FIRST® (For Inspiration Recognition of Science and Technology) is a program created by Dean Kamen, and MIT professor, Woodie Flowers. They created FIRST as a way to inspire kids to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. FIRST consists of four subgroups: FLL Jr.®, FLL®, FTC®, FRC®. To learn more about FIRST check out firstinspires.org
FIRST Lego League Junior (FLL Junior): is a non-competitive robotics program designed for children ages six to nine. FLL Jr.® teams conduct much smaller projects and make models out of Lego elements to illustrate one part of the topic.
FIRST Lego League (FLL): is an international competition for elementary and middle school students. Each year a new challenge is announced that focuses on a different real-world topic related to the sciences.
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC): is a robotics competition targeted toward middle and high school-aged students. Each year students are given a new challenge, building a robot to fit within an 18-inch cube at the start of the match.
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC): is an international high school robotics competition. Our team competes in the FRC division of FIRST in which the game is announced at the beginning of January every year and students only have 6 weeks to design, build, wire, program, and test a robot.
We are Team 5030, the Second Mouse, a FIRST® Robotics Team from Utica, New York. The team welcomes any local high school student from the area and works out of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Established in 2014, the team was the only FRC® team within a 35-mile radius and has represented 10 different schools. We constantly challenge ourselves, trying new ideas and always learning, even if something fails the experiences and lessons learned can help improve our robot the next year.
Our Mission: To promote STEM education for K-12 students while remaining active in the community, prioritizing the growing field of engineering.
2014's challenge was called Aerial Assist in the game, the alliances won by scoring 2-foot exercise balls into the scoring areas located on the far end of the field. The game starts with each robot in either the center field or the goalie zones. They can be preloaded with 1 game ball before the start. The match begins with a 10-second autonomous period, where robots use the pre-programmed instructions to score points. Scoring in the lit-up goal during the Autonomous period will award more points. Also, every robot that moves from the center to their side of the field earns another five-point bonus. When Tele-op starts, the teams take control of their respective robots. The cycle starts when a human player transfers a ball onto the playing field. The robots can then do either the basic goal score (take the ball to the other end of the field), or assist them in doing so. The recipient of the latter will earn bonus points (2 assists=10 points, 3 assists=30 points). Throwing the ball over the truss (the midpoint overhang) when transferring, a la volleyball will add 10 additional points. Having an alliance partner catch it will earn 10 more points. A robot in the goalie zones can block shots via extending upwards.
Our rookie season started was plagued with many troubles. Being a new team we had no resources, young mentors, and students all learning about FRC and how to build a robot during our limited build season. These setbacks wouldn't hinder 5030 from going 10-2 finishing as the 2nd ranked bot at the New York Tech Valley Regional. As the captains of the 2nd seeded alliance, we picked teams 340 and 1708. While getting knocked out in the Quarterfinals, 5030 would go on to collect the Highest Seeded Rookie Award and the Rookie All-Star Award. The latter would qualify us to attend the 2014 World Championship in St. Louis. Attending the World Championship was a great experience for a young team, seeing how 400 teams all create a robot for the same challenge opened the student's eyes on how FRC works and inspired them to try even harder the next season.
2015's challenge was called Recycle Rush, the match starts with a 15-second period where robots must act on their own according to preprogrammed instructions. During this period, alliances can gain 4 points if each robot moves into the Auto Zone, 6 points if they bring all three totes into the Auto Zone, 8 points if they bring all three barrels into the Auto Zone, and 20 if all three totes are stacked in the Auto Zone. However, the strategy most often seen was to grab the recycling bins located on the step in the middle of the field to "cap" the stacks during the teleoperated period. Immediately after the autonomous round, drivers operate the robots via control stations at the ends of the field. During this time, they aim to use the robots to put "litter", represented by green pool noodles, in a Landfill Zone for 1 point apiece, place totes on a scoring platform for 2 points apiece, place litter inside barrels for 6 points per barrel, and put the barrels on top of scoring stacks of totes for 4 points per level (approximately one level per tote) measured from the lowest point of the barrel.
2015 saw 5030 take a larger step in challenging ourselves with our robots designs. The students quickly got to work designing a robot to stack the game pieces quickly and efficiently with their hard work paying off. At the Tech Valley Regional, we finished as the 7th ranked bot. We would end up joining the 3rd seed alliance alongside teams 263 and 527. While narrowly missing out on advancing to the Semifinals, our team did win the Industrial Design Award. The following week we attended the Finger Lakes Regional, where our team finished as the 4th ranked robot. As the captains of the 3rd seed alliance, we picked teams 1511 and 870 to join our alliance as we advanced to the semifinals a combination of mistakes and technical difficulties would end our season.
2016, Stronghold was a medieval-themed challenge, matches begin with robots in the neutral zone with the ability to hold one boulder each. Robots earn 2 points for reaching the opposing alliance's outer works and earn 10 points for crossing them. Any additional defenses a robot crosses in auto will not decrease a defense's strength, or give points to the alliance. Once across a defense, a robot in autonomous mode can score a high goal for 10 points or low goal for 5 points. In teleop when drivers take control the use the robots to retrieve boulders from either their secret passage or the midline, overcome opponent defenses, and score goals in their opponent's courtyard. Robots may transport only one boulder at a time. Each time a robot crosses an undamaged defense, they receive 5 points. Robots earn 5 points for scoring a high goal and 2 points for a low goal. In the last 20 seconds of the match, robots race to the opposing alliance's tower to either park on the batter, earning them 5 points for a challenge, or hang from the tower's rungs, earning them 15 points for a scale.
2016 saw our team start growing and challenging themselves even more, with more unique designs and continually trying new building designs and techniques. Traveling down to NYC for our first competition, we finished as the 5th ranked robot at the New York City Regional. As captains of the 3rd seed, we picked teams 694 and 5016, wherein a tough nailbiting eliminations bracket, we finished the victors. Winning our first regional event, securing our entrance to the 2016 World Championship. Before the championship event, we attended the Finger Lakes regional, where technical and electrical issues sidelined our robot, even causing a few wires to burn out. Our team's Vice President Aidan would go on to win the Dean's List Award at Finger Lakes, representing model leaders in the FRC community. We used the World Championship as a great opportunity to learn from many renown teams, being able to see their design up close and asking them for tips and lesson proved invaluable experience for the students.
2017, Steamworks is a Steampunk themed challenge where teams were given multiple tasks for each match. The match started with contacting their Alliance Wall, with up to 1 gear and up to 10 fuel preloaded on the robot. The first 15 seconds of the match is called the Autonomous Period. Robots are controlled by pre-programmed commands with no driver input. Each rotor that is activated in Autonomous gives the alliance 60 points, each fuel scored in the High Goal is worth 1 kilopascal and each fuel scored in the Low Goal is worth ? kilopascals. Also, if a robot crosses the Base Line, it earns 5 points. After the Autonomous Period ends, the drivers take control for the next 135 seconds. Rotors that are engaged in Teleop earns the alliance 40 points, fuel in the High Goal is worth ? kilopascals and fuel in the Low Goal are worth ? kilopascals. At the end of the match, each whole kilopascal accumulated throughout both periods is worth 1 point. The last 30 seconds of the Teleop Period is called the End Game. In the End Game, Pilots deploy the ropes on the Airship to let the robots climb them. Each robot that climbs a rope and activates a Touchpad for at least 1 second and when the game timer reaches 0 earns 50 points for their alliance. There are some other ways that alliances can score points. If an alliance scores at least 40 kilopascals throughout the match, they earn 1 extra Ranking Point for qualification matches and 20 points for playoff matches. Also, if an alliance gets all four rotors turning by the end of the match, they score 1 extra Ranking Point for qualification matches and 100 points for playoff matches. Another way to score extra points is by penalties. If the opposing alliance breaks the rules, they may receive a Foul or a Tech Foul. A Foul is 5 points to the other alliance and a Tech Foul is 25 points to the other alliance.
2017 saw 5030 pushing the bounds when it came to building our robots. We gained access to CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, allowing us to create more intricate parts that can be precisely manufactured. We started designing more custom parts, allowing us to widen our design capabilities, building a custom drivetrain, and building a practice robot for the first time in our history. Building two robots allow us to keep working after the six-week deadline, give our drivers a chance to practice, and allow us to build and test new parts. Heading back to the Finger Lakes Regional, we finished as the 4th ranked robot and captain of the 4th seeded alliance. Picking teams 870 and 1511, we won the Quarters and lost in a close semifinals match. 5030 would have the honor of winning the Dean's List Award again with our Vice President Jason being the recipient. At the New York City Regional, after mistakes and a few close losses, we would be picked to the 7th seed alliance. Unable to come away our season would come to an end, but not before winning the Quality Award for our unique and reliable robot.
2018, Power Up featured an arcade them, during the first 15 seconds of the match robots can earn points in a variety of ways. If any part of a robot's bumpers completely crosses the Auto Line, they gain 5 points for their alliance. If an alliance gains ownership of the Scale or their Switch, they gain 2 points. For every whole second that an alliance owns the Scale or their Switch in Autonomous, they gain an additional 2 points. After the Autonomous Period ends, the Teleop Period begins, which lasts for 135 seconds. Robots pass power cubes through the Portals and place power cubes in the Vault. If an alliance gains ownership of their Switch in Teleop, they gain 1 point, or 2 points if the Boost Power Up is active at level 1 or 3. For every whole second that an alliance owns their Switch in Teleop, they gain an additional 1 point, or 2 points if the Boost Power Up is active at level 1 or 3. If an alliance gains ownership of the Scale in Teleop, they gain 1 point, or 2 points if the Boost Power Up is active at level 2 or 3. For every whole second that an alliance owns the Scale in Teleop, they gain an additional 1 point, or 2 points if the Boost Power Up is active at level 2 or 3. For every power cube an alliance places in their Vault, they gain 5 points. During the Teleop Period, teams have access to three Power-Ups: Levitate, Force, and Boost. These Power-Ups are activated through placing power cubes that are obtained through the Exchange in the Vault. No two Power-Ups can be active simultaneously except for Levitate, which both alliances can activate at any point during the Teleop Period. After a Power Up has been activated by an alliance, it cannot be used again. Except for Levitate, all Power-Ups last for 10 seconds, and if another Power Up is activated in this time (except for Levitate) it is placed in a queue. The number of power cubes required and the effects of the Power-Ups are detailed in the table below. The last 30 seconds of the Teleop Period is called the End Game. During this time, robots can earn additional points by performing tasks in their Platform Zone. If a robot is fully supported by the Scale, fully outside the opponent's Platform Zone and has its bumpers at least 1 foot above the Platform when time runs out, the robot earns a Climb and 30 points. If a robot has met all of the criteria above but does not have its bumpers at least 1 foot above the Platform when time runs out, the robot earns a Park and 5 points. If the Levitate Power Up has been activated and no more than 2 robots have Climbed, a Climb is credited to a random robot who has not Parked or Climbed. If all robots have at least Parked, one random robot who has not Climbed will be credited with a Climb.
2018 was a big year for 5030, moving into our newly renovated workspace, which had access to the newly built machine shop and 3D Print Lab. These new additions allowed our students to prototype and build parts faster and in-house leading to a quicker robot build. Again building two robots, we would go on to attend three regionals events. 5030 had the pleasure of assisting in the creating of the Central New York Regional, hosted at SUNY Poly, only a few feet from our shop. At the inaugural CNY Regional, we would join the 1st seed alliance of 2791 and 340, en route to our 2nd regional win. Along with earning a spot to the World Championship for the 3rd time in our team's history, we also won the Gracious Professionalism Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award at CNY. Building on the successful first event, 5030 went to the Finger Lakes Regional, ready to push the robot further, designing new parts and testing new autonomous programs. While missing out on the Elimination tournament, our students used the time to make upgrades and continue improving our robot for our next competition only 10 days later. At the Buckeye Regional, we would be invited to join the 4th seed alliance of 3314 and 4145, where we would go on to get the victory in the best of three final matches. This would mark our 3rd regional win in three years, and help spread the name of 5030. At the World Championship in Detroit, we worked with many teams from across the globe, who helped us improve upon our robot, and teach the students the ins and outs of their robot to help us grow.
2019, Destination Deep Space is a challenge honoring the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. For the 2019 season, the sandstorm period is the first 15 seconds of the match and replaces the autonomous period, which had been used in many previous FRC games. Robots start the match at their respective hab platforms, fully supported by hab platform-level one or two. During the period, robots act solely on pre-programmed instructions, therefore acting autonomously, or under control of their drivers with the optional aid of a vision system mounted on the robot. Robots can earn points in a variety of ways. For each robot that fully crosses the hab line during the sandstorm period, the alliance earns three points if the robot started on hab platform-level one and six points if the robot started on level two. Robots are also able to earn points for scoring hatch panels and cargo on their alliance's rockets and cargo ship. After the sandstorm period ends, drivers control their robots and continue to deliver game pieces to the robots. During this period, as in autonomous, every hatch panel scored on a rocket or cargo ship will earn two points for the alliance. Additionally, scoring cargo into a rocket or cargo ship will earn three points for the alliance. Hatch Panels must be scored before cargo unless there are Null Hatch Panels installed on the bay. The last 30 seconds of the teleop period is called the end game. During this time, robots can earn additional points by climbing back onto their alliance's hab platform. A robot ending the match on level one will earn the alliance 3 points while ending the match on level two will earn 6 points and ending the match on level three will earn 12 points.
2019 5030 would compete again at the Central New York Regional and the Buckeye Regional. At the CNY Regional, we would be invited to the 4th seed alliance of 4930 and 125, where we would be knocked out after the hard-fought Semifinal matches. At the Buckeye Regional, we would struggle with various robot issues, causing us to miss out on the elimination round. While not ideal, the mistakes and issues along the way served as notes for what to improve upon in the 2020 season.
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FRC TEAM 5030
THE SECOND MOUSE