Robotics Kickoff

Photo Credit: AJ Sklar

Photo Credit: AJ Sklar

Davis Jackson, Writer

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It’s time to dust off that old arcade machine and prepare for First Robotics Competition “Power Up!” Although you will not actually need an arcade game to play, and you may not even own one, this year’s FRC theme sets all the teams in a real life retro-game setting. While the Cistercian robotics team is developing a robot for this year’s competition, here is a quick rundown of the game.

A match consists of two alliances, red and blue, made up of three teams each. They have to work together to defeat the opposing alliance. Each match is split into two main periods: a fifteen-second autonomous period in which robots are only controlled by their code, and a two-minute fifteen-second teleoperated period in which drivers drive their robots via a remote control.

This year’s signature game piece is the “power-cube,” a shiny, neon yellow cube which teams will use to gain control of their “switch” and the “scale.” Each switch is a balance that has a red side and a blue side, per alliance. If your alliance’s side has more cubes (and in the right location) than your opponent, then the switch will tip in your favor and you will earn a point per second! The scale operates in the same way, except it is five feet off the ground.

There are also three “power-ups” known as force, boost, and levitate. These power-ups are activated by and according to the number of power cubes in your “vault”, a place where you can store your cubes in order to receive those power-ups. Force gives your alliance control of your switch, your scale, or both for ten seconds, earning your alliance twenty points. Boost doubles the point value earned from your switch, the scale, or both for ten seconds as long as you control them, for a possible forty points! Finally, levitate gives one free climb to a robot on your alliance.

The last thirty seconds are the “endgame,” in which your alliance’s robots climb up onto a bar almost seven feet off the ground. If your robot has levitate, then it gets points for climbing while remaining on the ground. The other two robots have to squeeze in tight as the bar is only thirteen inches wide.

It’s an exciting new year for robotics, and the game is better than ever. See you six weeks at the tournament!

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