AERIAL ASSIST is played by two competing Alliances of three Robots each on a flat 25’ x 54’ foot field, straddled by a lighting truss suspended just over five feet above the floor. The objective is to score as many balls in goals as possible during a 2 minute and 30 second match. The more Alliances score their ball in their goals, and the more they work together to do it, the more points their alliance receives.
The match begins with one 10-second Autonomous Period in which robots operate independently of driver. Each robot may begin with a ball and attempt to score it in a goal. Alliances earn bonus points for scoring balls in this mode and for any of their robots that move in to their zones. Additionally, each high/low pair of goals will be designated “hot” for five seconds, but the order of which side is first is randomized. For each ball scored in a “hot” goal, the Alliance earns additional bonus points.
For the rest of the match, drivers remotely control robots from behind a protective wall. Once all balls in autonomous are scored, only one ball is re-entered in to play, and the Alliances must cycle a single ball as many times as possible for the remainder of the match. With the single ball, they try to maximize their points earned by throwing balls over the truss, catching balls launched over the truss, and scoring in the high and low goals on the far side of the field. Alliances receive large bonuses for “assists,” which are earned for each robot that has possession of the ball in a zone as the ball moves down the field.
Build Season Opening Week
Following the announcement of the 2014 Challenge, Aerial Assist, the Ratchet Rockers started the season brainstorming and analyzing the new challenge. Although the numerous snow days put construction behind schedule, the team was able to complete designing the eight-wheel Drive-train in Autodesk Inventor and began building the mechanism from machined parts.
After multiple meetings and conference calls, the team agreed on trying out two shooter prototypes: linear and catapult-based. Testing and adjustments will carry into week 2 of build season, and the final decision on which shooter to choose will be made.
In addition to the shooter, there are two different designs for an intake system in progress. The first is 2-wheel system which is connected to two motors on a frame. Once running, the robot will drive up to the game ball and pull it into the shooter. The second design involves two cylindrical bars that rotate in opposite directions to rotate the ball into the shooter. Both designs are capable of reserve-functions, meaning the intakes can both pull the ball into the robot space and eject it out to the field or another robot by reversing the direction of spin.
The team disbanded for the week, and will pick up on the next work day this following Monday.
Build Season Mid Weeks
Keeping up with the planned schedule, the Ratchet Rockers continued designing and building the robot and parts for competition. With new ideas coming out to the drawing board, additional parts required shipping to keep with the demand.
The team now has a finished drive-train with optimized gear ratios to give sufficient power for the robot’s needs. Currently, work is being made to assemble the prototype shooter and intake system onto the drive-train.
Additional changes were made on the shooter:
-lighter metal composition
-less pieces for reduced weight
-restructured pieces for stability
Additional changes were made on the intake system:
-increased circumference on rods for additional revolutions
-change in friction-inducing material for increased grip
-reduction in distance of two rods
-alteration of elastic potential in between rods for better performance
-additional pivot points for range in motion
Furthermore, new motors needed to be adjusted to meet with the new designs. Currently, designs are being drawn on how to mount pieces together onto the robot. The design team is busy drawing and assembling parts in Autodesk Inventor, and the team is building the parts to order.
Collaborative Sponsors Join Team 1706
“Collaborative Sponsor” is a term we are using to describe sponsors who not only contribute funds to the team, but also provide training and direct instruction to the members of FIRST Team 1706.
The University of Missouri St. Louis and their Department of Math and Computer Science is one of our sponsors this year and we are very thankful for their donation. On top of that three professors from the Math and Computer Science Department have become mentors of our team.
Tomasz Mozolewski, Adjunct Professor
Sanjiv Bhatia, Associate Professor
Cezary Z. Janikow, PhD, Associate Professor, Associate Chair
We look forward to this years build season and are excited to work with our existing and new mentors throughout the challenges and difficulties faced in the coming months.
Ultra-Speed 6-Wheel Drivetrain Concept
The Ratchet Rockers Students have been very hard at work this preseason on several projects including, but not limited to, a new super-advanced vision and autonomous decision system, ultra-high speed drivetrain concepts, and new electrical trainings. They are putting the power and decision making completely in the hands of the students to heavily promote great leadership skills and management experience to help prepare them for the upcoming Build Season and challenges they may face in a career/study later in life. One of these projects is our new Ultra-High Speed 6-Wheel Drivetrain Concept.
The new Drivetrain uses a “west-coast” design allowing for a shortened turning wheel base of 4 Wheels while maintaining the stability of 6 Wheels.
6-Wheel Concept Estimated Specifications
Vision Training Presentation
Team 1706 seniors presented a vision training to various St. Louis FRC teams at Gateway STEM. Here they explained the use of OpenCV in conjunction with the development environment QT to create and compile a program in c++ and demoed a few OpenCV functions and their effects, including:
-Threshold (minimum value of a single channel image to convert to binary)
-erode (Remove Noise)
-dilate (Enlarge Objects)
-findContours (container of points where white meets black)
approxPolyDP (estimate corners and points of an approximate polygon)
A demo of HSV was also given for people who want to use RGB Cameras. The Ratchet Rockers plan to upload a step-by-step process to setting up OpenCV, QtCreator, and OpenKinect on a Ubuntu Operating System (Or any Debian Based Linux).
2015 Vision Presentation
2014 Season Stats
In 2014 the Ratchet Rockers had our 3rd highest winning percentage of 61.3%, we were semi-finalists at the St. Louis Regional, Quarter-finalists at the Arkansas Regional, and won our 3rd consecutive Engineering Excellence Award.
Record: 19-12 (W-L)