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 upload

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


2015 robot ROY G BIV

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)

2014 robot ChuckChuck (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

2013 robot Fling

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

2012 robot Shifty
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, 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