2005 RadioShack Innovation In Control Award--What Won?

Well, we’ve now had 31 (give or take) winners for this year.

And since I don’t think anyone on CD knows what won Innovation in Control at all of the competitions, I’m sure nobody would mind knowing more about those systems that were picked out as the best of the best.

<edit>I found this on 237’s award at Finger Lakes. I’ll quote, to save a click:

The RadioShack Innovation in Control Award celebrates an innovative control system or application of control components to provide unique machine functions.

The future of robotics competition is here! So long manual interface! Although autonomous mode is now less than 10% of the game, one machine made it so easy, the judges think it’s the wave of the future.

One robot here today could find the tetra, pick it up, find the goal, and position the tetra over the goal - all without human intervention. How, you ask? With automated sensing and actuating, as well as flawless software controls.

The judges know autonomous controls are a complex journey, but this team made it look easy. For successfully taking the challenge to develop an effective autonomous control system,

The RadioShack Innovation in Control Award is presented to team 237 – Sie-H2O-Bots

Team 294 won the Innovation in Control Award and Phoenix. Unfortunately I was not there, so I do not have a description nor remember what we won it for. However, I do know our robot, so I’ll just make some guesses.

  1. Gripper
    Our gripper was one of the most unique grippers in FIRST. Think about 71’s, except make it about 5 times smaller. We were a bit more compact. We used a pneumatic cylinder to retract claws and grip around the clover. Remember Woodie saying that somebody said that the ends of tetras were not the same at LA, so they changed the ends to be random? That was us.

  2. Arm
    A unique, 3 axis arm based on 60’s 2001 design as well as our failed 2004 design. It was completely potentiometer controlled, so there was very little human error involved. Come to think of it, this is most likely why we won.

  3. Control
    Who doesn’t like a surfboard control board? We take pride in the fact that we make unique boards that can turn heads every year. Big thanks go to Bill for helping us construct our board for 3 years running.

I’ll see if I can get a copy of the description from somebody and post it here.


We won for our holonomic control and Arm control systems in Houston. PID is heavily involved. And lots of fun sensor action from the front to the back.

Our drive system worked in a non-linear (I believe it was quadratic) function when the controls were manipulated so that the robot would not begin with quite as much speed.

Also, we had a learn-and-read function, which allowed us to have 8 distinct autonomous programs which we could create in practice rounds. With this function, we could drive the robot how we wanted it to drive in autonomous mode, all while this information was being recorded. During the actual matches, we could then pick which recording we wanted depending on strategy (for example, the recording which allowed us to stack on a side goal, or the recording which allowed us to drive toward middle center goal) and in essence, replay it.

Our drive system also worked in a non-linear way, using a step function and quadratics. However, I thought that was fairly typical.

The learn and read function is pretty cool. I can’t remember exactly which team it was, but last year the winner of the Control Award at the Pacific Northwest competition did just that.

We won at midwest. it is the first time we have ever won anything in controls in the whole 9 year existance of my team.

we won it because we use a “mini-me” to operate our arm. we use 3 pots on our “mini-me” and 3 pots on our arm, all at the same joints. if we move one thing on the “mini-me” then that part of the arm moves. here is a pic of it:


Team 836 won the Radioshack Innovation and Control Award at the Chesapeake regional. We won this award through our autonomous mode chooser. I am not totally sure how it works, but it is a series of switches mounted toward the front of the robot, each switch was a different operation in auto mode, however we had it setup so that you can do multiple operations during auto mode. And these switches or any combination of switches could be set at any time. So all we had to do was set the start position, then a task or two or three, for example hanging tetra, then left loader or right loader. Additionally we extruded the program and reset buttons to a safe and accessible spot.
This is the second time team 836 has won this award but not for the same thing.

we won this award twice this year…at the Finger lakes Regional and at the New Jersey regional both times because of our autonomous.

There is also more involved with the award, including our very first autonomous box, that read data from an encoder attached to a fifth wheel, located in the center of the robot, under the arm. The autonomous box helped us create accurate autonomous modes, with very little use of dead reckoning. We usually have gotten a decent auto mode upon the third or fourth attempt because of the simplicity in creating autonomous modes.

To summarize it, this year’s auto modes were waaaaay better than our past two year’s poor attempts at what we call autonomous modes, mostly because of the improvements in controls.