Competitions

FIRST Team Wins with Unusual Drive Train

Posted 23 Mar 2009 at 22:37 UTC by steve Share This

Foster Schucker wrote to let us know what was up with FIRST team 1640 aka Team Sab-BOT-age: "The team won the Rockwell Control Award this weekend at the FIRST competition at the US Naval Academy." An unusual robot drive train was cited by the judges as contributing to their win.

The robot (DEWBot V) possesses a novel dual-mode drive-train which alternates between a 6-wheel drive tank and a unique 3 wheel drive pivot mode. This is achieved by adding a 7th Wheel at the back center of the robot oriented at right angle to the 6 main drive wheels. When driving normally, the 7th Wheel is held above the playing surface and does not affect driving. When the need to brake or turn quickly arises, however, the Driver can almost instantly drop and activate the 7th Wheel, lifting the rear four traditional wheels off the playing surface. This drive-train provides exceptional agility with intuitive control.

Team 1640 is made up of members from Downington West and East High Schools in Downington, Pennsylvania. The team members worked together with mentors with a range of technology expertise. Read on for all the details from Schucker's news release.

Downingtown’s Robotic Team 1640 wins the Rockwell Automation Innovation in Control Award at Annapolis

Robotics team 1640 (Team Sab-BOT-age) was awarded Rockwell’s Automation Innovation in Control Award at the FIRST’s Chesapeake Regional in Annapolis Maryland of Friday, 19-March.

In presenting this award, the Judges cited a number of innovative design and control features, including the team’s unconventional approach to mathematics: 6 + 1 = 3.

The robot (DEWBot V) possesses a novel dual-mode drive-train which alternates between a 6-wheel drive tank and a unique 3 wheel drive pivot mode. This is achieved by adding a 7th Wheel at the back center of the robot oriented at right angle to the 6 main drive wheels. When driving normally, the 7th Wheel is held above the playing surface and does not affect driving. When the need to brake or turn quickly arises, however, the Driver can almost instantly drop and activate the 7th Wheel, lifting the rear four traditional wheels off the playing surface. This drive-train provides exceptional agility with intuitive control.

The team designed a field-settable autonomous operation; the programmed mode which controls the robot during the initial 15 seconds of each match. Two switches on DEWBot, can be set to provide 6 different autonomous routines, keeping opposing players guessing.

Team 1640 also employs the vision system to detect when the turret’s shooter is aimed at an opponent’s trailer. Blue lights around the turret flash when a target is acquired. The Operator also has a “cry wolf!” button to lead opponents to think DEWBot has a lock on them.

Clem McKown, team 1640’s Head Mentor remarked that “The team has shown remarkable ingenuity in coming up with solutions to FIRST’s 2009 Lunacy game challenges. The team also works together with the understanding that innovation is a team effort. Each of the innovations cited by the awarding judges was the result of cooperative effort.”

FIRST Robotics team 1640 is made up of students from Downingtown East and West High Schools, working together with mentors drawn from a range of technology disciplines. The team is based out of the Downingtown Educational Center in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. The team was founded in 2005 by Paul Sabatino, a Honors Physics teacher at Downingtown East. For more information concerning team 1640, contact the team at DewbotRobot@yahoo.com.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest in science and technology. FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life-skills.

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