The Unicorn Update

By: Amanda Merritt

Current Season: Build Season

In this edition of The Unicorn Update:

  • KICK-OFF!
  • Community Outreach

2015 Kick-off

On January 3rd the team gathered at HB to watch the grand unveiling of the 2015 FRC challenge. Some members were chosen to attend the official kick-off event at Tri-C East. This year’s challenge is called Recycle Rush and involves many changes to a typical FRC challenge (you can watch the reveal video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTyCIYZQ_1s).

The goal of Recycle Rush is to stack gray “totes” on scoring platforms and top them with a green recycling container and a pool noodle for extra points. FRC games are usually played by two alliances of three robots each that interact with each other on the playing field. This year the alliances are completely separate until a later portion of the game, in which the two alliances can work together to create Coopertition (a FIRST term combining the words meaning “cooperative competition”) Stacks and Coopertition Sets. A Coopertition Set is defined as four yellow totes placed on the dividing platform and a Coopertition Stack is defined as four yellow totes in a single column on the dividing platform.

So far, the team has been very successful in the design process, and we may even have a complete CAD of the robot by next week. The basic design for the lifting mechanism is two hooks and a supporting block on sliders that can lift totes and containers. We’ve already made two successful prototypes of the design. This year’s challenge is reliant on a capability to stack totes pretty far up, so robots will need to have a low center of gravity to avoid tipping over.

Community Outreach

In early preseason, a few representatives of the team brought last year’s robot Ellie to the Ohio Aerospace Institute to for a demonstration for engineers and others in the aerospace community. We, along with a local FLL team and a local FTC team, explained the mechanisms of our robots and demonstrated their functions. Later in preseason, members of the team brought Ellie to demonstrate for Boys Hope Girls Hope, a non-profit organization, at John Carroll University. Sixth through eighth graders were able to drive the robot and learn the basics of what it takes to program a robot. We also did a demonstration for FLL members and parents of Team IDKRIGHTNOW.

Get excited for an amazing 2015 season! The team will travel to California, Pennsylvania for the Greater Pittsburgh Regional in early March. (You will be able to watch a live-stream of the event in the auditorium, I am told.) If you want to see some of the action yourself, attend the Buckeye Regional at the Wolstein Center March 26th through the 28th.