The BeginningThe Lamar Robotics team was formed in the winter of 2007 with help from Houston Robotics and mentors from Rice University and Texas Instruments. For three years, students and teachers at Lamar rallied together to form the beginnings of a Robotics team. However, Lamar had difficulty raising the funds for registration. Lamar was rejected from the NASA Grant and put in a state of confusion because the robotics team needed funds to exist. During the following month, Lamar scurried to find another set of funds for registration. Eventually, Lamar found assistance from Houston Robotics to help with the registration funds for the Lone Star Regional. In December of 2007, Lamar had the first official Robotics meeting to recruit members.
2008 - Rookie YearAfter receiving the number 2587, the robotics club picked the name the "DiscoBots" to make the team more memorable. The DiscoBots is something easier to remember than a number. Also, it allowed the team to have a cool theme for the website. Then, the team focused on building a robot for FIRST Overdrive. The team relied heavily on email communication from the Google Groups page to stay in touch and announce when meetings were. The team started working in the physics class room. After a hard six weeks of late nights and weekends, the robotics team completed their robot, affectionately named Af Robot. It weighed 100 pounds, and had the dimensions of 34"x26"x60". It could pick up the yoga-sized ball with its arms, and had a lift that reached 8 feet tall at full extension. This was very useful for getting the ball out of, and knocking the ball down from the overpass. The robot could also go around the track in a timely manner, so it could rack up points by doing laps around the track.
In the end, the competition went fairly well for the DiscoBots. They won the Website award and the Judge's award along with getting to the semi-finals at Lone Star Regional, the furthest any rookie (1st year) team went at the regional. They were also featured in the West University News paper. The regional was an exciting time for everyone on the team.
2009 - The "Disco Ball" yearThis year, they hit the ground running. After the Lone Star Regional, they kept on working with Af Robot by demonstrating it at various places such as NASA's Yuri's night, Chick-Fil-As, schools, and car washes. Also, the team was kept busy by filling out grants, selling HexBugs, shirts, and doing car washes. They raised enough money to continue in their robotics endeavors. They also agreed on the sub theme for the year. 2009 was going to be the "disco ball" year. This means that the website's, shirts', and robot's design would have disco balls as opposed to records, differently lighted floors, leisure suits, etc. that are associated with disco.
To train their new members, the DiscoBots wanted to participate in a smaller scale, robotics competition. VEX was the right competition for the team because it was one of the cheaper competitions, had a lot of similarities with FIRST's structure, and the regional was in the fall. But, there was not currently a regional in Texas. So, the team took on the task of making the first VEX regional in Texas. Fourteen teams from Texas and Mexico, plus the two teams from the DiscoBots, made up the competition for the regional. The veteran members, and mentors of the team planned, and volunteered at the regional, while the new members focused on designing, building, and programming the robots. At the regional, A team, in alliance with Team Kaos 1429, won the finals, and won the autonomous challenge. With this, the veteran members knew that everyone was ready to build some major robots, like the ones needed for FIRST.
Before the FIRST 2009 season started, the team worked on their President's Circle submission. They brainstormed for a couple of meetings, and then on one Saturday, they filmed and edited it. At FIRST's kickoff, it was announced that their submission was one of two finalists out of 53 submissions. As of now, the DiscoBots are happily working on their new robot for the 2009 season in the architecture room. See how their build season progressed.