The Olympia Robotics Federation (ORF), OSD’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, competed in their second Washington State Qualifier this past weekend. The team, number 4450, is tackling the 2014 FRC game, Aerial Assist (see this game animation), which was announced on Jan 4, 2014 – kicking off a 6 weeks Build Season for the team. The second Auburn Qualifier was held Thursday, March 27 through Saturday, March 29 at Auburn High School.
On Thursday evening the team worked through several technical issues (including a surprise mandatory replacement of a recalled pneumatic air tank) in order to pass all the required inspections. This left time for only two 15 minute rounds on the practice field for the team. Friday was devoted to qualifying matches and ORF delivered a strong performance, ending the first day of competition in sixth place out of the field of 36 teams. This got ORF on everyone’s radar as the top ranked sophomore team. The team’s decision to fabricate and give away “tribbles” as part of the emerging Star Trek-ish theme proved to be a huge hit, with 4450 tribbles quickly becoming the must-have item at the event.
On Saturday, ORF played three more qualify matches, winning two out of three in the increasingly aggressive game play. Team 4450 ended the qualifying matches in 7th place, earning them a spot as the captain of an alliance during elimination rounds. Through the alliance selection process, ORF ended up being captain of the 4th seeded alliance and chose their two partners for the playoffs. The ORF alliance won their quarter-final round with a convincing 2-0 victory in the best two-out-of-three playoff round. Unfortunately, this put them up against the #1 seeded alliance (and eventual tournament champions) in the semi-finals, where the ORF alliance lost two hard fought matches. A complete summary of the scoring from ORF’s first competition is available on this site.
The team earned qualifying points for each victory at the event, and these points combined with those from their first Washington State Qualifier determine if ORF qualified for the Pacific Northwest District (PNW) Championships. Additionally, during the award ceremony, ORF won the ‘Spirit” award, largely for the contribution their “tribble” campaign made in ensuring this was a fun and memorable event of all. This award and the “Innovation” award they won in their first qualifier added to their game-play point total, giving ORF at total 88 points – guaranteeing them a berth at the FRC Pacific Northwest District Championships in Portland on April 10-12. The weekly-updated PNW rankings are available on this site.
This second successful competition was the payoff for may long and hard hours of preparation during the 6 week build season which ended on February 18. The team split into several working groups to tackle the challenge, putting to work the skills they developed during the off-season. ORF is working with pneumatics for the first time (see photo at right) as part of their design solution. This video shows an early test of the revised ball pick-up system, while this video shows an early test of the pneumatically power ball launcher. The team successfully integrated and tested all the systems by working through the 4 day Mid-Winter Break period. This video contains a compilation of photos over the Build Season and videos of the completed robot, named Ibex.
ORF has already begun preparation for the Pacific Northwest District Championships at Veteran’s Coliseum in Portland on April 10 – 12. Spectators are welcome and encouraged to attend and cheer on ORF during match play on April 11 and 12. The team continues their concerted fundraising efforts to cover the high cost of travel and competition expense for their post-season run. If you, or someone you know, is interested in supporting/sponsoring the team, check out this STEM Pals Funding Need page.