The Vikings showed up ready for battle. “The team is lucky to have mentors from companies in the area that donate their time and energy to help the kids learn and grow,” said Brian. “Along with Tableau, we have mentors from Boeing, GM Nameplate, and Amazon. Justin [Sonntag] is one that found us to help with programming the robot.”
Before heading to Houston, Justin caught up with Logan, the Tableau software engineer. “He caught me walking back from the gym and asked if I thought Tableau could help, so I said I’d try! It was after build season was over, and everyone was trying to figure out what was going on,” she explained.
Logan met with the high schoolers to teach Tableau, and students started brainstorming ways they could capture their robot specifications for analysis. “There was one student who came up with the best solution over the course of the weekend by connecting to Google Sheets,” she said, “So we used that as a jumping-off point.”
Once in Houston, the Vikings observed other teams competing, entered their observations into a Google Form, and established a live connection to Tableau so they could instantly visualize which teams complemented their own robot’s strengths and weaknesses. Brian reasoned that “Tableau made patterns easier to spot. For instance, we were weak in shooting and needed climbers, and by having a strategy for quickly comparing potential allies, we could choose the right partners.”
“One of the most interesting things to me throughout this process was that students were able to easily filter data to see only specific robots based on their capabilities. They messed with parameters to choose allies,” said Logan. “So even though I ramped them up on Tableau, the students ran with fundamental statistics principles, asking and answering their own questions.”