The FIRST Platform
FIRST is an acronym meaning: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) tests many different aspects of a team.
Internally, FRC requires a team to understand the ins and outs of robot design and execution. The freedom allowed with fabrication and size limitations add depth to robots and make each team's building experience unique. Each step of the process; prototyping, CAD, fabrication, wiring, and programming are all major factors taught through FRC.
Externally, FRC teaches leadership, teamwork, and project management skills by imposing a rigorous build season time frame. Public speaking skills, business skills, outreach initiative, and team personality are all encouraged through the many non-robot awards such as Engineering Inspiration, Chairman's, Rookie Award, and the Entrepreneurship Award.
A big challenge in FRC is the 6 week time limit. In these 6 weeks, a team must design, build, program, test, and practice driving a fully functional robot. A team must be able to organize their time, resources, and members in order to succeed. Once the 6 weeks are up, teams must bag their robot, box it, and ship it to their competition.
The field is typically 27 feet by 54 feet with elements of varying sizes based on that year's game. Robot limitations also vary with last year's game having robots with a max perimeter of 120 inches, a weight limit of 120 lbs, and a height limit 4 feet and 7 inches. In 2 minute matches, robots go 3 vs 3 to achieve the highest score. Each game has a central theme in which the different challenges and methods of scoring are based on.
This past season had a medieval theme as teams built robust drive trains to traverse a variety of obstacles in the 2016 FRC Game, Stronghold. Teams also were tasked with capturing a tower by scoring gray balls, aptly named Boulders, into the tower's goals.
This Past FRC Season: Stronghold
We participated in the FRC Regional Competition on Oahu.
The tough build season translated to an even tougher time at the regional competition. Despite our hard work, we were just not able to make the cut into playoffs and were eliminated after alliance selection. The entirety of the season served as an invaluable learning experience and a reminder to always be improving.
Design and Building
The life of a robot begins at Kickoff as teams brainstorm. Prototyping is done to find out which ideas are worth refining, which is done with CAD (Computer Aided Design). Fabrication comes soon after.
Building at such a large scale requires a good knowledge of how to support each mechanism as well as how the mechanisms will interact within the real game.
Code for FRC robots is written in either C++, Labview, Python, or Java. While our goal is to be able to use all four languages, you traditionally only use one throughout the season. Last season, we mainly used Labview with Python on the side.
In the 2015 season, HVR won the Judges Award, for our continued excellence in our community outreach. HVR is proud to be recognized for our outstanding impact on the community every year, winning the Judges award during the 2012 and 2014 seasons. We hope to continue inspiring robotics in our community in the future.
In the 2013 season, HVR brought home the Engineering Inspiration Award – an award given to a team that has outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within the team’s school and community.
Thank you mentors, family, friends, and members for all your continued support and hard work!