Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 Spectrum Challenges

I imagine a lot of teams set goals for themselves each year. This year I wanted to challenge my team to push beyond what we did in 2011/2012. Last November I wrote up these challenges (in a similar vein to what Barry Bonzack did in 2006).

Most of these challenges were extremely big reaches and though we didn't achieve many of the challenges, we did earn two regional finalists awards, two entrepreneurship awards, and an invitation to IRI. Overall not a bad year and we still have two more FRC off-season events to go before the season is over.

2013 Spectrum 3847 Challenges
- Build as close to real field elements as possible (economical)
We did end up with a full pyramid, but not building full goal boxes hurt us more than I originally thought. Discs bouncing out of the goals turned out to be a pretty big problem for our original design.

- Make one incremental working prototype each day for the first two weeks on all game specific systems (i.e. collector or end game)
We did a very good job of this. Our prototype shooter video inspired a whole lot of other teams' shooters and we are still working to improve everything to this day.

- Fully CADed drive train and main structure by Jan 20th/ Fully CADed robot by Jan 27th
We me the drive train and main structure deadline for the most part, but we were a bit behind on the shooter CAD.

- Fully operational robot by Feb 8th
Since this was our first time doing sheet metal, we definitely did not meet this deadline. The robot also turned out far more complex than we originally thought.

- Improve robot performance by 25% before each event
We did a good job here. We pulled the shooter off the lift and completely redesigned it's functionally after our first event. We then increased the speed of our robot for Razorback. We drastically improved our shooter for IRI and made our blocker faster and more effective. We even reengineered our hanging mechanism during the few days between IRI and TRR. 

- #1 seed or 1st pick at a regional
We didn't do either of these, but Texas Torque did tell us that we were on their short list at Razorback for the #1 selection. This was closer than we ever have been before. We also captained our alliance to the finals, so overall pretty close.

- Get on a Championship Eliminations Alliance
We didn't qualify for Championship this year, but we did get on an alliance at IRI which is arguably a much harder accomplishment.

- .750+ winning percentage 
Not quite there, but we're getting better.

- Markedly improve 10+ other robots/teams throughout the season
It's hard to measure this, but I'm sure we succeeded. From just the kit bot build days and bumper build days alone I think we impacted a large number of teams, plus all the assistance and mentoring we did at events.

- Get 100+ people to attend the 2013 Lone Star Regional
Not quite 100, but we had more people attend the event in support of Spectrum than ever before.

- Get on TV talking about robotics

- Have our robot pictured in a non-school publication

- Have one elected government official drive our robot or attend a competition because of us

Not yet, if anyone knows anyone that can help us out with this, let us know.

None of the above, but we did earn two Entrepreneurship Awards and two Regional Finalists Awards.

We'll revise the list for next year, but overall I think it's pretty good starting point for FRC event/robot goals. We have a lot of other goals when it comes to our entire engineering program and STEM outreach.

- Allen Gregory

"Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work."  - Bette Davis

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