First Design Meeting

January 9, 2017

Present Members: Jaclyn, Sarthak, Matt, Sohit, Andrea, Rohit, Ethan, Owen

Present Mentors: —

A lot has happened in the first few days of the competition.  We’ve all been reading the manual closely.  Jaclyn even came up with a summary of it.  Based on the manual, Rohit came up with some notes and questions (crossed out notes are those based on misunderstandings of the manual text, such as that the FRAME PERIMETER was also vertical and that power-ups could be used during autonomous).


Height Limit and Scale

|_Consider the height limit – robot has to stay under 55 inches at start

|_Scale is at 63.5 inches


|_During the autonomous period – get double points

|_The position of the scale matters

|_I think 3 cubes fit, but stacked cubes close to the edge have more power than cubes

             close to the center


Levitate and Force Power Up

|_Levitate gives you 30 points guaranteed with 3 cubes

|_Force gives you 10 points guaranteed with 1 or 2 cubes and 20 points with 3

|_Never go for force before filling up levitate


Other Team’s Switch

|_You can’t use cubes from the other team’s cube pile, but you can get it from the 6 cubes in

  near their switch

|_12 cubes waiting with human players on the other side of the field

|_10 cubes of ours in our cube pile reserved



|_Have to hang on the rung and not on the sides

|_Nearly impossible for two robots to hang side by side

|_Can’t invade other side rung

|_Mentioned in the rules that you can fully support another robot


|_have a sidebar that your partner can hang on?

|_If not compatible, make sure it parks for 5 points at least


Open Questions:

Do you lose the 5 points per box when they go for a powerup?

Why does it keep mentioning the robot giving a cube to the driveteam and the driveteam giving it back?  Any points to be gained?

Can the boost power up be activated in the endgame while the levitate powerup is active?

It says that we can’t push cubes off the other team’s scale, but could be push them in to the center, so the torque is less?

We are well prepared to start planning, so we started early this morning with a quick discussion of the PR schedule to come:




  • Idea submission box
  • Display robots
  • Students Coaching 7 Robotics Team
  • Pioneer Team in SG
  • Recruitment within school (Club fair)
  • Preparing to showcase at Maker Fairs
  • Connect with Canadian School
  • Reach out to sponsors
  • Robot reveal video



How to Show


  • Facebook
  • At pit:
  • Handout for Judges outlining our outreach + robot design
  • Laptop @ Pit for Safety Slideshow + maybe a child-friendly handout
  • Back printed banner
  • Team Name + Mission + DSLO 🙂
  • Small banner for alliance station
  • Team Image
  • Team shirts
  • Chairman’s video



We also started working on our sponsorship letter to show our sponsors why we are unique.  Soon, more team members started to file in and we got started on our analysis of this year’s game strategy.  We separated the task into several specific strategy items:

  • Scale Strategy
  • Switch Strategy
  • Deposit Strategy

We discussed the benefits of each.  We all agreed that if we are going to be a dominant team in the competition, we’ll need to focus on the scale, but also have the capability to efficiently deal with the switches.  Hanging is also an important part.  We agreed that there was probably no space for two robots to hang even with a third one taking the levitate powerup.  Therefore, we need some sort of extension bar from our robot that our alliance robot can hang from.

We started considering tasks that the robot had to do.  We looked at what skills might be required.

Since we have figured out our strategy, we started thinking of various robot designs.  For the intake and output, we considered both a traditional claw and a roller intake on a claw frame.  For the arm, we considered both a traditional pivot arm and a cascade extending arm (or it’s telescoping version).  If we use the cascade arm, we can double that as a hanging device.  Otherwise, we will probably need a grappling hook, which is risky, or a tape measure hanging device.

The thing with the tape measure is that it stays straight until it reaches the top, especially at an angle.  We did objective tables for each of the ideas that we came up with.  These aren’t definitive, but they are insightful and can give us information on what ideas are promising.  Each of the factors is weighted differently as can be seen in the second column.

We spent the rest of the meeting considering the different ways we could get the simple arm to work.  Jaclyn had come up with a few initial sketches.  We’re really interested in linear actuators to drive the arm since in this case, the motor can be lower down with less gearing.  We will need to calculate the position where the 12-inch linear actuator can drive the whole arm.  Andrea cut out a scaled model of the arm to show that theoretically, it will work.  We will order some linear actuators tonight.

We want to make sure we have a good design before we start building.

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