[FRC Blog] Robots of Unusual Size (R.O.U.S.)

Posted on the FRC Blog, 1/16/15: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/blog-Robots-of-Unusual-Size-ROUS

Robots of Unusual Size (R.O.U.S.)

**Blog Date: **Friday, January 16, 2015 - 11:06


As you know, there are fewer restrictions on robot size this year than there have been in the past. The Game Design Committee was able to greatly open up our traditional on-field size restrictions because of the split nature of the game, as robots are not able to cross that center step. In Recycle Rush, if you give your robot a large footprint, you are more likely to get in the way of your fellow alliance members, or accidentally knock down scored totes, potentially leading to lower scores. But, robots with a larger footprint have more room for mechanisms and are potentially less likely to tip. We hope you view this trade off as an interesting part of the design challenge. And we’re very curious to see what sizes and shapes your robots will take this season!

Before you release the kraken with a large robot, though, make sure to give thought to a few things. In addition to potentially being so large you could cause trouble for your alliance mates, think about how you will get your robot to the required transport configuration size per rule T6, and also how you will ship your robot. Even if you are currently planning to attend only local events, every robot that goes to the *FIRST *Championship must be shipped, so if you want to make it to the big dance this year – and I would guess most of you do – please think ahead. Your robot needs to fit, one way or another, into a crate made to these requirements.

Those aren’t the only sizing issues to consider, though. We’ve seen some chatter that teams may be considering using rope or other flexible devices to corral game pieces. Provided all required rules are met, this is fine, but remember that those flexible devices are considered part of your robot, and when put on the field, robots (all parts of them) must meet the requirements of rule G7. This means you can’t, for example, have a rope connected to your robot resting on top of game pieces at the start of the match. At the start, robots must be fully supported by the floor, the scoring platform, or the ramps leading to the scoring platform, and game pieces are none of these.

Don’t let these considerations dissuade you from thinking creatively about how you may make good use of those less limited size restrictions, though! Please just make sure you’ve carefully considered all the angles on this one. With great power comes great responsibility.*

New Chairman’s Award Resources

Along with working on your robot, I’m hoping you’re working on your Chairman’s Award. We’ve got some new resources to share here.

Team 1114, Simbotics, from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, winners of the 2012 Chairman’s Award at Championship, have graciously allowed us to post information on a Chairman’s Award seminar they presented as part of their Simbotics Seminar Series. See Karthik talk about what it takes, and download the pdf of his presentation. The seminar is about two hours long, but if you are serious about Chairman’s Award, it’s well worth the investment. Thanks, Simbotics, for these great resources!

Also, wondering how our current Chairman’s Award winners, Team 27, Team RUSH, from Clarkston, MI, USA, came out on top in 2014? Check out the resources they have shared. You can see a video of the Chairman’s Award presentation they made to judges, their Chairman’s Award video itself, and a copy of the handout they used at events. At the back of this handout, under ‘Chairman’s Mini-Essays’, you will see the essays that were part of their formal Chairman’s submission through the system, along with the photos they submitted. Please keep in mind this is just one example of how a team was successful in their Chairman’s Award quest. There are other approaches, as well, that may earn you that most prestigious of all FRC awards. Thanks, Team RUSH, for sharing!

Hope you’re having a great build season!


*Trying to cram as many decade-or-more-old cultural references into this one blog as possible.

Robots of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist…

Though we have our plans all laid out, and are not pursuing a ROUS, I think it would be cool to see a robot with a tethered rover of some sort.

Let the PB references begin; in the meantime I call for a poll.

Robots of Unusual Size???

Inconceivable !!

In VEX land the robots start off being 18" x 18" x 18" and then can grow. There have been some amazing robots that unfolded their wheel bases to become 24" square bases. That helps in keeping the centers low. (Look for Green Egg Robotics)

We even saw “Wall Bots” with 12’ extensions to keep other teams from driving by. Not applicable in this game but if you think of a 18" robot flinging out 72" of wings on both sides it’s pretty amazing.

I’m looking forward to seeing these “drive system in a pod” teams to flop drives outside the base to allow them to pick up 6 totes without needing 60 lbs of counter balance because they have such a wide wheel base. Mecanum and swerve drive teams have the lead in this area.

Plus that entire “do what you can in 60 seconds” part is great. I know when I built our new laundry room with Ikea flat pack kits I spent less than that assembling it. (*) So that adds an additional realm of possibilities.

Looking forward to the first week of event. BTW, where is “Looking Forward”? I think LF would be jumping on predicting the most unusual game in the last decade.

Has anybody considered building a robot that fits in the transportation configuration by standing it on end like a pre-2009 flop-bot?


Granted, it would only need to be used for transportation, so you wouldn’t get the impressive flop at the start of the match, but they were still cool. The best variant I have seen was the 179 machine from 2003, but that would be completely impractical this year.

I’m hoping we can do this, keep the robot height under 42" when any arms or elevators are down so that we can leave the tote grabbing mechanism permanently mounted and just move the bot around on its back side. I think this won’t be all that uncommon as one way of satisfying the Transport Configuration constraints.

Looking Forward is never late, nor is it early. It posts precisely when it means to.