Robotics News

November 25, 2017

Iron Reign Qualifies for Oklahoma State Championship!

We hope you've all had a great Thanksgiving break. Iron Reign, SEM's premiere robotics team kicked off their break with a competition in Oklahoma where they qualified for the Oklahoma State Championship to be held in February.
Iron Reign Nov 2017
Left to right, Janavi Chada, Charlotte Leakey, Austin Davis, Evan Daane (BTW), Akshay Jaity (photobomb), Tycho Virani,
Kenna Tanaka, Karina Lara, Abhi Bhattaru, Ethan Helfman

They were the Winning Alliance Captain team and won the 2nd Inspire Award and Control Award. Now they are turning their attention to the North Texas Region where they are the defending Regional Champions. Iron Reign and SEM Robotics now need your help as we seek to host our first Qualifying Tournament on December 16th.

Iron Reign (team 6832), The School of Science and Engineering and the Dallas ISD STEM Department are happy to announce that we are hosting a FIRST Tech Challenge qualifying tournament at our Townview campus December 16th. Between 28 and 32 North Texas robotics teams will compete for awards and a limited number of advancements to the Regional Championship to be held in February.

Calling All Volunteers
This is the first time our school has hosted an official qualifying tournament and we will need your help to make it an experience equal to SEM's standards. This is a full day event on Saturday, December 16. There are also options to help with setup Friday afternoon December 15. Please feel free to circulate this message to everyone in the SEM community who can contribute their time and expertise.
All the details on the day's events and how to volunteer are laid out here...

The PTSA will host the concession stand. We will sell a variety of snack foods in addition to a taco/salad/nacho bar. We would love to have your assistance with donations as well as your signing up to work a shift. Proceeds will go to the PTSA to fund our events/programs.

Please use this volunteer form to sign up to help with concessions:


February 25, 2017

SEM's team Iron Reign took 1st place at the FTC Robotics North Texas Regional Championship. They earned the Inspire Award, the top honor bestowed at the tournament.

Inspire Award - This judged award is given to the team that truly embodied the ‘challenge’ of the FTC program. The team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FTC team. This team is a top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor. The Inspire Award Winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism both on and off the playing field. This team is able to communicate their experiences, enthusiasm and knowledge to other teams, sponsors, their community, and the Judges. Working as a unit, this team will have demonstrated success in accomplishing the task of designing and building a robot. The winner of the Inspire Award at each tournament level has received an automatic invitation to the next tournament level. Once a team has won an Inspire Award at a Championship, they are no longer eligible to win the Inspire Award at additional championship tournaments they may attend. Similarly, once a team wins an Inspire Award at a Qualifying tournament or League Championship, they are no longer eligible to win the Inspire Award at subsequent Qualification tournaments or League Championships within the same region.

Their alliance also won their division in the robot game and was finalist alliance over all.

Iron Reign - Feb 25, 2017
Iron Reign members left to right are Ethan Helfman, Janavi Chada, Tycho Virani, Jayesh Sharma, Darshan Patel, Caitlin Rogers and Charlotte Leakey, with Evan Daane (from BTW) in repose. Added in: Max Virani, Omar Ramirez and Rohit Shankar.

Individually, SEM students Tycho Virani, Ethan Helfman, Austin Davis, Abhijit Bhattaru and Matthew Callahan were recognized as Dean's List semifinalists for the region and will be considered for finalist status.

The whole team has automatically advanced to both the UIL Robotics Texas State Championship and the 12 State South Super Regional Championship being held in Georgia. From there they'll have a chance to advance to the World Championship in late April. Also advancing is Iron Reign's alliance captain, RoboBison Amistad from Sunset High School.

Please visit our website  if you want to see what this competition looks like, or want to learn how to get started in robotics.

If you'd like to support Iron Reign's extended season, please use this form to donate....

TeamOn August 7, 2015 SEM robotics teams Iron Reign and Imperial Robotics inspired returning DISD students to think of themselves as budding engineers and scientists. At the Major's Back to School Fair and as guests of Dallas City of Learning, the team demonstrated their creations to Mayor Rawlings and hundreds of kids. Many students learned to operate the robots and learned about robotics opportunities available to them at all levels in Dallas ISD.

The team photo shows (left to right): Darshan Patel, Jayesh Sharma, Omar Ramirez, Max Virani, Tycho Virani and Nick Macabare.
Note: Nick, member of Imperial Robotics, joined later in the day and was not present during the Mayor's visit. The rest are Iron Reign members and were present with the Mayor.

Please view our photo gallery to view pics of the mayor, team members, young learners, full SEM banner and robots.

Iron Reign Robotics gives a talk on July 11, 2015.

Iron Reign consists of robotics competition teams in FLL and FTC. We've been competing since 2009 and some of us have been active in robotics for 10 years.

Intro to Gyros

by Caitlin, Tycho, Max, Omar, Jayesh and Darshan

Task: Share what we've learned about motion sensing

On July 11th we gave a talk for a classroom full of adult members of the Dallas Personal Robotics Group (DPRG) where we shared what we've learned and are still learning about motion sensors, particularly gyros. The talk took place at theDallas Makerspace. Our thanks to DPRG, Steve and Doug for hosting us and recording and editing the video. The presentation slides can be downloaded here. We hope this helps other FTC teams who are exploring the same subject.


We are fairly happy with how the presentation went. We made a few mistakes and omissions in our talk and could improve our delivery. We should probably have added one last slide of "dos and don'ts" to make it simpler for teams that are just starting with gyros, so we'll do that in a follow-up post.

Jayesh got a bit overly emphatic about the quality of the gyro in the 2nd gen Moto G. The truth is we don't have the Moto G, so this is not a first hand assessment. But if you Google the gyro on the Moto G you'll see stuff like this:

So it seems that using this phone with Google Cardboard leads to a very jerky experience that probably means difficulty using it on a robot. But it's also possible that the gyro is fine and it's the built-in sensor fusion with the accelerometers and magnetometers that is the problem. We are interested in feedback from other teams that have this phone to see what they think of its gyro. We know of at least one other team that is planning to test this phone's gyro.

We are also interested in feedback from other teams on which external gyro they plan to use. The easy choice is the hitechnic gyro that we've mostly used in the past. But the truth is that it is a very drifty gyro and there are probably better choices out there now. We are looking at a few ourselves and plan to post the results.

We estimate we've put about 90 person hours over 3 meets and a lot of homework into this presentation. And that doesn't count the time we've put into actually learning how to use gyros from sensing through to control. If we'd spent even half that time working on our FTC judging presentation last year we'd be in much better shape. We learned of some teams at the South Super Regional that spent much more time practising their presentations. We have to learn how to set aside time in the weeks leading up to competition when our focus has been only on the robot.

Frontiers of Flight Moon Day

July 17, 2015
SEM robotics team Iron Reign will demonstrate their robots at Frontiers of Flight Moon Day, celebrating the anniversary of the first Moon landing. Lots of fun and interesting exhibits, and even a series of lectures on the science of space exploration.

Please view our photo gallery to view pics of the event.

Learning Maker Faire

June 20, 2015
SEM Robotics Team Iron Reign demo'd our robots at the Dallas City of Learning Maker Faire at the Dallas Public Library last week. We had a lot of fun!

Please view our photo gallery to view pics of the event.

Learning Maker Faire

March 28, 2015
SEM Robotics team members (from FTC and FRC) representing at Fort Worth Science Museum Maker Fair event today! Matthew, David, and Tycho.

Please view our photo gallery to view pics of the event.

Mansfield, TX

January 24, 2015
Iron Reign is in Mansfield for the Ben Barber FTC Qualifier tournament today!
Results: First place alliance!!
Received the PTC Design Award for robot design! Congratulations team, you worked very hard for this.

Please view our photo gallery to view pics of the event.