Missions and Strategy
Over the course the season we have changed our strategy from doing a loop of 6 missions to our current mission list based on our robot design, trial runs and experience. Since we were a rookie team, our focus before pre-qualifier was to get one or two missions, M13 and M10, perfect before adding the other missions. After the pre-qualifier, with more confidence and experience we added more missions. We focused on missions that required pushing motions which is our strength.
We are now doing 5 separate runs to complete 6 missions for a possible total of 108 points. We rearranged our missions to make it more efficient, starting with the mission the most time consuming attachment and ending with a bonus mission to run if we had time.
We recorded data from trial runs throughout the season to analyze reliability and efficiency. This helped us modify our strategy. An example is Mid-season, data showed M13 and M10 getting more inconsistent. Help from another team in VA plus our own research gave us several solutions and new trial runs showed we were on the right track for fixing it.
Design 1 - Tank Bot
Design 2 - Custom Concept
Design 3 - DroidBot Jr. base with custom front end
Design 4 - NovaBot with attachments
Design 5 - Final Design - NovaBot 2.0
As you can see our robot design has evolved over the season. We used LEGO Digital Designer to make a virtual model of our robot, NovaBot 2.0. Our final design consists of 309 bricks and includes 4 attachments, a carrying system, and a jig for alignment. Novabot has front wheel drive powered by two large motors. We all contributed equally to the robot, taking turns sharing ideas and building.
Our favorite parts of the robot are the structure and front end, because it makes our robot stronger and provides secure areas for the attachments to be placed. We feel the front end is also one of our most innovative parts, because we designed it to not only complete two missions, but also it includes a fail-safe feature for M10, ensuring it will not over push. For better handling, our design includes a handle, which also acts as a rest for the Tilt Arm attachment when it’s not in use. Our other favorite innovative part is the Carrying System. We thought long and hard about how to deliver the satellites and came up with several ideas, but after a vote, we decided to design and build a cart to load the stats and carry them to the Outer Orbit. For fun and to show our creativity, we added LEGO eyes!
This is our first year as a FIRST LEGO League team. Our team members all had prior coding experience, but had little to no experience with the LEGO Mindstorms programming language. As a rookie team, we chose to complete missions with pushing motions using forward rotations. After several weeks of experimentation with it, we arrived at our first code. It was a short and efficient, intended to complete M13 and M10.
Between our first code and our pre-qualifier, the only major change was switching our move blocks from seconds to rotations to improve accuracy at low battery levels. Another important change came when we got feedback on our code from another FLL team, the Ruling Robot Falcons. Based on these suggestions, we set our code blocks from coast to brake at end and slowed turns and approaches to missions to prevent too much variability. After our qualifiers, we modified our axles to improve our accuracy. This required us to modify the code, by altering the angles and distances in our move blocks.