance’s tower has a high and low goal, into which boulders will be shot into and if successful, will reduce the tower’s strength. When enough boulders have been scored, the tower can be captured during the last 20 seconds by the rival Alliance surrounding or scaling it.

For more information, take a look at this year’s game manual:

Here is this year’s game animation:



Young Women’s Engineering Symposium (YWES)

Credit to Tamara Kawa

This weekend, The Janksters were led by exceptional members, Anisha Patel (Class of 2016) and Kimberly Zhang (Class of 2016), in planning the annual Young Women’s Engineering Symposium, in which nine female engineers ran workshops with high school girls interested in engineering, empowering us as women involved in STEM. Through this event, we were able to reach out to students from all over the Bay Area, including 15 local FRC and FTC teams!

The following inspiring women were able to attend:

  • Shraddha Chaplot (Electrical Engineering at Cisco Systems)
  • Olga Rodriguez (Civil and Transportation Engineering at CH2M)
  • Juanita Sanchez (Structural Engineering at Jakaby Engineering)
  • Kathlyn Terrazas (Mechanical Engineerin at Space Systems Loral)
  • Liz Murphy (Computer Science at Savioke)
  • Alison Tse (Mechanical Engineering at Savioke)
  • Tessa (Robotics at Savioke)
  • Lesley Telford (Biomedical Engineering at Abbott Vascular)

The day started off with a short speech from Isis Anchalee, who started the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer, which promoters gender inclusiveness in the STEM field. Her words on gender equality were truly empowering to all, especially those who may be minorities in a male-dominated robotics team.

Then, all participants attended three different workshops, allowing each student to hear from and converse with the engineers in small groups about the fields she has the most interest in. After, everyone gathered for an open panel with the speakers, in which questions were taken from both the student leaders and the audience. The engineers were able to discuss a wide range of topics, including the importance of inclusiveness and perseverance in their fields.  Luckily, the YWES women were able to stay for a fun lunch with Team 1967 before leaving!

All in all, YWES was very successful, and we hope that each participant gained more knowledge and interest in the STEM field as well as the motivation to pursue it. It was inspiring to see how many young women are passionate about engineering, and we hope to inspire even more next year!

Isis Anchalee

Isis Anchalee

Structural Engineering

Structural Engineering








Open Panel

Open Panel

FLL at Intel

Credit to Tamara Kawa

The Janksters had a wonderful time this weekend helping children in FLL (FIRST Lego League) at Intel during their “Trash Trek” challenge.

Our members were happy to teach parents and FLL students about our 2015 FRC robot, Grace. They conversed with the Janksters about the various mechanisms and functions before driving the robot on their own.

We also held a concessions stand where we sold breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Our candy robots offered a fun treat to hungry persons during a long day of competition.

Additionally, Team 1967 made sure to incorporate all aspects of their team with our “Make a Button” station, where students and parents were able to design their own button with our guidance. Imagination was at its best, as individuals participated in a more artistic part of robotics and proudly wore their button throughout the competition.

Finally, the Janksters were delighted to showcase the October Projects that the rookies and veterans were given three weeks to build. The ping-pong ball shooter was very interactive and gave a sneak peek into the team work and thinking skills gained in a robotics team, hopefully encouraging FLL students to participate in FRC as well.

All in all, it was a very successful and stimulating weekend, leaving the Janksters excited to help again next year!

Credit to Tamara Kawa

Credit to Tamara Kawa

Credit to Tamara Kawa

Credit to Tamara Kawa

Interested in hearing more about this event from the point of view of our own members? Take a look at our Janky POV’s!

October Projects


It’s nearing that time of the year when new Janksters members choose their committees! To help them decide, our October Project this year divided the team into 6 different groups, including both rookies and veterans.

They were challenged by only having three weeks to build a machine that shot either a tennis ball, ping-pong ball, or hacky sack from a table to anywhere from four to eight feet away. The teams were given freedom with their projects, exposing themselves to and using various mechanisms, as well as power sources.

The Janksters were off to a good start by collectively brainstorming and analyzing the possible benefits and weaknesses of their ideas. Teams would then move on to prototyping, which would help them fully visualize their plans and fix any problems that they encountered along the way. These prototypes ended up becoming some groups’ final machines due to time constraints, an excellent reminder for the upcoming Build Season, but others built another shooter that amalgamated their previous experiences.

The final portion of the October Projects was an oral presentation in front of all Jankster members. In this, each group discussed their team and project name, the brainstorming and prototyping procedure, the build process, details about the mechanisms involved, challenges they faced, things that they learned, and finally, changes they would make if they were to do the project again.

Each team worked superbly with many unique approaches toward their problems. The October Project participants believe it was a very successful project that helped rookies through enforcing as well as teaching them new skills, solidifying their decision of which committee/s they would like to be in, and bonding them further with veterans. Through the October Project, students who had forgotten about the Build Season process or had never been through the stimulating six weeks before, were able to prepare both mentally and physically for the exciting game that is to come.






Interested in hearing more about this event from the point of view of our own members? Take a look at our Janky POV’s!

CalGames 2015



By Tamara Kawa, Class of 2016

On October 2-3, the Notre Dame Robotics Team attended CalGames, an annual off season competition held in the Bay Area. A replay of the 2015 FRC game, Recycle Rush, CalGames gave the Janksters an opportunity to improve their 2015 robot and relive their last season, while also introducing their newest members to the FIRST Robotics experience. The Janksters spent several weeks preparing for this event, repairing the robot’s mechanisms, programming new functions, and training the robot’s drivers until, finally, October 2 arrived. The Janksters could hardly wait to get back into action.

On Friday, Team 1967 arrived at Lynbrook High School and set up their pit alongside 35 other FRC teams, eager for the competition to begin. From Friday evening to Saturday afternoon, the Janksters competed against other teams to see who could stack the most gray totes and recycling containers in two minutes. The hours of robot repairs started to pay off; Emma Ryan, ‘18, noted that “It’s amazing how fixing some little things made the robot much better…our point average [was] way better than at some of our regionals.” By Saturday, Team 1967 had risen to 8th place – an all-time high for this season! – and progressed into playoffs. With Team 1868 (the Space Cookies) and Team 1072 (Harker Robotics) on their alliance, the Janksters blazed through the matches, making it to quarterfinals before being eliminated. Despite not winning, the Janksters couldn’t have been more proud of their robot and their hard work.

Then, the Janksters received a surprise – their mentor, Alvin Cheng, received recognition as “Volunteer of the Year”! One of the longest-standing mentors, Alvin is one of the team’s biggest supporters and motivators, and the students see him as a big brother. To all the students on Team 1967, Alvin is a hero who deserves recognition within the community. “Alvin getting this type of recognition is long overdue” said Tamara Kawa, ‘16, “because he’s been with our team almost since the beginning. Actually, he should get ‘Volunteer of the Decade,’ because that’s how long he’s been with us!”

By the end of the competition, everyone on Team 1967 had been able to try something new. Many of the returning students had taken on new responsibilities, such as drive team or teaching students. Nikita Jagdish, ‘18, tried drive team out, reflecting that “when I first joined robotics last year, I had no interest in joining, but now I’m proud of myself for trying it out.” The rookies, for their part, found themselves in an entirely new world, learning about game strategy, engineering and business, and how to dance the Cupid Shuffle. As Tani Pham, ‘19, said “I’m really tired, but it’s a good type of tired…I feel accomplished today.” No one left CalGames without a new story to tell, and the Janksters eagerly wait to see what the 2016 season has in store.


Spotlight Week


The Janksters had a great Spotlight Week this year at Notre Dame High School where, they highlighted the various aspects of Robotics. We threw different, fun events each day of the week before CalGames in order to get students excited about the upcoming competition and Grace’s progress.

On Monday, we set up in our school’s very own Pardini park to drive VEX robots and drew raffle prizes for Notre Dame’s Magazine Drive. The students and even teachers came to drive the robots and learn more about them. 

Tuesday was the day that the Janksters took the previous activity a step up by allowing others to drive the 2015 robot, Grace. This was a unique opportunity, since it would be perhaps the last time the school’s students would see Grace up close. 

On Thursday, we had a fun programming activity, in which students gathered around to watch teachers decorate cookies by following instructions/code given to them. Since the instructions were so vague, the teachers could put their own spin on it, allowing an hilarious lesson about the importance of being specific while programming our robots. 

Finally, Friday arrived! A fun pep rally was planned to end our spotlight week on exciting terms in which they were thrilled for the upcoming CalGames. The Janksters, followed by other energetic students in the school, danced along to music typically in our competitions such as Cupid Shuffle and Cha-cha slide. This event allowed us to give a short preview of the excitement in CalGames and talk to the students, educating them more about the competition. 

All in all, we had a blast during Spotlight Week and cannot wait till next year!

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