GAME & KIT COMMITTEE

The game and kit subcommittee had by far the greatest work to do in organizing OCCRA.  It has been suggested that, for future seasons, this committee be split into two different committees with a representative from each subcommittee sitting on the other to facilitate communication.  This group had to decide on a kit of parts and game to be played.  They had to identify what parts would be included in the kits that teams were to build their machines from and then identify sources for those kit parts.  Members of this subcommittee solicited donations of kit materials and were frequently successful.  When they were unable to get a part donated, they had to dicker with vendors to get the orders straight and make sure that the parts supplied met the necessary specifications.  They had to look for the best values and to negotiate the best possible deals with all suppliers.   They had to work with the Ways and Means subcommittee to order the necessary equipment and to see to it that everything “went through channels” properly.  (Be assured: when you are working with large bureaucracies the channels are many and varied!)  This subcommittee had to prototype the control system boxes and arrange for all of the packaging and distribution logistics.  They had to oversee the construction of all materials that were assembled for the kits.  They had to write up a rulebook for both the building of the robot and for the game itself. (See Appendix F for game rules and Appendix G for the list of additional hardware.)  They had to decide upon what other building materials would be necessary and sufficient, and then draw up an additional materials list.  They seldom slept.


            The most important and expensive part of the kit was the control system.  The subcommittee decided to use the Innovation FirstTM controllers currently used by FIRST teams because the controllers had a very reliable track record and would allow OCCRA robots the same capabilities as FIRST robots.  By working with these controllers, students who later became part of FIRST teams would have a greater understanding of the workings of their machines and better able to contribute to the design, maintenance and, eventually, programming of their robots.  Although the chosen controllers had input and programming capability, the group decided that programming and the use of input readings would be excluded the first year so as not to overwhelm new teams.  During OCCRA 2000, inputs were allowed in the form of limit switches.  For OCCRA 2002, we will be allowing programming of the robots.  Teams that do not wish to program can still be competitive by using the default program that comes with the controller.


The subcommittee decided to take a suggestion from a local FIRST team that had created kits of their own: the on-board robot control system was packaged in a plastic box for all of the OCCRA teams.  Teams were forbidden by the rules to alter any of the parts or connections within the box.  Putting the entire control system into a single box was done for several reasons:  (1) the contained, protected nature of the arrangement meant that the control systems would be less likely to be damaged during competition.  With a price tag of around $1,200 for the entire Innovation FirstTM system, this was no trivial concern.  (2) Inspections and troubleshooting were greatly simplified.  (3) Teams new to competitive robotics would find it much easier to get started; all they had to do was click on the 12V battery’s cable, clip two of the output leads onto a motor, plug in the operator’s controller and “PRESTO”, the motor was running.  The system was very intuitive but well explained by a  manual expressly written for OCCRA teams.


It was agreed that the kits needed to be kept low in cost but rich enough in motors, speed controllers, etc. to allow for robust robots and exciting competitions.  An additional hardware list was devised so that all teams would have access to the same materials   The group decided to use… (INCOMPLETE)

 

 

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