Week 1: MAR Hatboro-Horsham District
February 27 – March 1, 2015
We unveiled our new robot, Evil Machine 13.0 AKA Scorpion Stacker, at our first official competition of the 2015 season. As is typical at week one evens, teams were still making tweaks to their robots and figuring out the best way to play the year’s new game. For us, we had only just attached our robot’s can-lifting arm right before we had to bag it up at the end of build season and so we did not have any practice operating it. We quickly realized that since the arm was so long (nearly 6.5 feet), it created a large moment when fully extended and picking up a recycling container. Though it was a bit unwieldy, our drivers figured out how to acquire a can without tipping over. In our first qualification match, we managed to stack a full six stack with a container on top and another 3 stack of totes.
At the end of the qualification rounds we ranked 4th overall with an average qualification score of 65.67. Due to inter-picking within the top 8, we moved up to the 3rd seed. We selected teams 1218 and 708 to join our alliance. After losing our first match and coming back strong in the second, our overall average score of 52 was not high enough to advance us. We finished the event as quarterfinalists.
Week 4: MAR Seneca District
March 20 – March 22, 2015
In the three weeks following our first event, the team rallied hard to make improvements all around. First, the trailer the team uses to transport our supplies and robots to events received a makeover. Thanks to Agin Signs & Designs for doing an awesome job! Second, we used our 6 hours of unbag time to modify the pivot point of the robot’s arm. With a higher pivot point, the arm still had the same reach, but did not reach out as far when picking up a can from the floor.
Friday night we arrived at Seneca High School in the middle of a snow storm, but were able to unload the robot and get our pit area set up. The weather improved the next day and, though we had a few issues with tipping, so did our on-field performance from the last event. Being a week 4 event, many more teams had experience playing Recycle Rush and the competition was stiff. We ranked 17th with an average qualification score of 63.50. Our sister team, Team Mercury 1089 from Hightstown, NJ, seeded 4th and selected us as their first round pick. Team 423, Simple Machines from Wyncote, PA, rounded out our alliance. 1089 recognized our robot’s potential as a strong stacking robot to complement their capping-specialist robot. We removed the arm from the robot to focus on creating as many 5 stacks as possible for them to cap off with recycling cans for the multiplier bonus. Team 423 made additional stacks of 4 and 5. Our alliance was very strong and cleared out all of the totes from behind the player station multiple times. However, due do some strange electrical issues that appeared, our partner was unable to cap them all. The alliance made it to the semi-finals.
Additionally, our team was selected as the recipient of the Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox for our unique robot design!
Week 6: MAR North Brunswick District
April 2 – April 4, 2015
Two weeks later, we hosted a district event of our own! No stranger to hosting events since we host our off-season competition, Brunswick Eruption, every fall, we were prepared to both help run the event and compete our hardest. At the end of the qualification rounds, we seeded 8th overall with an average qualification score of 86.33.
We were the first pick of the third seed, Team 4285 – The Camo-bots from Honesdale, PA. We then selected Team 321 – the RoboLancers from Philadelphia to round out our alliance. The alliance made it to the semi-finals and just barely missed the cutoff to get into the finals by an average of less than 7 points.
We were delightfully surprised to win our second Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox of the season!
Week 7: Mid-Atlantic Robotics District Championship
in Bethlehem, PA, USA
April 8 – April 11, 2015
Our team’s performance at our first two district events qualified us to attend the Mid-Atlantic Robotics District Championship. The robot performed admirably, making many stacks of 5 and 6 totes with a recycling container on top, retrieving extra recycling containers from the center of the field, and capping other team’s stacks. The one piece missing from the puzzle was our qualification alliances receiving the co-op bonus points. Our qualification average score was 110.08 points and the co-op points were worth an additional 40 points per round (the first seeded team had an average of 156 points). We ranked 41st and were the first pick of the 8th seeded alliance, Team 4373 – RooBotics from Jenkintown, PA, and joined by Team 56 – ROBBE from Bound Brook, NJ. Our alliance finished as quarterfinalists, but we managed to earn enough points throughout the event to qualify for the FRC World Championship in St. Louis!
World Championship – Newton Division
St. Louis, MO
April 22 – April 25, 2015
This year was the first year of an expanded championship. 600 FRC teams attended and were split across eight divisions. Our team was placed in the Newton Division. Competing with and against the best teams in the world allowed us to put up some of our highest scores of the season. We finished qualification rounds ranked 26th with an average score of 134.70 points. Unfortunately we were not selected to play in the elimination rounds. Many of the top seeded teams were looking for robots that could quickly grab the recycling containers from the center of the field in autonomous mode. The team is proud of our accomplishments and continual improvements we made throughout the season, as well as winning two creativity awards! You can bet we’ll be working harder to improve and refine our processes for next season so we can make it back to the world championship!