In the cold winter of 2007, the Discobots was established. It was a desolate time for us; we did not have the funds to begin our club and did not know where to start raising money. But nothing was going to stop us from achieving our dream of building a robot and learning more about engineering.
2008 FIRST Robotics Season
During the following months, Lamar scurried to find sponsorships so that we can register for the competition. Eventually, Lamar was able to get assistance from Houston Robotics to help with the fee for the Lone Star Regional Competition. With the funding issue behind us and with assistance from our mentors and teachers, the Discobots began our journey of exploring science and technology. Most of our sponsorship money went to the registration fee and members had to bring their own tools and materials to build the robot. But with hard work and diligence we were able to make a working robot and even won the website award and went to the final rounds of the FIRST Lone Star Regional Competition.
2009 FIRST Robotics Season
Who are the people wearing the shiny capes at the Lone Star Regional Competition and FIRST World Championship? They are team 2587, Discobots, of course! In 2008, not only were our capes shiny, but our team outshined many of our competitors as well. The Discobots beat out eighty teams to win the Regional Championship Award in Texas. We became the only team in Houston who participated in the FIRST World Championship. Of course, the honor we gained from this competition was due to a combination of our hard-working members, selfless mentors, and financial support from our sponsors. During the six-week building period, members worked an average of 6 hours per day for 6 days a week. While the team spent a tremendous amount of time on building robots, we did not neglect our studies. 100% of the Discobots alumni went to college and 90% of them majored in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics field. The team also grew in momentous ways, which included getting access to a technology classroom, gaining $24,000 in grants and fundraising and an increase in membership of over 50%. Additionally, in order to spread the word about FIRST, the Discobots established 2 FRC and 3 FLL teams. We shared our robotics knowledge with 5 FRC and 3 FLL teams and managed to build two websites: TXFIRST.org and MentorSearch.us which have thousands of unique visitors every year.
2010“More than one”
Even during the 2009 summer, DiscoBots did not take a brake. The team’s veterans were already thinking about ways to fundraise for the year’s competitions. Car washes were organized and plans to apply for grants and gain more sponsors were brainstormed. They kept working, demonstrating at various places such as Center Point Energy and schools, where HexBugs and shirts were sold.
The team started the 2009-2010 season with VEX Robotics as a lower cost introduction to robotics. The DiscoBots learned from last year’s mistake of making very similar VEX robots that ended up having the same problems. This year, the team divided into three separate greek letter teams (Alpha, Delta, Zeta). The sub-teams would make their own robots while focused on non-robotics technologies. For example, the Alpha team would focus on web design while Team Zeta focused on video and pictures. A third team was unexpectedly added in as Team Delta which focused on CAD design. Students joined according to what they were most interested in learning, web design or video editing. Friendly rivalry led to inside competition that challenged the members to have creative and original ideas. All three of the VEX robots qualified for wolrd championship with different VEX awards, including 2 Excellence Awards, Robot Skills Award, Autonomous Award, and Think Awards.
Before the FIRST 2010 season, DiscoBots also helped out at the 2009 Sally Ride Science Festival and FLL competition. As of now, the DiscoBots are busy with the FIRST 2010 season, diligently working on their new robots in the robotics classroom of Lamar. Check out their build season !
2011 was a great year for the DiscoBots. On the VEX frontier, we competed with six robots, Alpha, Delta, Sigma, Womega, Kappa, & Zeta. We also spawned a sister VEX team, 5678 Cloud. Our swarm of VEX robots won many regionals and took many awards along the way. Five of our six native DiscoBots and Cloud qualified for the 2011 VEX Robotics World Championship in Orlando, Florida. At worlds we competed with our three best robots, Alpha, Delta, & Zeta against over 400 teams from around the globe. All three robots did very well. Delta allied with two teams from puerto rico and took runner-up on the planet.
Our 2011 FIRST robot, the DiscoSlide, is our most advanced robot yet. We used a holonomic drivetrain and field centric control. Our autonomous was silky smooth due to our use of sonar, a gyroscope, and an accelerometer. The DiscoSlide was a quarter finalist at the Alamo Regional in San Antonio, TX, and a member of the runner up alliance at our home regional, The Lone Star Regional. At both regionals we won the control award, which is not an easy feat.
2012 Laser Dragon
This was our first year to attempt using a Laser Cutter to create more accurate parts. Our CAD designs started to resemble dragon wings. Therefore we decided this was the year of "Laser Dragon". Our VEX worlds robot was dubbed "mini-dragon" and we created our team shirt around that theme as well.