Our Past Seasons
The 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition was Ultimate Ascension. The objective of the game was to score points by shooting flying discs through different gates, set at different heights. At the end of the match, teams could score more points by scaling a tower on their side of the field. This was our first year involved in the FIRST Robotics Competition, and we ended up winning the Rookie Inspiration Award. Our plan of attack this year was to focus on getting the flying discs through the highest gate and to score most of our points in autonomous mode. We had no way of scaling the tower at the end, but since it was our first year we wanted to keep the robot as simple as possible. This year was very special not only because it was our first year, but because it was the first time we had won an award and the first year we had a program that truly enriched our learning experience outside of school.
The game for the 2014 season was Aerial Assist. We were challenged to build a robot that was capable of launching an exercise ball two feet in diameter into the goals. More points were granted for assisting the other robots on the team and there were bonus points for hurling the ball into a lit up goal. Our strategy for this game was to pick up and throw balls into the goals. At the beginning of the match there was a ten second autonomous period in which all normal point values are higher and during this time our robot was able move forward and launch the provided ball into the goal. This was our second competition so we were more prepared and knew what to expect; this is showed in our results. Although we did not win any awards we managed to do better than the last year. We were very satisfied with the outcome of the competition and were all very proud of our success.
Recycle Rush was the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition Game. The goal of the game was to stack totes in order to score points, in addition to this, teams could also place recycling containers with pool noodles in them in order to score more points. This year we wanted to be able to do it all in order to maximize our points. Our robot was able to stack five totes as well as put a recycling container on top and with the help of a human player we could achieve a full stack by having them place a pool noddle through top of the container. This was also the year our team MVP, Kevin Hatton, won the Dean's List award. We placed 13th overall after qualifying rounds, but unfortunately didn't get to participate in playoffs.
In 2016's Stronghold we worked together against other teams trying to cross rough terrain, lift heavy gates, climb ramps, hurl boulders and even scale towers. Each side had a line of five defenses; there are over ten thousand combinations possible, so we had to be ready for anything. To earn points through defenses, your team must weaken then destroy the defenses. To destroy a defense, it must be crossed twice and once four out of the five defenses are destroyed the alliances outer works are considered breached causing that team to earns points. Once a robot is passed at least one defense and on the opposing side, another way to earn points is shooting boulders (more points) or pushing them into lower goals in the tower (less points) to weaken it. Once enough boulders were scored the towers flag will fall which signifies the tower can now be captured. To successfully capture a tower, the robots must surround the castles edge. When the castle is captured the team would earn points and their flag would then be raised. During this time, robots could extend and attempt to scale the tower for further points. The team with the most points at the end of the game earns the victory. There were many challenging obstacles that we have to prepare for but overall we managed to make it into the semi-finals securing tird place by losing to the team that eventualy moved on to the championship event in St. Lois
In 2017, our challenge was called "Steamworks," and it was a steampunk-style field with an end goal of building a flying ship. The robot could be controlled by humans for 2 minutes in 15 seconds after a brief autonomous period. Human players had a huge role in this game, as two players from each alliance was in the middle of the field, on top of a tower, and one from each alliance was on the side to feed gears to the robots. Gears were transferred from the corners of the field to the center tower, where the robot had to maneuver the gear onto a horizontal, bendy spring and the human player had to slowly and carefully pull it up, placing it onto a series of gears that eventually was able to be cranked and move propellers. These propellers gave points and made it clear how far along each team was. The robots could also collect Wiffle balls and shoot them into a container, located at the opposite corners as the gears. This rewarded very little points, though. During the endgame, human players deploy a custom rope for their robot, and the robot needs to latch onto the end of the rope and pull itself up to earn "climbing" points. This competition went really well for us, and we made it to the Finals during RPI's SBPLI competition, but sadly lost because of many complications during the final match, including our bumper breaking off.
2018's season was all about retro video games. Titled "FIRST Power Up," our objective was to complete a series of tasks and eventually climb a tower to "defeat the boss." Tasks included shooting "power cubes" into a low "switch" and a 7-foot-tall "scale." Power cubes could also be used to earn "Power-Ups" by putting them in the "vault." Power-Ups included: "Force," which gave you forced possession of the switch, scale, or both, "Boost," which gave you double points for possession of the switch, scale, or both, and "Levitate," which gave you one free climb during endgame. Climbing included latching onto a single bar on your side of the field and lifting your robot a foot off of the ground. You could only do this during the last 30 seconds of the game. There was one bar per three-robot alliance, and robots did not technically need to use the bar to lift (some robots chose to use "levitate," and make their robot sturdy enough to climb on top of, or to attach bars to their robots for other robots to latch onto.) This competition was the first FRC competition that used a time-based point system, meaning that the more time that you had possession of your switch or scale, the more points you got. Our team won the SBPLI Competition at RPI this season and made it to Detroit (the world championships) for our first time ever! We were the number one robot for Power-Ups in our division of over 60 robots at Detroit.
2019's season was called Deep Outer Space! Our objective this year was to pick up balls or "Cargo" and put them in a rocket shaped tower. But in order to keep the cargo from falling out you need to put a disk onto where the cargo will go. I know, sounds super confusing, and at first it was. If you have been apart or been following FIRST for a while, than you know that at the last 30 seconds of the match is climbing. And yes, you only have 30 seconds to climb. This years climbing was a little odd though. There was three different levels, on was about a foot, the medium was a half a foot, the last one was 5 inches. Unfortunately, we could not climb this year. But that didn't prevent us from doing well at the competitions, at Hoftsra we made it in the top ten, and for the first time in Team 4458 history, we were alliance captain!