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Pre-Season and Week 1

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

As we begin a new Robotics season, we wanted to share an update on Team 6962’s activities from the last season. As we all know, this past year has presented all sorts of interesting challenges for all of us. FRC was no different, and we had to spend the entire last season online. For the entire season, we worked together to design our own FRC game and improve the previous year’s robot. RobotX is proud to announce our game idea, FIRST Responders, won us an imagery award for the excellent animation! You can view our submission package here.

This year, luckily, we can work together in person. We’re excited to kickstart our season with the original type of challenge FRC presents. In the past few months, FIRST released a few teaser videos to get us excited about the season, which you can watch here: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3.

We’ve also hosted a few fun workshops to help our members understand the different needs of running a team! These include the CAD workshop, run by Simon and Peter; the Design workshop, hosted by Sylvan and Vivek; the Coding workshop, run by Robert and Amartya; and finally the Marketing and Business workshop, run by Nunu and Sita.

We had a great start to our fifth season competing in FRC on Kickoff Day! We were introduced to the challenges in this year’s 2022 FRC challenge. The first objective is launching balls into the two connected hoops, the lower hub and the upper hub, at the center of the field. The second is the hangar, a series of ascending rungs that the robot must hang on to, something akin to monkey bars. Excited and energized, we split into groups to start brainstorming mechanisms: intake, led by Megan, our Design & Prototyping Lead; output, led by Sylvan; hang design, led by Vivek; and finally, strategy, led by Sophia, our Build & Testing Lead.

Some of the ideas the intake design group came up with included a giant vacuum, which sucks up balls and stores them until they are ready to shoot; a garbage truck, a contraption that picks up balls and launches them from the back of the robot; and a tennis ball collector, a large cage that is attached to a stick that the robot can use to pick up the balls.

Intake Image

In the output group, we brainstormed different ideas for launching the balls into the hubs, like a tennis racket, revolver, or coil gun.

The third subgroup was hang design. In this group, some of the ideas were the “Chopstick Bot,” a wheel with two rods connected to the robot that will be pushed forward by a spring; and the “Elevator Ramp,” a combination of a winch and conveyor belt mechanisms.

Hang Image

The strategy team looked at the different point values for each task in this year’s game. We focused on whether it was more efficient to aim for the lower or the upper hubs. We also used graphing calculators to model the trajectories of different types of output mechanisms.

While most of the team was brainstorming in these groups, Pooja, our Operations Lead, and a few other students got to work on the timeline for this season. We made a list of tasks and set deadlines for each one. This timeline will make sure we finish our robot on time and don’t have to do any big things last-minute.

In the marketing subteam, we made a lot of progress on updating and revising the sponsor packet. We also had productive discussions about other outreach opportunities and sponsorship ideas. Soren, our web development manager, is in the midst of updating the team’s website.

The CAD subteam, led by Simon, has been working tirelessly as well. Many of its members have been working on practicing CAD and integrating robot parts, such as a model of the Toughbox in a model of the chassis.

A small group of team members, led by Inventory Manager Alisha, looked through the Kit of Parts, given to us by FRC on Kickoff day, and as she described it, “made sure everything was accounted for” and then began “organizing and listing down all the parts we currently have so we can figure out what we need to buy.” It’s been a bit of a challenge so far with all the different materials and tools, but they’re working hard!

Our team has a long way to competition, but we have a clear path ahead of us!