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NEW Apple Corps Competes at Wisconsin FIRST Regional Robotics Competition 
NEW Apple Corps Competes at Wisconsin FIRST Regional Robotics CompetitionThe week prior to spring break, AASD and Plexus sponsored FIRST Robotics Competition Team 93: NEW Apple Corps competed at the Wisconsin Regional in Milwaukee. At the end of qualification matches, Team 93 was ranked 2nd out of 54 teams, and served as the 2nd seeded alliance captain in the playoffs.

Team 93 was also awarded the Engineering Inspiration Award again! It is almost unheard of to win this award in back to back regional competitions.  

In addition, Sean Schuff received the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award for his work at all levels of FIRST in Wisconsin, most recently as chair of the FIRST Wisconsin Executive Advisory Board, overseeing the development of short- and long-range strategic plans, and working with the state legislature to sign into law a bill that provides $500,000 in funding for robotics teams across the state.  It has truly been the most successful season the team has ever had!  And we’re not done yet!!
  
Practice & Qualification Matches
Thursday is reserved as a day to work on the robot and take part in practice matches. These are usually pretty low key matches to test new functionality and get additional drive team practice. However, it felt worth noting our heart stopping (but now pretty hilarious) practice match where an opponent robot gave our robot a solid smack When our robot ceased to move anymore, spectators scratched their heads as to the reasoning why, until they saw our 13lb battery lying on the floor a couple feet away. Needless to say, we made some major improvements to our battery holder and marked said battery as “questionable” post-match.
 
Qualification matches for our robot got off to a rocky start, but dramatically improved as the day went on. We were assigned to be in the very first match of the day on Friday, which means little time to test or work on the robot before we are asked to put our robot on the field for opening ceremonies. Upon opening up our drive laptop, we were greeted with the soul-crushing “Windows is updating!” blue screen of hate. You see, our hardworking software team brought the driver station laptop back to the hotel to work on some other things and accidentally connected the laptop to the hotel internet. We do not have internet access in the pits so we couldn’t get the laptop out of trying to make its updates and needed to quickly get a 2nd laptop up and running before our match. Despite our best efforts, the 2nd laptop had issues as well and we were forced to use a field provided laptop. This does not contain all the functionality of our own laptop and driving the robot was a challenge. Luckily we had top notch alliance partners who helped win the match for us. 
 
The remainder of the qualification matches on Friday went well and by the end of the day, we were the only undefeated team at the regional! We did however have to replay one of our matches due to a field equipment issue for our opponent at the end of the day. The rematch did not go as smoothly for our alliance as the first match did as our own alliance robot ran into us during autonomous, causing us to miss critical points and failed to climb at the end. We ended the day ranked 4th and knew we had an excellent chance to be in the top 8 by the end of qualification matches. We had several important decisions to make that night regarding what robots we would want to be on our alliance. On Saturday, we had 2 more qualification matches. The first went smoothly and popped back into 1st. In our last match, one of the opponent robots could shoot fuel (quite poorly might I add). They managed to get a single ball into the top of the boiler during autonomous, and we lost the match by 1 point! With that, we dropped in the rankings by 1 and settled in at 2nd. We were still very excited to be the 2nd seed alliance captain!
 
Playoff Matches
Team 93 was incredibly excited that our old alliance captain from the Lake Superior Regional was also at the Wisconsin Regional. Team 4539: KAOTIC Robotics happily accepted our request to be on an alliance with us, and we were joined by Team 2202: Beast Robotics. We were going a force to be reckoned with! We were up against the #7 seeded alliance in the quarterfinals and knew they had 2 strong fuel bots. We decided on a bold, double defense strategy where Team 93 would impede fuel points and Team 2202 would slow down their gear runner, while Team 4539 would get the gears we needed to get 3 rotors going. Provided we all successfully climbed, we knew this strategy would lead us to victory. In the first quarterfinal match, we were did a great job slowing down the opponents, but realized they were not as focused on fuel as we had expected, and causing our gear runner to slow down. When there was doubt that Team 4539 could deliver a 3rd gear, we made an attempt late in the match to try and snag one. Our position was right under our opponent’s airship rope and right at the 30 second mark, the opponent’s pilot in the airship quickly grabbed their rope and threw it at our robot. This is considered a 50-point foul against our alliance as it is seen as impeding the opponent from climbing. On top of this, we took just too long to get back to our rope and were not able to climb in time. We lost the match 222-276. 
 
In the 2nd quarterfinal match, we helped play defense on gear runners and all achieved our climbs. The strategy worked according to plan and we won 305-299! We lived to play another match to see who would move on to the semifinals. 
 
In the rubber match, we maintained the same strategy and the stars were beginning to align. All we had to do was achieve our climbs and we were on to the semifinals! With a few seconds left, all of our robots had made their climbs and the score had our alliance winning by 26 points! Over the roar of the crowd, a loud “SNAP” and the sound of 150lbs of aluminum crashing to the ground cut through the hullaballoo like a knife. Our alliance partner, Team 4539, was no longer airborne, but sitting squarely on the floor and a few inches of their strap remained dangling under their davit. 50 points immediately came off of our score and we lost the match 260-284. Let this be a lesson to us all: Remember to inspect your ropes before trying to achieve take off. 
 
Awards & Our Impact
NEW Apple Corps was awarded the Engineering Inspiration Award (again)! This is the 2nd highest award a team can win at a competition and is awarded to the team that demonstrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school, organization, and community. Unfortunately, NASA will not pay for our World Championship registration twice, but nonetheless, excellent work by the team to be recognized for this award in back to back competitions! The team also competed for the Chairman’s Award and submitted 2 students for the Dean’s List Award. We may not have walked away with these awards, but it is clear this team is on the upswing and excited to keep up this incredible momentum. The students all did a fantastic job and continue to push the mentors to keep up with their drive. 
 
The Wisconsin Regional is a very well-staffed regional from a volunteer perspective by other teams. However, they could not pass up the opportunity to have one of our Plexus mentors, Nick Luther, help fill in as an event Robot Inspector. To give you an idea on how thorough Nick is, one of our mentors happened to walk by a team’s pits as they were taking a hacksaw to two screw heads sticking  ½” outside their robot’s frame perimeter with Nick casually supervising nearby.  Plexus also donates funds and is a sponsor for the Wisconsin Regional, so a huge thank you is in order to the Plexus Charitable Community Foundation.
 
Looking Ahead

Team 93 will be competing in the World Championships in St. Louis April 26-29th. Until then, the team will be investigating methods to acquire and climb the rope faster, as well as nail down additional autonomous modes to deposit a gear on lifts on the sides of the airship. 
 
Team Website
 
Game Summary
This year’s game, STEAMWORKS, plays off the delightful Steampunk theme where two competing alliances play on a 27’ x 54’ field to prepare their airship for flight. Each alliance works to collect fuel (whiffle balls) and score them in a boiler via a high or low efficiency goal, deliver 11” diameter gears to an airship for installation to turn rotors, and finally latch onto the airship before the end of the match by ascending a rope. Each match begins with a 15 second autonomous period where the robot performs tasks using preprogrammed instructions, followed by a 2:15 teleoperated mode where students drive the robot.  During teleop mode, fuel scored is 1/3 point in the high efficiency boiler and 1/9 point in the low efficiency boiler, each rotor spinning is worth 40 points, and climb per each robot is 50 points. 
 
The Robot
This year, our robot consists of 3 major subsystems: drive, climber, and gear manipulator. The team elected to take on the very complex crab/swerve drive (picture a powered castor than can drive forward, backward, strafe left & right with a separate motor that spins each wheel 360 degrees) to provide increased maneuverability and a little more pushing power than a mechanum drive. The climber consists of a curved metal plate with a “V” shape cut out to catch a knot at the bottom of our rope and spins around an axle to coil up our rope as it pulls the robot up about 4 feet into the air. The gear manipulator is truly one of a kind and we found very few other teams had the courage to take on an active mechanism that could pick gears up off the floor. A track runs underneath and curves up to the front of the robot. Running along the track, our gear manipulator has 4 grippers controlled by pneumatics that strategically open and close to catch gears as we drive over them and actively secure the gear. The gear is then presented to the front of the robot for placement on a peg and released by the robot. 
Posted by aasdwebmaster On 04 April, 2017 at 12:16 PM  

 
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