Our Robots...

Spark (2017 - 2018 Power Up)

Goal: create a robust robot that is laser-focused on scoring floor-level cubes: from the portal to the opponent’s switch, from the pyramid to the exchange.
Competitive Advantage: quickly secures both switches so our alliance partners can concentrate on scale scoring.
Significant Challenges: packaging multiple systems into smallest footprint that fits below the height of the portal, managing matches where our partners cannot socre on the scale
Inspiration: tiny robots from SteamWorks that could complete one task more quickly than their multi-function counterparts.
Configuration: conveyor pivots upwards from drive base to allow gripper to place cubes from the floor into the switch.
Result: scored thirteen total cubes in one match (combined switch and exchange).
Feature list:
Powered conveyor deck allowing cubes from the portal to pass through the robot on the way to the opponent’s switch – no turning around leads to lightning-fast cycle times.
Servo-driven tail gate spans the bumper gap for portal loading and then tilts up to prevent the cube from falling out during impacts from defenders.
Intake wheel geometry sucks cubes into frame perimeter, securing them for transport to the switch or exchange.  Intake resides within frame perimeter at other times to protect form collisions.
Tube-in-tube bumper brackets provide easy attachment of climber module.
Our first implementation of west coast drive allows easy servicing of worn wheels.
Reliable two-cube-in-switch autonomous creates a head start for near switch control.


Pepper (2016-2017 STEAMWORKS)

Goal: create a multi-purpose robot capable of scoring gears, scoring in the high efficiency boiler and climbing onto the airship.
Competitive Advantage: adaptable to different styles of play – from cycling gears to popping in a few fuel to break a tie.
Significant Challenges: packing all systems into the volume restrictions including five systems just for fuel (pick up, elevator, sorter, indexer, and shooter).
Inspiration: 2012 robot Shifty’s elevator for collecting and raising fuel.
Configuration: hopper pivots upwards from drive base to allow full access to electronics.
Result: climbed successfully in more than 90% of matches, scored a side goal and ten fuel in the same autonomous.
Feature list:
Two-Slot shooter (with PID control) allowing fast multi-fuel shooting.
Actuated gear catch fills the bumper gap between gear feeder ramp and robot.
Pneumatic gear ejector to push the gear straight onto the peg.
Two-Speed 4-CIM drive for fast cycling and pushing power.
Self-Sorting fuel slots prevent bridging without additional actuators.
Ten autonomous modes for everything from shooting fuel to scoring gears to travelling the full length of the field.
References against the field wall for short range, high accuracy shooting.
Climber located at ground level for a smooth and controlled climb.

Skittles (2015 - 2016 STRONGHOLD)

Goal: create a low bar capable, multi-defense defeating, high goal shooting robot capable of scoring 21 solo points per match.
Competitive advantage: fast cycler able to traverse four classes of defenses to secure breach points, and contributes boulders to weaken tower.
Significant challenges: fitting all mechanisms under low bar height, camera vision system to identify high goal targets, drive trainable to traverse all defenses.
Inspiration: wide intake from 2014 robot Chuck.
Configuration: scorpion-themed rear intake with forward shooting system with height under 14.5″
Result: solo breach defences, or contribute six boulders to tower points equivalent to 80 points
Feature list:
A dual-wheeled shooter with RPM feedback and PID matching of wheel speed
Wide intake allows for capturing boulders without precise alignment
Automated shooting using camera-based vision targeting system to set left/right position and release angle of the boulder
Eight pneumatic wheels chain-driven through two-speed shifting gearbox
Robust design that can withstand the torture of field defenses
All systems packed into a 14.5″ height limitation imposed by the Low Bar defense
Capable of shooting in both the high and low goals
Multiple autonomous modes – cross defense, aim, and shoot high goal
Custom drive base and other systems fabricated and assembled with simple tools
Multi-purpose intake that allows for boulders to retain when crossing defenses, transferred to shooter, and activate Cheval de Frise and Portcullis

ROY G BIV (2014 - 2015 RECYCLE RUSH)

Goal: create a “HP-fed stacker” class robot capable of stacking and scoring three totes in 60 seconds
Competitive advantage: optimizes utilization of the game’s most restrictive resource (human player chute) by allowing almost constant introduction of totes through chute door, creating a buffer stack of totes on opposite side of wall
Significant challenges: fit three robots into transportation configuration, unobtrusive tether, how does a stationary robot contribute during autonomous?
Inspiration: material handling industry up-stackers
Configuration: three-part tethered robot to take advantage of relaxation of robot size constraint
Result: by the end of season to be able to score two capped (recycling container and litter noodle) six-stacks plus eight individual totes for a total of 100 points per match
Feature list:
ROY scored stacks of totes on scoring platform, captured upright recycling containers to add to BIV’s tote stacks
G guided and positioned totes exiting the chute for consistent positioning
BIV created stacks above G in preparation for ROY to take away and score
Four wheel belt drive – 2 omnis at rear and two frictions at front
Potentiometer for multiple preset push-of-a-button heights
PID control with potentiometer feedback maintains elevator position until next command
Combines three-high stacks to make six-high
ROY’s carriage and hoist duplicated on BIV for common spare parts
Simple controls – total of six motors (four of them on drive train)
Tote-on-a-rope for three-tote autonomous stacking – not used in competition (yet)

Chuck (2013 - 2014 AERIAL ASSIST)

Goal: create a highly accurate “finisher” class shooter capable of scoring one exercise ball in autonomous and three cycles in tele-op, total solo capability of 42 points per match
Competitive advantage: prioritized drive base, then ball acquisition, and then launcher.  Identified non-defend-able sweet spot on the field for low risk, highly repeatable shooting.
Significant challenges: finding a sufficient power source for catapult (multiple passes of spearfish gun tubing), premature wear of catapult shifting mechanism
Inspiration: 2011 FRC robots (advantages of catapult vs. wheeled shooter)
Configuration: 6WD drop center wide configuration, intake opposite release
Result: 28 for 28 two-ball auto at Champs, solo capability of 75 points
Feature list:
Simple controls – total of six motors (four of them on drive train)
LED stips provide status to human player (when robot is stationary and ready to load)
Calibration jig allowed tuning of high goal shot before matches
“autosonic ultratonomous” goalie pole added for autonomous use in off-season events

Fling (2012 - 2013 ULTIMATE ASCENT)

Goal: create a nimble “sniper”class frisbee shooter capable of scoring nine discs and low hanging, capable of scoring three discs in mid-goal per match
Competitive advantage: prioritized drive base, then disc acquisition, and then shooter.  Calibration jig allowed tuning of high goal shot prior to matches.
Significant challenges: packaging of wheeled shooter within frame perimeter
Inspiration: FLL (use of field elements to localize/orient robot)
Configuration: 6WD, low enough to pass below pyramid bottom rung
Result: repeatable three-disc autonomous, highly accurate four or five cycle tele-op, fast low bar hang, solo capability of 88 points per match
Feature list:
Simple controls – total of five motors (four of them on drive train)
Passive extension on shooter deck spans bumper gap between shooter deck and loading wall slot
Climbing hooks used in tele-op to register on pyramid before shooting (confirmed by camera view on driver station)
PID control of shooter rpm using hall effect sensor
Optional “trans-foamer” added prior to match to defend full court shooters

Shifty (2011 - 2012 REBOUND RUMBLE)

Goal: create a solid “support” class robot capable of acquiring foam basketballs for partner or own use
Competitive advantage: prioritized drive base, then ball acquisition, then bridge manipulator, and then shooter
Significant challenges: rookie learning curve, mongoose bridge actuator susceptible to damage, temptation to replace passer with shooter in last days of build resulted in raised centre of gravity and inconsistent gameplay
Inspiration: robots on www.thebluealliance.com, experience of our macMentors
Configuration: 6WD skid steer KoP drive base in wide configuration to maximize ball acquisition and minimize bridge balancing footprint
Result: shooter capable of scoring low goal (occasionally)
Feature list:
 21” wide ball intake minimized need for accurate driving
Able to feed alliance partners during autonomous
Added bridge balance control software by the end of our one and only Regional