The 2018-2019 season was our second year competing in FTC! We went to two qualifiers and a scrimmage, winning the Inspire Award at our second qualifier and qualifying for States. We learned a lot about FTC, robotics in general, and what we wanted to bring with to the 2019-2020 season!
The competition theme for the 2018-2019 season was Rover Ruckus. To score points, our robot had to latch and land, collect gold and silver minerals, deposit minerals into a depot, sort and deposit minerals into a lander, park in a crater, and/or latch onto a lander.
Watch this video to learn more about Rover Ruckus:
We spent the first part of our season focusing on perfecting a consistent latching and landing mechanism, and throughout the season, we worked on improving our mineral intake strategy.
Below are four iterations our robot went through.
This was our first year as a team with members that did not have previous experience in robotics and as such, it was a big learning year for us! We had a very iterative design process and went through numerous trials. We had difficulty deciding between continual passive intake or a more active mechanism that required increased driver precision. Through this process, we gained experience with working with worm gears and gear ratios to get latch arm working. Although we were unable to conclude with a mechanism that satisfied us fully, we ultimately learned a lot about brainstorming and designing as a team.
We also made strides to move away from a more time-based approach to autonomous to a more distance-based autonomous with sensors and motor encoders. Part of this included working with computer vision to sample minerals during autonomous. We gained a lot of knowledge in using these techniques that we will be sure to implement next season!
We also learned a lot about other aspects of FTC, such as team communication and outreach.
Last year, we implemented team organization strategies with the Discord chat client and with the collaborative organization website Freedcamp. With these new methods of team communication, we learned the value of having a dedicated space to discuss robotics.
Regarding outreach, we hadn’t done as much outreach as we did in our first year. In this, we learned how beneficial outreach is to the team. We realized how helpful it had been to work with other FTC teams and to learn from and talk to them. We set a goal to do more outreach events in the future, with the specific goal in mind to reach out to peers and younger kids to excite them about robotics! We worked towards this by conducting a demo day for kids at our school and hope to bring this goal into the next season.