FIRST Ny regional
March 16, 2010
Sorry it's taken me so long to update.
A little more on the robots:
This was our rookie year at the competition and it was definitely an experience. Team have 6 weeks after the game is announced to design, build, and program a robot to compete in whatever game is created. This year it was a version of soccer. Each alliance was composed of 3 teams, one in each of the 3 zones. Each zone was seperated by a bump and the two towers had tunnels through which robots could pass. Teams would then try to score balls into their own goals, and the team with the most points at the end would "win". The tournament was not based on elimnation, seeds were determined by which teams had the most points, after penalties and whatnot.
The website, in case anyone is interested in either mentoring or creating their own team, is USfirst.org. The competition we entered was the First robotcs challenge, or the FRC. They also have another smaller competition know as the FTC in addition to a lego competition.
We were supplied with a stock chassis kit which we then had to assemble. Unfortunately the budget required for this competition is quite large, and in the end our team probably had a $12,000 budget including registration and materials. I thought this was a little overkill, and looking at our robot i feel like that sort of money could have easily created something much better, but that's just my opinion. Since we had no tools and were limited to our schools tiny tiny computer lab (we had about a 10x15 space to work in for the first 4 weeks) we really had a lot of trouble building the robot. Bronx sci (another high school with two teams) were kind enough to let us use their workshop until we were able to secure funding and buy some tools. We definitely owe them a lot. Luckily we had a week of break right before the competition started and we were able to come into school from around 9am to 6pm which is when we pretty much finalized the robot.
As for the robot itself, all of the electrical components are designed around national instrument's CRIO (found here if anyone wants the exact specs: http://www.ni.com/compactrio/ ) We used jaguar motor drivers to power 4 CIM motors. Our robot also had a compressor to power pneumatic cylinders which we originally had on our robot to power the kicker. That is probably about as complex as the robot got which doesn't really say much. We used a wireless gaming adapter linked to the wireless network the field had to drive our robot around. The control station we had consisted of 2 joysticks hooked up to a mini pc. The diversity found in the other veteran teams however, was quite amazing. Some teams used meccanum wheels, or crab drive and had really, quite amazing robots.
I've also attached a few of my favorites, in case anyone wanted to see what other robots were capable of.
Overall i'd have to say the competition was amazing. This competition focused primarily on the actual build of the robot and less on the programming and electronics (which i found slightly disappointing). FIRST definitely made it easy enough for almost anyone to understand and build a simple robot with the ability to drive around. If anyone has any questions or comments i would love to hear them. More pics coming soon!