Kickoff Weekend Summary

Today we wrapped up our initial analysis of RAPID REACT℠ presented by The Boeing Company. For the majority of today we continued yesterday’s intentional absence of mechanism talk, however at the end of the day we started looking at some examples of past subsystems that may prove as a useful resource going forward. Like yesterday, all of our findings were published in our Worksheet.

The first goal of today’s meeting was to break the game down into all the specific capabilities of a potential robot. We broke up into the same 7 groups as yesterday and each group looked back through the game in order to create their own list. We then regrouped and combined them to one master list. This master list was then used for each group to make their own priority list using MoSCoW Prioritization. We regrouped again and spent a very extended period of time developing one team priority list.

MoSCoW Priority List

All items in the same grouping are unsorted, as it is difficult and often a waste of time to apply such a fine sort to a game that has so little testing and prototyping thus far. All items marked with an asterisk means that item is very loosely placed in that grouping as we expect prototyping to have an especially large role in the feasibility of it.

Must Have

Our robot will be doing these things: 

  • Drive, accelerate quickly, push robots in defense, Taxi 
    • Duh
  • Intaking 1 Cargo off ground at time 
    • Cargo will be most prevalent on the floor
  • Hold 2 Cargo 
    • Reduces cycle time per ball
  • Eject Cargo 
    • Dispensing Cargo from the robot in a very controlled manner, often would be used when accidentally having taking in an opposing Cargo
  • Scoring in Low Hub from fender 
    • We believe that the low goal is non-optional for us, due to its low risk nature in terms of reliability, shockingly competitive point value, ability to contribute most effectively to the Cargo RP, and it being more difficult to defend.
  • Score cargo in lower hub from tarmac 
    • This follows the same reasoning as scoring from the fender. In this case, the tarmac is primarily referring to about one robot distance away from the fender. This is to allow us the ability to score over another robot who is shorter than us who is occupying the space in front of the fender.
  • Climbing Mid Rung 
    • It is a relatively simple climber, especially since we have experience with it in 2020 and there being multiple COTS options for completing the task. Being able to do this both allows us to do a L2+L2+L1 Endgame for the RP, or be the L2 in an L3+L2 Endgame for the RP.
  • Climbing Low Rung 
    • It is more relevant to the discussion that all climbers should be capable of R1. Fitting 3 robots on one bar is a tall ask and 3 L2 climbers that cannot do L1 wouldn’t be able to get the RP.
  • 1 Cargo Auto
    • Super easy. Easy 2-4 Points. Contribute to Cargo RP.

Should Have

Additional goals that are within reach but not mandatory

  • 2 Cargo Auto 
    • 4-8 Extra points and contributes to a quintet potentially but unlikely without another 2 Cargo auto
  • Active Settler 
    • Being able to aggressively deal with the bouncy nature of the game piece will be important to reduce cycle time if either you or your alliance members are focusing on the high goal
  • Scoring in Upper Hub from Fender 
    • While the Lower Hub is definitely better for the RP when doing fender shots, in close matches and elims matches, assuming we can secure a high enough accuracy in our prototyping, we expect the Upper Hub to outscore the Lower Hub.
  • Scoring in Upper Hub from Tarmac 
    • Similar to reasons for Upper Hub Fender. This however does give us versatility i scoring over a robot that may be occupying the fender at the time.
  • Using vision for targeting 
    • When shooting from the tarmac this can prove useful. Also for odometry, it is heavily desired.
  • Go under Low Rung* 
    • approaching the Hangar from the front makes lining up much much easier. From early images, it is looking like the hangar is even more cramped than expected, so this may move up a tier.
  • Intake and Score on opposite sides*
    • Greatly beneficial for multi Cargo autos as you don’t have to turn around between intaking and shooting. Also potentially has smaller gains in tele-op for cycle time. This is flagged as highly likely to revisit as we do not know how much this may hinder other design aspects.

Could Have

Items that are options for additional add-ons if not already a desirable byproduct of an already incorporated design 

  • Automatically eject opposing Cargo 
    • Takes some effort off drive team for getting opposing cargo out of the robot
  • Ejecting into Terminal 
    • This will likely be a byproduct of another objective. However, we figure it has soe use as a backup ability of the robot if a major mechanism fails and we have to scramble to make a dumper.
  • Intake 2 Cargo off the ground at time 
    • Rare situation where two same alliance balls are right next to each other. Could be nice to deal with it if it happens, but it is unlikely to get use. Similar to intaking hatches off ground in 2019.
  • 3+ Cargo auto 
    • Not a primary priority however if we have the time, a 3 Cargo auto is hugely beneficial for getting a Quintet.
  • Climb High Rung* 
    • Valuable points wise. Makes it such that a team only has to climb to L2 with you for the RP. Likely to move either direction following prototyping.
  • Climb Traversal Rung* 
    • Very valuable points wise. Makes it such that a team only has to climb to L1 with you for the RP. Likely to move either direction following prototyping.
  • Get fed in auto 
    • (Take in balls from partner in auto and shoot them) Could be useful in niche situations where one partner has a conflicting auto with ours and our other partner either doesn’t score or potentially scores low.
  • Block shots 
    • Could be useful to have a fallback defensive ability to block shots of robots. Only effective way to defend a robot at launchpad.
  • Deliver to Terminal station in auto 
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  • Catch Cargo
    • Could occasionally be nice to catch cargo after its first bounce from the Upper Exit. Quite niche and could cause issues with accidentally catching before first bounce.

Won’t Have

Items that we will not intentionally design to be able to do 

  • Drive sideways 
  • Umbrella 
  • Intake Cargo from terminal 
    • Last resort. It only got 1 Cargo off the bat.
  • Shoot into Upper Hub from Launchpad 
    • Initially we thought this had the potential to be a viable scoring location. However, we soon realized that this is not a half field game and instead is a full field game. In this situation, this shooting location is only nearby to 1/4 of the field and still requires a large amount of precision to reliably make. Going to the Fender or Tarmac seems to make much more sense in most situations even ignoring the difficulty of the task.
  • Move on Rung 
    • A lot of effort for minimal gain in most situations. Wasn’t often worth it in 2020. Cannot imagine it being more worth it here.
  • Launcher targets independently from drive (turret) 
    • Likely is unnecessary complexity in a game where we aren’t shooting from every position and most of the cycle is spent in transit, acquiring Cargo or scoring near to the goal. The speed of lineup is likely moot for turning the robot vs turret here.
  • Shoot into Lower Hub from Launchpad 
  • Feed in auto 
    • We don’t expect this to be a needed situation enough to compromise any other designs to allow for it.
  • Keep away opposing Cargo 
    • (Intaking opposing Cargo and having a premade system to quickly send it far away to make the opponent’s cycle longer.) Similar to above, we don’t expect to use this enough to justify compromising any other subsystems. This doesn’t mean we may not do it manually, with our launcher, this just means it won’t be automated.
  • Score upper hub from anywhere
    • (This refers to anywhere not within the tarmac or launchpad) We view this as being way too complicated when in almost all launching years, most people will end up defaulting to a few preselected positions anyways. Also shooting from that range seems minimally useful because you have to reenter the chaos of the tarmac to get more Cargo.

*= likely to revisit later on after some prototyping


Justification for many of these can be found above.

  • Lower Hub is super strong in qualifications and elims. In tight quals matches and eliminations however we believe a reliable Upper Hub scorer will be stronger.
  • Scoring in either Hub is likely easiest against the fender.
  • Scoring in either Hub from the tarmac provides substantial flexibility in being able to score from behind defenders/scoring opponents/allied robots.
  • Being able to climb the Mid Rung doesn’t exempt you from having to be able to climb the Low Rung.
  • Being able to actively settle Cargo is extremely important, especially for those who plan to score in the Upper Hub.
  • Being able to go under the Low Rung makes aligning for a Mid Rung climb much easier.
  • Intaking and Scoring from opposite sides of the robot provides substantial gains in auto, however in tele-op, the gains are marginal in most cases.
  • The Terminal is not especially useful.

These conclusions and this priority list are going to change. As we develop our own prototypes alongside other Open Alliance teams, we will all but certainly move around items that were easier or harder than expected. As we further look at strategy we will also likely feel that some items on here are overrated or underrated in terms of point value. Sticking with a stationary priority list for too long is an effective way to build the wrong robot.

Moving into Week 1

We plan to hit the floor running in Week 1 with prototyping of primarily intakes, launchers, indexing methods, and climbing to the High/Traverse Rungs. We figure that climbing to the Mid Rung is similar enough to 2020, that we can hold off for a moment on prototyping that specifically for a bit. In order to start this process we broke out into groups and discussed factors and questions that would make an effective subsystem for this game. We also took a look at some past examples of these subsystems and thought about how they could be used going forward. Some notes on this discussion can be found below.



General questions/comments to consider when prototyping:

  • What’s a good motor and a good ratio?
  • How well does the ball center?
    • Vectored intake wheels / mecanum wheels
  • Should the intake be more rigid or more compliant?
    • material selection (plastics or aluminum), how its constructed
    • 1678 2014 – good compliant example
  • What type of wheels work best?
    • Soft wheels, harder wheels (colsons), treaded wheels

Some ideas/possibilities:

  • 2019 style – one set of rollers on the top
    • 6328 2019 offseason robot intake
    • Passive bar on the bottom
    • Compliant/sticky wheels
    • Zip Tie/surgical tubing stuff
    • Bumper cutout(?)
    • Pneumatic actuation
  • Ways to incorporate velcro?
  • Grabber-style intake
    • Goes over/around cargo
    • Hungry Hungry Hippo
  • Rubber polycord style intake
    • “CD7” intake
    • 4911 2020 at the beginning of the year
    • 5172 2020
    • 1678 2016
  • 2018-style intake with rollers on the side(?)


General questions/comments to consider when prototyping:

  • Does the launching mechanism work with the upper hub, the lower hub, or both?
  • How much does ball wear affect your specific mechanism’s shot?
  • Think of good camera placement
  • Mechanism robustness

Some ideas/possibilities:

  • Catapult:
    • How to hold 2 cargo?
    • Shoot 1 ball at a time(?)
    • Release angle
    • Catapult arm length
    • Pivot position length
    • Velocity of catapult
    • Pros: more consistently reliable/accurate
    • Cons: shoots slower than a flywheel
  • Flywheel:
    • Could have variable hood
    • Release angle
    • What amount of compression works best?
    • Which type of wheel works best?
      • Diameter (4”, 6”)
      • Soft/squishy, harder wheels
    • What hood material works best?
      • Foam, polycarbonate sheet, 3d printed part
    • Two wheeled flywheel or one wheeled flywheel?
    • Speed of flywheel
    • Inertia
      • Is the energy loss in-between shots large enough to warrant additional inertia wheels?
  • Linear-style shooter
    • Spring-loaded; belt powered/launched
    • 2014 teams
      • 118 2014



General questions/comments to consider when prototyping:

  • How prone are the cargo to jamming?
  • Should we “hold” the cargo somewhere and if so, where and how?

Some ideas/possibilities:

  • Hotdog rollers
    • 254 2017
  • Straight ballpath
    • Simple
    • Possibility of jamming
  • Looking back at our 2020 v-hopper
    • No centering required
      • Quicker pickup
    • 4414’s second iteration of hopper 2021

As always, any questions, comments, criticism, or suggestions are highly appreciated. We’ll have some prototyping content for y’all later this week.

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