We are the DevilBotz
Five years ago, we entered the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in hopes of building the foundation of our small but growing robotics team. FRC is a robotics competition in which many countries participate and compete with Gracious Professionalism®. As the FRC season started in January, the team, along with other teams who compete in FRC, kicked into top gear. Every day was a commitment to meet the deadline. During last year’s competition, we competed against 40 other robotics teams. We won some and we lost some but it’s the journey we took, the knowledge that we gained, the friends we made, and the fun we had that counts.
We also have participated in competitions that include FTC, Science Olympiad, and the VEX Bridge Battle. We came in second and got an award for most versatile at the Boston University Vex Bridge Battle Competition in 2008. Although we have committed to the FRC, we may be interested in doing other competitions during post-season.
2016 – STRONGHOLD
Stronghold is a medieval themed competition. Two alliances comprised of three teams, each compete against one another to break down their opponent’s defenses and capture the opposing alliance’s tower. Points can be earned by passing or “breaking down” the opponent’s defenses and then capturing their tower. Each defense can be crossed up to three times. FIRST has also implemented a new rule. Four out of the five defenses on the field can be moved. One of the defenses are chosen and placed through audience selection. The remaining three defenses are chosen by the teams themselves. The tower can be captured by using “boulders”, which can be shot into the high and/or low goals to score points. To completely take over the tower, eight boulders have to be shot into the tower’s goals. Robots have the opportunity to earn more points in the final fifteen seconds of the match by having robots drive up to the tower. The tower is fully captured when all three robots of the alliance drives up to the tower. Additionally, points can be earned if the robots scales the tower in the final seconds.
Stronghold was the team’s most challenging competition to date. At our District competitions in Reading, MA, and UNH in Durham, MA, we competed very well, and finished our Qualification matches high enough to be one of the eight team captains both times, going into the Finals. At UNH we won a Pit Safety Award and the official Team Spirit Award, and our new Pit design was admired by all. We qualified for District Championships and competed in Hartford, CT.
2015 – Recycle Rush
Recycle Rush is a game that integrated environmental concerns into FRC. The game consisted of two opposing alliances, both with three robots each, that tried to stack up to six recycling totes on top of one another on raised platforms. To raise the amount of points received, the totes could be topped with a recycling container. Teams also had the opportunity to higher their score by inserting “litter”, or pool noodles, into the containers. These pool noodles could also be thrown by the human player into their team’s Landfill zone. The match incorporated a new aspect of FIRST known as Coopertition®! Teams were given three yellow totes in addition to their grey totes. The two competing alliances had the opportunity to win an additional forty points each by creating a stack of four totes between their playing field using these yellow totes. This year’s game was also different from previous games because of the separate fields. Teams had to remain on their side for the entirety of the match resulting in robots that were more game oriented.
The DevilBotz did exceptionally this season! Their performance during the district championships held in Reading and Nashua caused them to advance to the regional championships held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Our robot’s ability to stack both containers and totes at a fast pace enabled our team to participate at the FRC World Championships for the first time in our team’s history! This experience, as well as the challenge as a whole, was exceedingly fun!
2014 – Aerial Assist
Aerial Assist is also played by two competing Alliances of three robots on a flat field. The field is, however, is straddled by a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor. The objective is to score as many balls in the goal as possible during a 2 minute and 30 seconds. The more the Alliances work together and score the ball in their goals, the more points their Alliance receives.
Aerial Assist demonstrated what our team was truly capable of. In both competitions we entered, the DevilBotz were chosen to enter the finals. Our robot performed consistently, and it did the job we made it to do flawlessly. This challenge was centered around teamwork, as the more a team passed to their alliances members, in different zones, the more points the alliance received once they shot the ball into either a 1 point or a 10 point goal. Our robot could shoot in the 1 point goal only, so the team’s strategies with our alliances partners allowed us to soar. It was an extraordinary year for the team!
2013 – Ultimate Ascent
Ultimate Ascent is played by two competing alliances on a flat, 27 x 54 foot field. Each Alliance consists of three robots, and they compete to score as many discs into their goals as they can during a 2 minute and 15 second match. The higher the goal in which the disc is scored, the more points the Alliance receives. The match begins with a 15 second Autonomous Period in which robots operate independently of driver inputs. Discs scored during this period are also worth additional points. In this competition, the match ends with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field. Each robot earns points based on how high it climbs.
Ultimate Ascent was a huge success for the DevilBotz! During this challenge, the team was chosen to perform in the finals. We created an amazing scouting process that put us in many teams’ good graces and greatly assisted our drivers. The challenge was shooting Frisbees into slots above the player stations. In the final seconds, teams had the option to climb their alliance’s pyramids and dump Frisbees onto the top of the structure. This is our smallest robot to date, which was an advantage in navigating the field during this year. Our robot’s simplicity lead to our success, and our involvement in the finals made other teams aware of our presence on the field.
2012 – Rebound Rumble
Rebound Rumble is played by two competing Alliances on a flat field. Each Alliance consists of three robots, which compete to score as many basketballs into their hoops as they can during a 2 minute and 15 second match. The higher the hoop is on the field, the more points the Alliance will receive when they score in that particular hoop.
Rebound Rumble was our team’s first experience in the finals! Our robot rose through ranks and earned a position as a default robot in the finals. Unfortunately for one of the alliances, one of their fellow robots broke down, and they needed us to step in. While we empathized with the robot that broke, we were ecstatic to get the chance to aid our alliance in their final matches. This challenge consisted of shooting basketballs into hoops that differed in height. As the end of the match neared, different alliances worked together to balance their robots on a teetering bridge. The exposure to the finals drove our team to aim higher and lead to success in our future.
2011 – Logomotion
Logomotion is played by two competing alliances on a flat 27’ x 54’ foot field. Each alliance consists of three robots, which compete to hang as many inflated plastic shapes (triangles, circles, and squares) on their grids as they can during a 2 minute and 15 second match. The higher the teams hang their game pieces on their scoring grid, the more points their alliance receives. The match begins with one 15-second Autonomous Period in which robots operate independently of driver inputs and must hang Ubertubes to score extra points. For the rest of the match, drivers control robots and try to maximize their alliance score by hanging as many logo pieces as possible. Any logo piece hung on the same peg as an Ubertube receives double points.
Logomotion was FIRST’s 20th FRC challenge. The game pieces were the FIRST logo in honor of the event, and the robot had to place them on pegs that earned your team more points the higher the peg that the inflatable game piece was placed on. In the final seconds of the round, the robots had the option to deploy an FTC mini-bot that climbed up a pole for many extra points. This was the first year our team decided to use pneumatics. We also had an impressive electrical board. We found that executing a robot that has the ability to complete every task was an enormous challenge, and it was an eye-opening experience, one that would guide the team for years to come.
2010 – Breakaway
Two alliances of three teams each compete on a 27′ x 54′ field with bumps attempting to earn points by collecting soccer balls in their goals. Additional bonus points are earned for each robot not touching the field at the end of the match. Robots may not possess more than one ball at a time, but they may herd and kick multiple balls at a time. Balls must remain in contact with the floor while in robot’s possession. Also only one robot at a time is permitted to play defense in front of the opponent’s goals.
Breakaway has a special place in our hearts because many of you may remember the Devil’s Barbecue, the name the announcer gave to our robot during this competition. This was the year we won the Jack Kamen imagery award, due to our striking robot, carefully painted shipping crate, and matching t-shirts. The challenge was basically robot soccer. The interesting part was the bonus challenge, where robots had to suspend themselves from the ball return rack. It was amazing to see what the teams came up with, and it was an experience the DevilBotz will never forget!
2009 – Lunacy
Announced on January 3, 2009, the name and some of the features of the game honor the 40th anniversary of the first manned mission to the Moon. This is the first FRC competition to use the crio Mobile Device Controller control system from National Instruments. Lunacy is played on a rectangular field that is 54′ by 27′. There are 6 robots on the field at a time, 3 on the red alliance and 3 on the blue alliance. Each team consists of 4 players: 2 drivers, a coach and a human player. Robots have to fit within a 38″ by 28″ footprint, be less than or equal to 60″ tall, and weigh under or equal to 120 pounds. The goal of the game is to score as many of the game pieces in the opposing side’s trailers as possible. Robots start out in front of the opposite alliances’ human players.
- Moon Rocks (Orange and Purple) — 120 available — 2 pts each
- Empty Cells (Orange and Blue) — Up to 8 — 2 pts each
- Super Cells (Green and Purple) — Up to 8 — 15 pts each
Lunacy was our team’s rookie year, as demonstrated by our white shirts. Posed with an interesting challenge our first year, the surface was a low friction laminate designed to simulate the lunar surface. The robot had to drag a trailer while depositing “moon rocks” in the opposing alliances trailers. We learned a lot our rookie year, and it was a solid starting point for our future in FIRST!