FIGURE 4. An advantage to being small, my robot can drive
under the crossbar pushing the opposition away from scoring
those deadly five rings.
The standard Vex kit comes with all sorts of metal,
gussets, screws, nuts, and electronics. It has a powerful
microcontroller with two PICs built in and a total of 16 I/O
ports, six interrupts, and eight motor ports. The kit
comes with four motors: three continous rotation and
one precision servo. The sensors provided in the kit were a
couple of limit switches and bumper sensors, but I got my
hands on some ultrasonic sensors and some optical
encoders. Everything was easy to program, espicially with
easyC made by Intelitek.
I registered for the Ontario Championship Tournament
which was announced to take place at Woburn C.I. It was
an absolutely great event. All the events I’ve gone to that
are hosted by FIRST are amazing and always fun. The great
part too is that they’re always open and free to the public.
Almost like we were jinxed, we played our first match
FIGURE 6. Me (left) Team Role: Captain, Mechanical, and
Programmer; Derek (middle) Team Role: Coach and Mentor;
Ben (right) Team Role: Part Time Driver.
FIGURE 5. Another team in the pit area,
fixing and tweaking their robot.
against Simbotics, the two-time champion as mentioned
above. We lost ... but not harshly, at least not counting the
score. We were defending against Simbotics and we had
kept them away from the goals and thought we had won.
Unfortunately, as my robot and Simbotic’s robot were
head-to-head, rings already in their arm, their alliance
partner came up and pushed my ‘bot out of the way.
Simbotics raised their deadly arm and put about six rings
on the high goal. Those points put them in winning
position with about two seconds left. They won.
It was still morning though, and there were three more
matches to go until the elimination rounds. Being ranked in
the 30’s, we did not give up hope. We ended up winning
the next three matches putting us in 7th place. Before the
elimination rounds, there were still a few more matches to
finish up. At the end of the qualification round, my team
FIGURE 7. On the practice field, this robot is using a
“conveyor belt” method of picking up the rings, which
works very well and can easily score points.
74 SERVO 06.2008