Thursday, February 9, 2012

2012 Kickoff

The FIRST robotics season began this year with a great, familiar feeling of overwhelming work hours, thrill, and the internal countdown until the trips to Disney and St. Louis, Missouri. Not only did Cybersonics get the directions for this year’s game, but the team also found out about great financial assistance toward travel for winning the Engineering Inspiration Award at a regional event. The 2012 game was introduced on January 7th, 2012 via a televised broadcast. During the broadcast, Dean Kamen, and Woodie Flowers amongst special guests Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Will.I.Am, joined members from the Game Design Committee in explaining aspects of the game, signaling to past year’s playing balls and inner tubes throughout. Seconds before the game was announced, hints were made about “fouls” and “making the baskets”. When it came time to announce the 2012 game, 103 was completely sure that it was going to be a basketball-style game.

The 2012 “Rebound Rumble” robotics game is played between two alliances of three teams each on a 27 by 54 ft arena (Fig. 1). Each Alliance competes by trying to score as many of the foam basketballs in the hoops (Fig. 2) as possible during the two-minute and fifteen-second match. This year’s game includes an autonomous mode, wherein the robot must utilize pre-programmed instructions to collect and shoot the basketballs (Fig. 3). During the autonomous mode, only one team on each alliance is allowed to use the Microsoft Kinect to guide their robot to shoot (Fig. 4). The array of four baskets is located adjacent to either teams control station. Balls scored in the top row earn three points, in the middle row two points, and in the bottom row one point. Once in the basket, the ball drops behind the playing field and into the corral where the human player passes the ball back to their team via their inbound station (Fig. 5). At the end of the match, team alliances are awarded bonus points if they are balanced on bridges, located in the center of the field. One robot balancing is a bonus of 10 points, two robots balancing together is a bonus of 20 points, and three robots balancing together is worth 20 points during the qualification matches and 40 points during the elimination matches.

Rebound Rumble is a game of strategy, teamwork, and accuracy, on which Cybersonics spent a great deal of time brainstorming as well as physically playing basketball to get a feel for the game. 103 is looking forward to seeing all of the different robots designed to compete in this complex game.

Written by Kelly S.
Distributed in the January edition of the Cybersonics Newsletter

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