A buzz of excitement ran through the room where students, alumni, and mentors stood clustered near the TV, eagerly awaiting an impending webcast from FIRST. After several freezes with the live feed and the long introduction that kept us in suspense, the 2015 challenge was announced: Recycle Rush.
Recycle Rush is a game where two teams composed of three robots work to stack totes on scoring platforms, which are a couple inches off the ground. For extra points, teams may place recycling bins on top of these stacks, earning even more points if a pool noodle is in or on the bin. During the autonomous period, robots are preprogrammed to score by moving bins and recycling bins into the auto zone. If the totes are stacked, extra points are scored. In the teleop period, robots are controlled by human drivers as they attempt to make up to 6-tote high stacks. Unlike previous games, this game has a step in the middle that divides the field in half, not allowing alliances to play defense against each other.
After the challenge was announced, our team quickly broke off into smaller subgroups and started reading the game manual and brainstorming strategies and robot designs. A little while later, we all got together and presented our ideas. Working cohesively, our team came up with a strategy and general robot design.