2012’s challenge was REBOUND RUMBLE, in which six robots, three per Alliance, must build a robot capable of playing competitive basketball. Objectives of this game are to collect basketballs and shoot them into hoops of different heights in order to score points. The field is divided in half, with one half being the scoring zone of one Alliance, and the other being the scoring zone of the other. Unique to this year’s game, the line separating the two halves of the field takes form in a two-inch bump, upon which three moveable bridges lie. These bridges rock back and forth, but are capable of balance. In order to be successful in scoring baskets, a team may have to traverse the bump either by clever design or by utilization of the bridges. Also, at the end of the game, robots are encouraged to balance on these bridges, either by themselves, with other robots of their own alliance, or, for extra points, with a robot of the opposite alliance. As previously stated, there are three bridges. The two bridges on the outside are designated for each alliance. The third and middle bridge is called the “Coopertition Bridge” and is available for rival teams to plan an alliance and help each other to gain points for both alliances and extra points for their teams. Also, for the first time, the hybrid period that begins each match was integrated with the X-Box Kinect system, which allowed for a human player to send controls to their robot using interactive movements.
Scoring in REBOUND RUMBLE is simple to understand. There are three levels of baskets and four total baskets (two baskets are on a middle level). During normal, player-controlled play, the lower baskets are worth 1 point, while middle baskets are 2 points and higher baskets are 3 points. During hybrid period, baskets are worth 4, 5, and 6 points according to their height. However, a match can be decided easily in the “end-game”. If one robot is balanced on a bridge, 10 points result; two robots yield 20 points and all three yield 40 points. Balancing on the Coopertition Bridge earns no points, as it would have no impact on the score. However, teams are ranked due to their Qualifying Points, which are won either through winning matches, or through balancing on the Coopertition Bridge. In this way, a team with strong offense could still have a low ranking without teamwork. There are specific areas on the field designated for certain alliances; they are marked by pieces of tape stretched out on the playing field. Deductions can be taken away if robots cross into their opponent’s designated territory or for misconduct and aggression. Fouls are worth 3 or 9 points, depending on their severity.
To play Rebound Rumble, the WiredCats built a highly-accurate offensive robot that could quickly collect basketballs and shoot them in the 3-point basket. Often, our offensive power would lead to successful matches, and we always managed to have high offensive and autonomous points, leading us to be chosen by other teams in the finals. Our intake system could trap any ball it touched, leading it up a controllable tower. At the top of the tower, basketballs were shot either at a 45-degree angle or a 60-degree angle, which we could change depending on where we were on the field. The balls would spin off of a fly-wheel to make baskets with ease.
With this robot, we managed to win the Peachtree regional along with FIRST Teams 587 and 1261, but our robot had a long way to go before reaching its maximum playing power. At the Lone Star regional, our team finished as semi-finalists, losing in a match to the winning alliance. This spectacular match ended 90 to 116; both scores beat the standing record for the season (up to week 6). Furthermore, this match allowed the WiredCats to become the first and only FRC team capable of shooting a six-ball autonomous period. A video of the match can be seen below, along with a closer view at our autonomous period. At Championships in St. Louis, the WiredCats were ranked 3rd overall in Offensive Points in the Archimedes Division. Unfortunately, we were not able to move to the Einstein field, finishing in the quarter-finals of the Archimedes Division in a match against the eventual winners of that division.
Other notable accomplishments of the season included winning the Kleiner-Perkins Caufield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award at the Peachtree Regional and the Engineering Inspiration Award at the Lone Star Regional.
Highlights of the season can be found here:
90-116 Semi-Final Match (Lone Star Regional): Lone Star 2012 Final
6-Ball Autonomous (Lone Star Regional): 2415 6-ball auto