First we study the game docs and strategize a plan that both
gets the most points and is reasonable to accomplish with our
busy schedules. We brainstorm and discuss various mechanisms
to accomplish the desired tasks. During this phase, we also
build the game board to get a physical understanding of the
The 2 robots we build must only consist of legal parts, which
change year to year: mostly lego technic and aluminum channel.
The parts are often weak or imprecise (too much wiggle room),
so engineering strong, simple, and lightweight components is
vital to a successful robot. Because the robots have a starting
size constraint, all mechanisms must start condensed and later
expand with code.
We program each robot in C++ to complete the tasks in the
specified order. The robots need to travel around the game
board while simultaneously orienting their claws and lifts to
manipulate the game pieces to accomplish a task. Some tasks
require as much as a centimeter of accuracy, so programming
often becomes an arduous task.
Planning robot tasks is one thing, but programming the robots
to function properly is another. Repeatedly running robots on
the test board is integral to success in the competition.
Testing is unpredictable and always highlights unexpected
flaws in our design. This step can never be fully finished, so
the best we can hope for is a robot that works most of the