DARC News This Week

Week of October 12-October 16

This is a weekly newsletter documenting the progress of DARC Robotics through the 2015 BEST season.

Mall Day is this Sunday

DARC has driving spots at 2:00 and 2:30. The event is open to the public and is at Madison Square Mall.


MONDAY, OCT 12 6:30 Team

TUESDAY, OCT 13 6:30 Team

THURSDAY, OCT 15 6:30 Team

SATURDAY,OCT 16 10:00 Team


After kick-off, meetings are scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights at 6:30. Saturday at 10:00 and Sunday at 1:00.

DARC Students Starting Jr. GEMS Club!

Claire Crane (CEO) and Camille Elmore (Marketing Director) are helping Mrs. Haddock start a club for 3rd-5th grade girls at Francis Nungester Elementary School! The club is part of the national Jr. GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) initiative! The purpose of the club is to introduce young girls to STEM activities beyond the classroom. DARC is hoping to expand to several other elementary schools second semester with a goal of having a club in all the elementary schools by the fall of 2016. We look forward to blowing stuff up and taking stuff apart! No boys allowed!!

Congratulations to the following girls who were selected by their teachers:

Mariaol Esparza, Raniya Adair, Xitlaly Isidoro, Sydney Landon, Emonii Farrish, A'Shya Jones, Kaylee Lewis, Zamyra Goode, Mya Miller, Selena Lulei, Natalia Melchor, Karen Roque, Abbie McIntyre, Tatianna Okoye, Zaira Tabares, Alexa Sada, Thai Pointer, Amiyah Terry, Angelique Solis, Amera Reeves, Ryan Turner, Tyana Swan, Itzel Robles, and Silvia Vizcarra.

Come Have Dinner at the DARC Diner!

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REMINDER: Because of the popularity of the DARC Diner, the diner will close at 6:45 each night so that actual work can take place in the shop...

Pic of the 2015 BEST Field from Kick-Off

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Meeting Notes


We wish we could post pictures of the robot! Refinement continues and driver selection and practice has begun! We look forward to Mall Day, this Sunday 2:00 and 2:30 at Madison Square Mall!

Creative Design

SO MANY PROJECTS!! Since the booth is also a surprise, we can't post any public pictures yet. We are always painting or re-painting. Scrapbooking has begun as well as website updates.Not to mention the paper mache'...

Programming and CAD

So many programming projects...The programmers always look very busy..In addition to programming the robot, several advanced programmers are developing driver training aides and supporting projects for the marketing booth.

Pay Dirt 2015 Game Description

The BEST Inc. Mining Division has purchased a mine that contains several valuable resources in record-shattering concentrations - but there’s a problem: The mine is far too dangerous for humans. Consequently, the mine was decommissioned years ago and has since fallen into disrepair. Initial evaluations of the mine have revealed five lucrative materials at various depths beneath the surface: Coal, Iron, Aluminum, Copper, and Lithium.

BEST has released a request for proposal (RFP) to prototype a robotic system that can repair the mine and retrieve the valuable commodities below. Since the winning company will be awarded the contract of running the mine, BEST will be evaluating the companies themselves as well as the prototypes they create. Their project documentation (notebook), sales presentation (oral presentation), company exhibit (booth), as well as their company culture and business ethics (spirit and sportsmanship) will be considered.

Much like the real mining industry, success in the design competition will be determined by net profit and you will be in direct competition with your opponents. Also, the market values of the commodities will change over time, so you may have to adjust your priorities mid-contest. Good luck!

2.0 Objectives

Design and build a prototype robot to repair and operate an underground mine during a three minute match. A robot can score points by doing two things:

(a) Repairing the mine

(b) Extracting materials from the mine

2.1 Repairs

There are two repairs that can be completed. These include:

(a) Fixing the Filtration System

(b) Fixing the Broken Pipes

2.2 Mineable Materials

These are materials that can be extracted from the mine:

(a) Aggregate (limestone)

(b) Coal (coal)

(c) Magnetite (iron ore)

(d) Bauxite (aluminum ore)

(e) Chalcopyrite (copper ore)

(f) Spodumene (lithium crystals)

(g) Core samples

Items (b) through (f) are considered Commodities, and will be affected by the Market Shift.

3.0 Game Field Description

The field is made up of four quadrants called Shafts (red, green, yellow, blue) arranged in a square that is approximately 24’x24’. The Shafts are arranged radially, and are divided into four levels: the "Ground Level" and three "Sublevels."

Each team has their own Shaft, three Levels of which are off-limits to the other teams. Sublevel 3 is a part of all four Shafts, and all teams are allowed to access it. There are Tunnels between each of the Levels within a Shaft . The drivers and spotters will be outside the field in their respective areas.

3.1 Ground Level Details

Each Ground Level is located in the corner of the game field. The Ground Level is approximately 5’x8’ and contains the following components:

3.1 a) Robot Starting Box

The Robot Starting Box is a 2’x2’x2’ area marked on the ground by the outside edge of a tape border. Robots must be completely Contained in the RSB at the beginning of a match.

3.1 b) Commodity Scoring Bins

Five wooden bins are located next to each Robot Starting Box. Commodities must be Supported by their respective bin at the end of the match to count as scored.

Real world mining is an industry where a small fluctuation in the value of the commodities being mined has a huge impact. Mining requires a sizeable investment and in order to ensure that the return is profitable, companies have to pay extremely close attention to long-term market projections. If there is an overabundance of a certain commodity, the value will drop. Likewise, if a certain commodity is in short supply, it becomes more valuable.

The point value of each Commodity will start at the value specified in this document (e.g. coal is worth 5 points each), and will remain the same throughout all Seeding and Wildcard matches. It should be noted that Aggregate and Core Samples are not considered Commodities, and will not be affected by the Market Shift. The point value of the Commodities will be adjusted at the beginning of semi-finals, and the beginning of finals. The finals market shift is based on the semi-final matches only. These new values will be rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a point. The new values and the teams which are advancing to Semifinals and Finals will be announced at the same time. Teams that want more time to strategize for the semifinals or finals are encouraged to compute their own estimates of the Market Shift, or plan multiple contingencies.

The Market Shifts will be computed for each Commodity. "Over-mined" Commodities will drop in value proportionally to how much they were Over-mined. "Under-mined" Commodities will rise in value proportionally to how much they were Under-mined.


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Our elementary schools' robotics clubs need your help! If you have experience with Lego EV3 building and programming and would like volunteer hours (VERY important for members of Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, etc.), please contact Mrs. Haddock. Several are preparing for competition and have requested help.


DARC Symbiosis Video (Tennessee Valley BEST Competition)

This short video was filmed, produced, and edited by DARC alumnus Lily Elmore. She is a sophomore at Montevallo and attended the Tennessee Valley BEST Competition to support her former teammates. Thanks, Lily- we love it!
DARC Symbiosis 2014
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DARC at TVB Competition 2014

2015 Tennessee Valley BEST Competition

Saturday, Oct. 31st, 9am-4:30pm

6250 U.S. 31

Tanner, AL

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

2015 South's BEST Robotics Competition

Saturday, Dec. 5th, 8am

Auburn University, Auburn, AL, United States

Auburn, AL

NOTE: This is a Saturday- Sunday event and will be held in the OLD Coliseum at Auburn.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.