Time flies by when you have fun. Before you know it, your robot is finished. This year we sped up the process of building our robot, to make sure everything was ready in time for the first League Meet. This was something we wanted to improve, so we’d have enough time for other things like training the drivers and working on perfecting the autonomous. As usual we also have pictures of our robot:
We used the same mecanum wheels as previous year, solely for the reason they drive amazingly and we didn’t need any change. With these wheels we can move in any direction without pivoting. On top of that, the wheels have loads of grip on the playing field and lastly: they look good.
Because we can drive in every direction and turn 360 degrees, you can easily forget which side of the robot is the front. To tackle that problem, we added a gyroscope that thinks with us. When you ask the robot to drive forwards, it’ll always go to the side which is forwards for you as the driver. For example, the north always stays the front.
Besides driving, it might also be practical that the robot can do something on the playing field. And obviously, it can! On the back of our robot we installed a lift mechanism with a hook. With this lift mechanism, we can latch onto the lander and pull ourselves up or in reverse; tackle ourselves down. The intriguing looking mechanism placed in the middle of our robot, is the collection arm. The arm consists of three parts. On the end of the arm a little box is attached, with flexible tubes rotating in it. These tubes will scoop the minerals in, placing them inside the box. Now the second part of the arm comes into play: to reach the back of the crater and scoop the minerals, the arm has to extend. Our arm can extend to the farthest corner of the crater. After bringing the minerals into the box, the whole arm can tilt 90 degrees to reach the lander and empty the box.
This year, something new was added to the FIRST Tech Challenge: the Team Marker.
The Team Marker is a small object that the teams design themselves. In the beginning of the match, the Team Marker can be used to claim the depot and protect it. When a Team Marker lies in the depot, other robots are not allowed to steal minerals out of it. Our Team Marker is a self-designed and 3D-printed rocket. With a servo this rocket will be dropped onto the ground. (Instead of flying, sad rocket.)