here comes the eclipse!

Monday, february 25, 2019

Horsepower 4991 was very excited to reveal to our family, friends and supporters our 2019 competition robot, Eclipse. Following our theme of naming our robots after famous race/warhorses, Eclipse is named after an 18th century thoroughbred racehorse who ran undefeated in 18 races. We hope the same is true for our robot as we compete at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional!

Thank you to Tyler and his team at Pittsburgh Technical College for putting this amazing video together.

A Surprise Special Visitor

Saturday, FEBRUARY 9, 2019

Today a very special visitor came to visit the Horsepower robotics team! Congressman Conor Lamb paid the team a visit this cold, Saturday morning. It was an honor to give Congressman Lamb a tour of the facility and to tell him about the inner workings of the team. Everyone was incredibly ecstatic to meet our Congressman and the team enjoyed watching him drive our 2017 robot, Silver Charm, and our 2018 robot, Flash. We would like to give Representative Lamb a massive thank you for coming and invitation to come back anytime.

-Sydney & Wyatt

Congressman Conor Lamb driving our robot


Monday, August 20, 2018

Horsepower met again on August 20th to work more on pit design, PACT, and vlogs. For the pit design we continued to finalize our initial design and worked on the inventor drawings.

We also gathered resources for the website for PACT. Political advocacy is becoming a main focus for our team.

Lastly, we worked on our Youtube account and started discussing the production of vlogs. We hope to start sharing more videos soon.


An Autodesk Inventor drawing of our pit design

The Inventor CAD for our pit design

More Than Robots

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My name is Lisa Radzanowski and I am a mentor for Horsepower Robotics. Let me make one thing clear; I am not an engineer. I am a preschool teacher at a local private school so my engineering knowledge is quite limited. I do however play an important role on the team as a non-engineering mentor.

As many of you know, FIRST is about more than robots. There are roles for everyone on the team, engineers and non-engineers alike. Recently, I have begun to take on a more involved role on the team, having been mainly a spectator since my daughter first joined the team six years ago. My increased involvement is partially due to the fact that I have three FIRST Lego League teams at my own school and also because I have come to realize how important non-engineering mentors are to the team.

The role I have come to take on since joining as a mentor is spearheading many of the non-engineering tasks for the team by facilitating student involvement in these often overlooked positions. Recently, we have started working on creating a comprehensive team business plan and handbook that will help us in working with sponsors and improving team responsibility and financial awareness. I was also able to help the team get in contact with a marketing professional with whom the team recently participated in a conference call and a graphic designer who will be attending a meeting in the near future to help with creation of a style guide and solidifying team identity.

This summer I, along with my husband, chaperoned a group of six students to the FIRST National Advocacy Conference in Washington D.C. Just this evening, I attended a meeting of the Chartiers Valley School Board in support of my son and another student who presented on their advocacy efforts, both in D.C. and their work towards similar efforts on the state-level. As our team begins to transition towards a team that focuses on more than just robots, taking on various types of outreach, the need for people with non-engineering backgrounds is more important than ever.

Over the past couple of months, I have come to learn that within the FIRST organization there truly is a job for everybody, mentors and students alike. If you have any interest at getting involved with the team and sharing your skill-set, please feel free to get in contact with us! New faces are always welcome!


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

On July 31st the members of the 4991 Horsepower Robotics team met to discuss plans on making a new and better pit area. Our goal is to make the area more comfortable for the members working the pits during competition. We looked into the FIRST rule book to be sure that our design conforms to the rules. After discussing our layout options we decided on an L-shape design. We figured that the L-shaped pit design will give us enough space and be able to accommodate the tools and supplies that we need during competition.



Monday, July 30th, 2018

On July 30, 2018 members of the Horsepower 4991 met to discuss current and future plans for the direction of the team. We reviewed what we learned from the FIRST National Advocacy Conference (NAC) that we attended in DC. We’re excited to be working with other teams in the area to coordinate more local advocacy efforts. We hope to share more of what we’ve been working on soon!

We also discussed our business plan and created a list of short term, long term, and individual goals for the team. We set budgetary goals and decided what expectations we have for members of Horsepower 4991. The finalized business plan will be up on the website when it is completed.

In addition to the business plan we began considering our team organization. We looked at project management software to possibly implement into the team’s structure. Designing our pit will be a test drive for the software so we can decide which to use.

We’re excited at the prospect of pre-season works, and getting started in summer is just one way we’re preparing for the upcoming season.


Horsepower 4991 with Don Bossi, President of FIRST, at the NAC

Notes from the meeting

New Year, New Game

Monday, January 8th, 2018

A new competition has been introduced! This year's competition is called POWER UP, and it has a retro video game theme.

Parents, students, and mentors came to the Chartiers Valley tech wing this Saturday to watch the kick-off video, which is aired live from the FIRST Twitch channel. You can view the full kickoff video here.

Immediately after watching the video, our team went to work, reading the manual and making sure we understood each part of the game. You can read the manual for yourself here.

In summary, the game is about using yellow boxes called Power Cubes to gain points on the field. The Power Cubes can be placed on one side of the Switch or the Scale to outweigh the opposing team, or they can be used to activate power-ups and gain a temporary advantage. At the end of the game, robots can climb onto a rung on the Scale to gain more points. A video explaining the game can be found here.

At our first official meeting today, we created a decision matrix to weigh the pros and cons of tackling each part of the game.

We've got a lot to do before our first competition. For now, its time to start planning and prototyping!


Waiting for kickoff

Sketching out some ideas

A decision matrix to determine our robot's focus