Flights of Fancy

It’s brainstorming, blue-sky, what-if, no **** way, suspension of disbelief, Harry Potter, and Tinker Bell time.

In this thread, please post your wild, far-out fantasy robots for specific FRC games. I have three all ready to go, so this will hit four posts really fast to give you an idea what I have in mind.

This thread was originally inspired by a post I saw today which spoke of four tethered quadcopters. Since there are only sixteen breakers on the one Power Distribution Panel this year, and that each quadcopter requires four independent rotors, I realized as I was driving home that the robot would have to either

  • Be solely a “bird farm”, serving as a base station for quadcopters
  • Or have some design feature that was totally “outside the box”
  • Or both

So, it’s on. Here are the rules:

  • Post your own ideas, or raise the ante
    on existing ideas. Don’t pick apart the ideas you see here - the idea is to have fun! As stated in Animal House: “Forget it, he’s rolling” (warning: don’t google that phrase if you are sensitive to ribald language).
  • If your idea wouldn’t have made the referees pull out the rule book, you’re definitely missing the point.
  • If your idea is 100% sure to have been found in compliance with the rules, you’re almost certainly missing the point.

The Game is Afoot!

Name: Johnny Five
Game: Recycle Rush 2015
Abstract: “I programmed me” and tethered quad copters
Inspiration: A post I saw today, and Short Circuit

  • A robot starts in the area between the Auto Zone and Landfill.
    - As autonomous begins, it launches four tethered quadcopters to go snag the four RCs on the step, using passive “claws” attached to the underside of each 'copter.
    - (Note that all 16 breakers are being used, since a quadcopter requires 4 independent motors!) The 'copters carry the RCs into the auto zone.
    - Three of the 'copters then proceed to the staging areas to bring a tote back, stacks them, and returns. The fourth flies back to the main chassis.
    - All of this is coordinated by cameras on the “mother ship,” which simultaneously rumbles along a three-foot trek into the auto zone powered by rotary pneumatic actuators.
    - As each 'copter returns from delivering its payload, it lands in its launch bay, which triggers a series of servos that pull out some Anderson connectors and push in others.
    - Other servos do the same with breakers, as we have switched to larger wires that don’t have to serve as tethers.
    - One quadcopter is kept in service to do “noodle duty”, which it performs not at the HP station, but by snagging noodles thrown over the alliance wall.
    - Any that it perceives will not make it into the opposing alliance’s work area are snagged and stuffed into an RC.
    - Meanwhile, in the first 60 seconds of tele-op, the main robot (which has two lifts, one optimized for upright totes, the other optimized for inverted totes) has quickly cleared the landfill and step of totes, and stacked them on the back scoring platform, topping them with noodled RCs.
    - In the latter 75 seconds, it picks up any totes from the HP station that its alliance partners couldn’t get, and stacks them as well.

Name: Kiwi Tricopter Ballbot
Game: Aerial Assist 2014
Abstract: The name says it all
Inspiration: The whole Ballbot concept, plus the Kiwi drive, plus the quadcopter

  • The KTB is probably one of the lightest FIRST robots you’re likely to see, because it is a tricopter.
    - No, not a quadcopter, but a tricopter. It’s sort of like going from a Killough to a Kiwi - three fans is enough to provide whatever control you want.
    - In addition to the tricopter, KTB has a traditional kiwi drive which can actually function on the carpet if the need arises, but it’s really meant to perch atop the ball.
    - KTB can’t throw the ball over the goal, nor can it score a high goal, but it’s a killer white zone player.
    - KTB waits [that is, hovers] on the goal side of the truss for a ball to come over.
    - When one does, it rotates onto its side and “catches” the ball in its kiwi drive. It then rotates and lowers to the floor.
    • Balancing on the ball, it drives the ball directly into its scoring partner, and flies away awaiting the next ball.

Name: Fezzik
Game: Ultimate Ascent 2013
Abstract: Nothin’ but muscle and heart
Inspiration: The Princess Bride

  • Fezzik doesn’t bother with those frisbee things. But when you need to climb, he can take three other robots with him. OK, two.
    - Fezzik doesn’t even have wheels. He sits there for the first two minutes of the match waiting. OK, he lowers two decks and hitches himself to the pyramid.
    • Then, when his two alliance partners drive onto the decks he’s lowered, he pulls them close, straps them in, and does an outside climb.
    • Oh, did I mention that the climb is pneumatically powered from a 10-gallon air tank that’s been filling since the end of the last match?
    • Anyway, there’s enough stored air to raise about 400 pounds of robot 62" off the ground in about ten seconds.
    • Bonus:
      [LIST] - The refs freak out when they try to figure out how to get that monstrosity down.
    • Then, about 30 seconds after endgame, some capacitors have leaked enough current through their resistors to let some solenoids go into spring return.
      *]The alliance partners drift slowly to earth, and only Fezzik has to be lifted off of the pyramid.
1 Like

Emphasis mine
While I don’t have any ideas, I will point out that you can have a variable pitch quadcopter, where acceleration is controlled by ONE motor and the pitch/yaw is controlled via servos.

Name: The Black Hole
Game: Aim High 2006
Abstract: Broad side of a barn
Inspiration: Changing a vehicle’s oil
Robot climbs ramp, parks directly in front of high goal. It lifts a ridiculously large funnel, mounted about 30* from horizontal, with the spout leading into the goal. Human players and robots then have a ~10 ft diameter target to aim at in order to score.

Can you point me to a picture or description of that? All the quadcopters I’ve seen control pitch and yaw by varying fan speed, not through traditional control surfaces.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Technically made for acrobatics, but single motor powered quadcopter nonetheless.

The Ultimate Death Cycle Machine
Game: Aerial Assist
Inspiration: The 8 seed alliance from Archimedes, Team 900’s robot
Abstract: The ultimate finisher and trusser all in one. Three of this robot could win einstein without trying hard.

  • Extremely tall robot with a high-arcing unblockable shot (like Team 900 from 2014).
  • The catapult is angled such that when the robot is in the corner in front of the opponent’s low goal, the catapult is pointed directly at the human player on the opposite side of the truss
  • That same angled high arcing shot is also a slightly angled fender shot (like 148’s fender shot)
  • The robot has a large catching funnel (similar to 1918’s, but perhaps made of some sort of fabric) such that the human player could easily and consistently human load the robot when the robot is in position to make its fender shot.
  • The robot has a roller ball pickup mechanism that manages to lift all the way from the floor to the top of the catapult. The mechanism is at least quick enough to hit a 2 ball auto.
  • This machine can either sit by the human player station and truss the ball unblockably to the human player, sit in the corner in front of the low goal and unblockably finish with human-loaded fender shots, or deploy its traction pads and sit next to the human player on the far side for a passback in the white zone.
  • Essentially a combination of 900, 177, and 624

Upping the ante:

*]The robot has a large catching funnel and a camera that tracks an incoming ball to automatically catch a truss shot while staying in the white zone.

Not really a true quadcopter, but yes, that would otherwise fill the robot description, using fewer breakers.

And that makes it the perfect white zone robot as well!