Pneumatics. Such a funny word, yet such an essential part to nearly any robotic system. In this year’s competition, one can expect to see legions of robots covered in tubing, compressors, and regulators.

The basics of pneumatics kicks off with a pneumatic schematic. This document details the essential components, beginning with the compressor—compressing the air to be stored in special storage tanks. With an automatic and manual release valve, the pressure will never get higher than that set in the game rules. Following the storage of compressed air comes a set of regulators and blocks. The regulators decrease the pressure to the operating levels needed and the blocks distribute that pressure to the cylinders. These cylinders, with a little push and a shove from the compressed air, move essential components on the robot.

With the completion of our schematic, we went forth with the building of our pneumatic panel. Starting with compressor, mounted firmly on the base. The remaining pneumatics snake their way around the robot providing life to the mechanical Frankenstein.

Now comes the most impressive part! With two different pressures, we are able to operate six different onboard subsystems with fourteen separate cylinders. With such an abundance of pneumatics riding on board, an acuity to detail is crucial.

And with that, the pneumatic schematic session comes to an end. Only a week left to build, the pressure is building, and our robot is fighting for life.

-Jarod Smith

Showcase Night tomorrow 2/10

Excited to see the robot?! Come to our showcase night tomorrow 2/10 at West Fargo High School (801 9th St. E. West Fargo, ND) 5:00-7:00 pm.
The members and mentors of the team will be there with our robots and we’d love to have the opportunity to tell you about this year’s challenge Recycle Rush. During the evening we will give you a demonstration of our robots and show you around our facilities. Please RSVP to this event by emailing us at wfrobotics(at) or leave us a message on our Facebook page:
For more details, please see the Showcase Night Flyer

Robotics news: DARPA’s new tech lets robots learn from YouTube videos

DARPA robot
DARPA robot

A University of Maryland research team, funded by DARPA’s Mathematics of Sensing, Exploitation and Execution (MSEE) program, have developed a system that allowed their test robots to learn from a series of “how-to” cooking videos on YouTube. During testing, the robots were able to perform the tasks shown in the videos using the right utensils and with zero human input.

Source: Engadget