BEST Robotics – Weeks 2 & 3
In Weeks 2 and 3, our team continued working on building the field, prototyping using the game pieces, and analyzing the scoring opportunities to shape our strategy. At this point, we’ve only been meeting twice a week (and had to cancel last Thursday), so we’ve only had three meetings since our last update.
As mentioned in the last post, the BEST practice field and associated drawings provide a great tool to teach new students how to read drawings and use shop tools. The field is mostly complete now!
Strategy planning began. As a rough sort, we have identified the water valve to be a “must do” based on its relative ease, high score, and low time to execute. After that, we believe seed planting is attractive despite its lower “per item” score because we can envision a mechanism to rapidly plant 10-12 seeds at a time. Between the water valve and seeds, we believe we should be able to score 300-340 points per match consistently.
After completing those two tasks, the corn becomes the next most obvious, with the “seed bonus” creating a 50 point score per ear that we can get into our team bin. Our initial testing shows we can get 6-8 ears into the bin fairly reliably, before we start bouncing a few into the community bin. After that, roughly 25-50% fall into the team bin until a maximum capacity of 12-15 ears. We could certainly get more with perfect stacking, but are not sure how to accomplish that within the rules.
Finally, the tomatoes and lettuce certainly look doable, and the 50(x4) point harvest bonus is attractive. We won’t rule them out yet, but we really need to advance our prototypes to understand how much time will remain after filling our team bin with corn (if any). The picture below shows some early prototype concepts to understand how much force is required to free a game piece, as well as how to capture it after releasing.