Lots of successes for ADI teams this week as North Carolina and Israel both finish their championship events. We also have some record-breaking performances to boot!
Flying Platypi spent the weekend split in two, with many of the team's girls hosting the robotics portion of the Tech Savy camp back home at UNC Greensboro. They joined the rest of the team Saturday morning, where one student would wow the judges and earn the team the District Championship Engineering Inspiration award. After a difficult weekend, it was the team's last ticket to worlds. So for another year in a row the team will be advancing to Champs.
While Zebracorns didn't take home the District Championship Chairman's Award, they did sweep the competition despite difficulties late in the game. After squeaking into the CMP event, They came out on top with stellar performance, rising quickly and early to the number one ranked team at the event. They were the only team able to consistently score the extra ranking point for sinking 100+ fuel into the high efficiency boiler goal. They were de-throned by Team 4561 Terrorbytes to the second seed, only to be picked by them once eliminations came around. But the win would not be an easy one. Half-way through the elimination rounds, issues arose with their pre-shooter, the mechanism on their robot which gets the fuel up to speed before the final wheel guides the ball into the perfect arc based on vision system tracking. Stuck in the finals round without a functioning shooter, the team had to think quickly.
This is where FRC becomes more than just who can build the best robot. Sometimes strategy can be the difference between a win and a loss. The #1 alliance knew there was no way they could out-score their opponents, since they were easily capable of spinning up all 4 rotors. Without a third gear robot, they didn't stand a chance. After auto failed to get them the necessary head-start to get the 40kPa pressure threshold, Team 900 knew they had to shut down scoring on their opponents to win. So for two finals matches, they played defense, which proved fairly easy with their zippy swerve drive. Once the other two teams on their alliance got to 3 rotors, they all transitioned to defense, effectively shutting down their opponents scoring ability. And it worked. Twice.
I looked over to their alliance station and saw all three teams screaming, cheering, and crying. They had won, against all odds, and they were going to Worlds.
SteamPunk 1577 had a wild ride at the FIRST Israel District CMP event. Coming into the event ranked in the top 10, they struggled, finishing ranked 40th out of the 45 teams in attendance. However, they were the first pick for alliance captain 3211, and together with 3083 they started the journey to the top. After 3083 failed to catch their rope to climb in time, they lost their first quarterfinals match. But in the next match and the tiebreaker, the alliance managed to reach the critical 4th spinning rotor thanks to the ground gear pick-up mechanisms on the part of 3211 and 1577, earning them 100 bonus points and a solid win to advance to the semifinals.
The semis would not be so easy. Both alliances reached the 4 rotor mark with ease, but they got trapped in their opponent's retrieval zone, earning the red alliance 50 foul points in addition to the fuel bonus scored. The first match was a loss. Match 2 was a close call, nearly resulting in a tie. But when the pilot pulled up the last gear needed for the fourth rotor at the end of the match, their team's rope came up with it, resulting in a lost climb which would have tied the game.
Regardless of their performance, SteamPunk is still advancing to the World Championship on district rankings by a long shot, so we will see them at champs!
Team 254 had another amazing weekend with a win and a Dean's List Finalist Award already under their belt. And after this weekend, there isn't a shadow of a doubt that this team will make it to Einstein. The Cheesy Poofs fought through brutal defense to bring home another blue winners banner last weekend.
After seeding 1st once again, their first quarterfinals match was a tough battle. One robot on their opposing blue alliance wound up disabled half way through the match, and much like the Zebracorns did in NC, the blue alliance transitioned to defense, doing even so much as to try to pin 254 down to attempt to stop a climb. It was a dangerous spot for them to be in, as 3482 held them against their alliance station wall next to their own deployed rope. This is a huge foul hazard. One false move and the Poofs could have credited the blue alliance with a free touchpad. But they escaped, dashed across the field, and scaled their rope in a matter of seconds before the buzzer went. Their second matchup went with ease, setting the high score at the event of 507, with the fuel and rotor bonus points up on the board.
One of the things that makes 254 so quick at gear manipulation is the unique dual-use of their vision system light ring. It only illuminates for vision tracking when they are lining up to fire a barrage of fuel into the boiler. But when picking up gears, they use a sensor to detect the presence of a gear in their pick-up mechanism. The vision light rings are extremely bright, so can be easily seen from across the field. Once a gear is successfully locked into the mechanism, their vision ring flashes 3 times, signaling the driver to return to the airship.
Semifinals was no walk in the park either. In Semis 1 the Poofs were pushed into their opponent's retrieval zone while trying to get around their partner placing a gear, resulting in a tech foul and 25 points given to the opposing blue alliance. Not to be phased, the red alliance managed to spin up all four rotors and score the 40kPa bonus once again, beating their own high score with 509 points on the board.
The real excitement hit during finals though. This weekend the Cheesy Poofs set the world high score for eliminations, not including fouls, of 522 points. With all four rotors turning by the 40 second mark, 254 took time to lob more fuel into the high efficiency boiler, resulting in 54 fuel points overall. This score was only matched once in the New England Hartford event. Check out the full match video below!
Stormgears 5422 had their second event this weekend and had a huge showing. At the end of qualifications they were 10 and 6, becoming the 8th ranked team. They captained the 6th alliance together with teams 236 and 228, advancing all the way to the semifinals. Although they were knocked out there, they also took home the Engineering Inspiration award. This along with their district performance means they will take their robot to the NE CMP event as well as their awards presentation team to compete for Engineering Inspiration at the District CMP level. We might see this team at world's again this year!
This blog post is part of a series about the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition season, FIRST Steamworks. We'll have weekly updates during build season from ADI FRC Team 2665 Flying Platypi, and updates from many of our ADI teams performances during the competition season. Stay tuned until the end for coverage of BOTH Championships in Houston, TX and St. Louis, MO in April!