On Saturday, December 18th, Trial and Error Robotics participated in two league meet competitions hosted at Warren Central High School in our hometown of Vicksburg MS. These meets served as our first official in-person competitions since the start of the pandemic, as well as our first ranked competitions of the season. These meets also gave us our first experience with the new competitive organizational structure for the FTC league. The event itself included two back-to-back meets consisting of 5 matches each. We won one match in the earlier meet and two in the latter.
When we weren’t competing, we had the pleasure of interacting with some of our fellow teams including (but not limited to) #12390 The Robotic Raiders, #3486 Techno Warriors Advanced, and #16151 R U Serious.
This meet served as our first opportunity to test our robot’s design against other designs in the context of a competition. Here’s what some of our team members had to say about the decisions they made when designing the robot:
Shelby: “I was tasked with making the intake. The biggest challenge with designing the intake was making it so that it could pick up all 3 different scoring elements. We decided to utilize rubber tubing in order to be able to take in game elements of varying sizes. Thanks to the tubing, our intake acts like a vacuum, so we can afford to be a little less accurate controlling it. To help with unloading the shipping elements, our intake has a trap door built into the bottom so we can just drop it straight into the Shipping hub.”
Jaden: “My part of the robot is the limit switches. I was tasked with modeling mounts for the touch sensors that would be on the lift mechanism. The sensors are utilized in autonomous mode so that the robot will know when it has reached maximum lift position or if it can’t lower itself any further.”
At the competition team members also identified some issues with our robot’s design that our build team is currently working hard to fix. For instance, we discovered that our drivers had difficulties in maneuvering our drive-train over and around obstacles. As such, our build team has made the decision to switch from our current drive-train to a mecanum drive to allow for a greater fluidity of movement. Our intake system also has room for improvement before it reaches peak functionality. We were able to aid in the system’s functionality on-site at the competition by trimming the rubber fingers on our intake, improving functionality. Future plans for further improvement include reducing the number of fingers and swapping some fingers out to a stiffer material to grab game elements more effectively.
We’d like to thank Warren Central High School for hosting this meet and giving us the opportunity to meet and compete with other teams in our area.
If you or any youth you know have expressed interest in robotics we would love for you to join our team and work with us to learn and apply STEM knowledge. If you would be interested in joining, please contact our coach Cody Goss at the phone number (601) 618-4750