After last season, Team 869 lost quite a few of our technically-experienced students to graduation. Although we are very happy and proud of our graduated team members, we have to start looking to the future and have been brainstorming different ways to help our newer team members get some hands-on practical experience before the actual build season starts.
The mentors from 869 have come up with a plan to implement a preseason challenge that our students will design a robot to compete with. At the same time, we have been trying to formulate a game design that will be cost effective and highly beneficial.
The game we will be playing is called “Think Outside The Box” and seems to meet all of the requirements we set out. The reason I am starting this thread is because we have also implemented an online submission & leader-board system to allow teams from anywhere in the world the opportunity to play the game with us!
Here’s how it would work:
a. Each team will sign up via the registration link on the “Think Outside The Box” page at www.frc869.com.
b. When a team has been officially registered, they may then start design and fabrication of their robotic platform.
c. All teams will compete against one another remotely, via YouTube video submissions.
i. Each team will have to submit a video link no earlier then November 15th and no later then December 14th, 2013. Teams are eligible to submit more then one video submission if they feel they can improve upon their performance.
ii. As video submissions are reviewed and verified, teams will be ranked by their overall score on a leader board (also included at www.frc869.com). The leader board rankings will be updated dynamically so teams can keep track of where they are.
iii. Final rankings will be posted on December 15th, 2013, and the team ranked first overall will be crowned the "winner"
The design rules are also implemented to give the participants some design constraints but also facilitate a cost effective “micro build season”. For example, the only motor and electronic component regulations allow any and all motors and electronic components that are currently or have in the past been FIRST legal to be used. Also, due to the size and scope of the game, wireless communication between the robot and the user interface is not required. In other words, you can use old parts and components that may no longer be FIRST legal. These are just a few of the measures that have been taken to make this an affordable pre season game option.
The game manual we have written for Thinking Outside The Box is also already available and can be downloaded from the “Think Outside The Box” page at www.frc869.com.
I would just also like to reiterate that this is purely a developmental exercise designed to help newer, inexperienced FIRSTers get acclimated with some of the requirements that might present themselves with the build season. It would be great to have some entries from across the country but at this point we are just hoping to have any interest at all. If you have any questions feel free to ask me on this thread or you may email me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing what you guys think!