Stacie Hritz National Finalist in NACAA's Search for Excellence in Remote Sensing and Precision Agriculture

The Search for Excellence in Remote Sensing and Precision Agriculture is an award that that recognizes an NACAA member who has developed and carried out an outstanding extension educational program in utilizing remote sensing and/or precision agricultural techniques.

Jesse Clark, Southern Region vice chair of Search for Excellence(left), Stacie Hritz (middle), and Henry Dorough 2012 Vice President of NACAA (right).

Jesse Clark, Southern Region vice chair of Search for Excellence(left), Stacie Hritz (middle), and Henry Dorough 2012 Vice President of NACAA (right).

At the end of 2011, the Centre County 4-H program decided to pilot a FIRST robotics program with 24 youth ages 12-18. During the course of the past five months, the team has built, programmed, raised funds for, and marketed a fully functional robot to compete at the 2012 FIRST robotics competition in Pittsburgh, PA. The robot works off of a wireless connection where team members had to program it to function during a fully autonomous mode as well as a period where it was controlled wirelessly with only joysticks. The task that the robot had to complete was to play a basketball game referred to as Rebound Rumble. At the competition, the Centre County 4-H team finished 1st of 11 rookie teams and 9th out of 45 teams total.  The robot that the members created uses a 4 wheel drive with mecanum wheels. These wheels allow the robot to move in any lateral direction as well as spinning clockwise or counterclockwise. Each wheel is driven by a CIM motor controlled by a Jaguar speed controller. We programmed our robot using National Instrument’s LabVIEW programming language. The visual nature of the language and the multitude of great examples allowed our rookie programmers to quickly put together useful code.  We tailored the Dashboard to display the current states of the State Machines, the gyro angle, and our limit switches. Each function was placed in a separate sub-VI running in parallel with the main programming loop. The main loop receives the joystick inputs, distributes the signals to the appropriate loop, and controls the 4-wheel drive mecanum wheels. We also created a State Machine that utilizes the gyro angle to be able to balance our robot during the end of the competition on a bridge so that we could score additional points.