The First Robotics Competition 2023 season Charged Up has come to an end, and what a season it has been for us! From brainstorming crazy robot designs to having eventful and exciting competitions, our team has experienced and learned a lot from this game.
Game Reveal & Robot Design
Going into the season kickoff, we were all excited and “Charged Up”(pun intended) for the game. We all gathered around the big screen in our shop and saw the 2023 Game Reveal. After rewatching the video a bunch of times, we split up into groups to tackle different aspects of the game like Scoring, Field Zones, Game Pieces, and Rule Violations. Once we discussed all the different elements of the game and narrowed down certain aspects we wanted our robot to be good at, we began the brainstorming process. We split up into 3 groups to strategize and come up with possible designs for a specific subsystem (i.e. Intake, Outtake, Arm) on the robot. Our team used the Scrum Agile methodology for rapid progress (aka do fast, fail fast, learn fast). After many design iterations and prototypes, we decided on creating a catapult-like robot with a funnel that would allow us to drop game pieces directly into a bucket/intake. In a couple weeks, we CADded our robot and got all our parts machined and ready to be assembled. During the President’s Day weekend, we held a Build-a-Thon where we made a lot of progress in building, wiring, and programming our robot. As the date of our first competition was approaching, we fine-tuned our software and got some practice driving our robot.
Orange County Regional
FRC regional competitions are massive events where 50+ teams gather to compete against one another in fast-paced matches and show others what their robot is capable of. Teams first have to compete in a series of qualification matches where they are randomly assigned 2 alliance partners and have to go against another alliance of 3 teams. Based on how well a team does in each match, they are given a ranking. The top 8 teams move on to the alliance selection phase, where each of them chooses 2 teams to form an alliance with. The 8 alliances go head-to-head, and the winning alliance receives a coveted blue banner. Going into our first regional of the season, we didn’t know what to expect or how we’d perform, but all we knew was that we wanted that blue banner. We started off strong in our quals matches without losing a single one, and then eventually, we became ranked #1! We held on to the position and were even able to expand our lead! Going into the next phase of the competition, we got first pick in alliance selection (Watch video). We created an alliance with team 1538 The Holy Cows and team 4183 Bitbuckets. We went on to win our elimination matches up until semi-finals, where we barely lost to the opposing alliances. Even though we didn’t win, this regional was an exciting experience for us since for the first time in our team’s history, we placed first seed in an FRC regional.
San Diego Regional
Going into the San Diego Regional, we made major modifications to our robot, the key one being that we added an extending telescope to our catapult-like arm. This change in our design was crucial because it would give us the capability to score the high nodes on the scoring grid and gain more points. During the two weeks between our two regionals, we built and attached this new arm to the robot, and tuned the software a lot to accommodate for this change. We had lots of optimism for this regional due to our awesome performance at the OC regional, and couldn’t wait to compete. Going into the quals matches, our robot was performing well, but we didn’t do as well as we hoped to do, causing us to be ranked in the middle of the pack. We were selected by the number 8 alliance captain and moved on to the elimination matches, where we were defeated by the opposing alliances. During the Awards Ceremony however, we won the Creativity Award for our bucket intake that was fully 3d printed and had a unique design. This regional taught us many lessons and as we transition into the off-season, we’ll be improving our robot and learning new skills in preparation for next year’s game.