This year's competition was announced on kickoff day to be "Steamworks". The theme behind Steamworks is based roughly on the style of art known as "steampunk". Steampunk focuses on the idea of a society solely dependent on steam, without any traces of electricity. It draws inspiration from the Victorian era, and features elements such as gears, pipes, pressure gauges, and lots of copper and bronze. Similarly, Steamworks focuses on the idea of an airship and the effort required to take flight.
The game has three main objectives. These objectives include fueling the airship, completing the gear sets to make its mechanics function, and finally, grabbing hold to prepare for liftoff! To fuel the airship, teams first have to collect balls on the playing field. From there, they have to launch them into fuel hoppers located at two out the four corners of the field. Second, teams have to collect gears. These gears are obtained at the other two corners of the field from human players who drop them through chutes into the robots. Then once they have collected a gear, robots have to insert the gear onto a peg on an airship tower, located in the center of the field (once the gear is on the peg, human players aboard the towers pull the gear up and then place into one of the gear sets on the top of the tower). Finally in the last 30 seconds, human players on the towers lower ropes and each robot has to climb the rope and activate a pressure sensor for at least three seconds. This year, team 4203 decided to focus specifically on gear collection and climbing.
2017 was a successful year! After many weeks of tireless work, team 4203 made the trek to Troy, NY for the 2017 Tech Valley Regional Competition. Thursday, March 16th we arrived at RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) and began setup in the pit and final touches on this year's bot. Slightly behind schedule, practice matches began later that afternoon where we tested out how well "Epimetheus" could stand its ground against others.
Friday, March 17th, marked the first day of official competition. It began with opening ceremonies and speeches from multiple executives from corporations that sponsor the competition. Soon after, we kicked it off with the first of 72 qualification matches. Matches continued throughout the day, with Robokronos bouncing around the leaderboards but generally doing well. Our drivers, Andrew M., Dakota D., Kadin G., as well as our field player Abby D. worked hard all day and did a great job piloting the bot, even with the added difficulty of a few technical issues.
Saturday, March 18th, the final day of competition, saw once again a brief opening ceremony, and the resuming of qualification matches. At the conclusion of the final match, Robokronos ranked 15th out of 36 teams total. Later, we were selected by alliance #7. We competed well, but unfortunately were knocked out in the quarterfinal round. However, that was not the end of the excitement for team 4203. At the conclusion of the competition, we were named the winner of the 2017 Tech Valley Regional Team Spirit award!
In the end, all team members agreed that 2017 was a successful year. We applied many of the lessons we learned in years past and made lots of progress. We are all looking forward to an exciting summer, as well as the 2018 competition!