On Saturday, January 5th, Kickoff to the 2019 build season, the team went to Wolcott High School for the 2019, game reveal. It was hosted by Team Max #1071 who we have worked with closely since 2011. The game is called Destination: Deep Space. As expected new tasks were revealed in the game which involve picking up and delivering balls and discs to “rocketships.” The first 15 seconds of the game is called the “Sandstorm” period, teams can choose to have their robots run autonomous as in previous games or try to drive them through onboard vision systems while blinded to the field because they are blinded by the Sandstorm.
After the game reveal, we stayed and had lunch with Team Max and did some basic strategizing and analyzing of scores and general mechanics. Later we returned back to our workshop at AGR to create our priority list and read the rules further. We went through the different parts of the game and tried to strategize what’s most important and what to do when.
This years game field is also published with VR simulation. One of mentors with a VR headset allowed each of us to experience the field which was very accurate and helped us gain a further understanding of the game. Automation Direct provided the VR simulation to FIRST teams.
Initial Concepting, Designing, and Prototyping
We decided to spend more time studying the game and did basic prototyping of what our robot could do on Sunday. We were able to get our Kit of Parts yesterday with included game pieces. Today, we started working on what would be a section of the “cargo ship,” basically, we are making one of the ports so that we will be able to practice on that with our robot. We split our team up into separate groups because the first design concepts we wanted to work on were the cargo and hatch panel pickup systems: they tried to develop different ideas which we after shared in a presentation. Afterwards, we decided pros and cons for each and began thinking of an effective combination of the best things from each design.
The progression of our own hatch panel loading station started so that we would be able to practice once we have more of a functional robot. Additionally, we started making an air cylinder prototype that we will use to pick up hatch panels based off of some of the ideas from the group presentations. We have made several different prototypes to compare and find the best, simplest, most efficient design. We then undertook a four-sided lift concept prototype that will act as an elevator to lift the game pieces into place during a match.
During this first week, we have also been working hard on two very important awards: our Chairman’s award and Entrepreneurship award. The Chairman’s award is FIRST’s most prestigious award and is about how a team represents and embodies the spirit of FIRST and making an impact on the community. The entrepreneurship award exemplifies a team’s business plan and their financial budget.
The last two years in a row we were awarded with the Engineering Inspiration Award, which can also be known as the 2nd place Chairman’s Award. This year, we really strive to get 1st!