After a blistering fast and intensive build season for our FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team Opcom Robotics, the tournament we have been preparing for was upon us. Last week Opcom Robotics went to the Western Canada Regional FRC in Calgary to compete together with and against other teams from Alberta and beyond. What followed were three jam-packed days of tweaking and redesigning our robot Vlad, strategizing with our alliance partners, all culminating in the gladiator battle-like games. No humans were injured in this event, but plenty or robots earned their scares, including ours.
The FRC program is sometimes referred to as the only sport for the mind combining the thrill of sports and the excitement and rigours of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of high-school students are challenged to raise funds, design a team brand, hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to accomplish prescribed tasks against a field of competitors in a modern-day high-tech gladiator-like battle. It is as close to real-world engineering (and Roman gladiator battles) as a high-school student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.
Here are some of the highlights from our eleven games over three full days at the Western Canada Regional FRC at the Calgary Oval.
In our game 3 we attempted a high goal but got accosted by other bots resulting in a bungled shot and almost tipping one of the opponents in the ensuing jostle.
In game 4 our forks, the device that is supposed to pick-up the ball (or impale our opponents), malfunction. Despite this, thanks to our skilful driver, Vlad the bot scored several goals by pushing and shoving the ball into the low-goal - yay.
Game 6 was our best game in terms of number of goals scored. At one point the forks get stuck in the side wall of the playing field resulting in damages. It's for good reasons our bot has the nickname Vlad the impaler.
The play list of all our games, and a few more clips, are available on YouTube.
More pictures from the event can be found on flickr.
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