The New York City Regional has a very special place in our hearts. It’s our hometown tournament, and it’s where all our friends are. There’s nothing better than having 3 days of robot action with the friends we’ve made throughout the years. From the years at the Javits Center to the current location at the Armory Track, the NYC Regional has always brought forth fun times, amazing robots, and an opportunity to mingle with international teams.
Coming off our Quarterfinals loss at the Hudson Valley Regional, we had plans on making an improved hatch intake mechanism. We found that we were spending way too much time getting the robot aligned, and thus losing valuable cycles. “Borrowing” some ideas from a number of teams who had built self-correcting intakes, we redesigned our hatch intake to include approximately 20 degrees of float, which let the driver get away with imperfect alignment, and still manage to obtain/release a hatch panel. We also added limit switches on the intake arms that allowed us to automatically engage the hatch intake claw when the intake was flush against a hatch panel. This led to immediate speedups in pickup times since the operator no longer had to manually engage the claw.
We also adjusted the position of our Limelight camera to ensure more accurate tracking of the vision targets. A couple of hours of testing later (and a couple hundred lines of code later) we had a fairly robust method to track and automatically dock with the various vision targets.
The days before the Regional were also spent packing supplies and manufacturing backup pieces for the new hatch intake. Our CNC machine got quite the workout!
The first day of a Regional is a practice day, where teams unbag their robots, add any additional mechanisms they may have brought in, and send their robot in to get inspected for play. We had quite a bit of work to do on the robot, including installing the new hatch intake, moving the cameras around, and replacing broken pulleys for the elevator. We got that all done and inspected by 11am (phew!). The rest of the day was spent running practice matches and getting the robot dialed in.
Qualifications Day 1
In addition to the first day of qualification matches, we also took over the NYC FIRST Instagram account! Mentors Kat and Dan were running around adding awesome content on Instagram and generally upping our social media game.
We also drew the first match of the day, which meant an extra early start! We were up against our old friends, Team 1880 - The Warriors of East Harlem, and as is tradition, a ton of trash talking was done. Unfortunately, we lost that first match :( Our next match had us partnered up with 1880, which is always a fun time. We also had Team 7552- Make 1 Robot, a rookie team from Shanghai, as our alliance partner. This second match was awesome, and we set the (till then) event high score of 90 points. We lost two more matches on Saturday, but finished the day sitting in 14th place.
Apart from the action on field, our scouts also teamed up with the scouts from Team 2579 - LIC RoboDogs to gather match data on all the robots on field. The RoboDogs had a pretty cool system of using a scantron sheet to help scout. Following the conclusion of the day’s matches, both teams adjourned to the Bloomberg offices for an evening of poring over scouting data and coming up with our respective pick lists for the next day.
Qualification Day 2 + Playoffs
The first match of Day 2 was a match where we were paired up with the #1 seed, Team 1796 - The RoboTigers. We were also going up against another of our old friends, Team 333 - The Megalodons. 333 and us have a great relationship, as two of their mentors used to be mentors on our team. After a healthy dose of ribbing and trash talking, we won the match, although the opposing alliance did not make it easy.
We ended qualifications with a final match against the RoboTigers, which we somehow managed to win, and propelled us to 8th place, which guaranteed us a playoff berth! Frantic messages over Slack were exchanged between the drive team and the head scout about pick lists and other important decisions. When alliance selection came around, 1880, who was the 4th seed, picked us, and we gratefully accepted. We also added Team 3419 - The RoHawks to round out our alliance as a defensive robot.
We had a tough quarterfinal against Team 6401 - The 8-Bit RAMs, who was arguably the best defensive robot in the competition. We won the first match, but the 5th seed managed to eke out a 2 point advantage over us in the second match, bringing us to a tie breaker. 6401 broke from their usual routine of waiting till the halfway point of the match to come over and defend, and instead charged right over after the sandstorm lifted. We had a tough fight, but managed to get the win. Huge shoutout to 6401 and their alliance partners Team 7004 and Team 4383 for giving us a run for our money!
Now the bad thing about being the 4th seed is that we had to meet the winner of the 1-8 matchup in the semis. That meant that we were up against the #1 alliance of 1796, Team 694 - StuyPulse, and Team 2265 - FeMaidens. We knew it was going to be a tough fight but we gave it our all. In the end, we succumbed, but the matches were fairly close till the very end, where the #1 alliance’s HAB3 climb ability dramatically increased their points.
In the end, we put up a great fight, and had an amazing time. Even though we didn’t get our banner or a ticket to champs (this time), the team did incredibly well. We’ve built the most complex robot in recent years, and showed that we could go toe to toe with the best robots at the tournament. Our season may be over, but we’ve learned a ton, and can’t wait to put that new knowledge into action!