2023 RoboChargers Kickoff Recap

The 2023 FRC season has begun, and the RoboChargers are ready for it! The new FRC challenge, CHARGED UP, has got us excited for all the new and interesting obstacles just waiting to be solved.

This was an exciting kickoff for us. Like many teams, we faced significant challenges during the pandemic and started out the 2022 season with a team made up almost entirely of rookie students. This kickoff marked the second FRC season for many of us, allowing us to use the skills we learned last year to really break down the game and come to strong strategy conclusions.

After watching the initial game animation and field tour, our team broke into small groups where students and mentors discussed various aspects of the game and read the rules. From field layout to scoring methods to robot legality, everyone learned the core information needed to play the game and design our robot.

Once all of us had the opportunity to learn more about the game, we came back together in a large group while our mentors asked us questions to help us make sure we understood all the terms and scoring conventions. We also talked about the new game objects we can use to score, which are the inflatable cube and a rubber cone pictured here. We went over the rules of the game as well, going through the possible penalties that can happen along with the different ways to score points. Finally, we broke down how many possible points a robot could earn in a single match. 

Having talked about the rules of the game, points & penalties, and the field as a whole, we started going into the design of the robot. This is where the more prominent obstacles of this challenge were brought into the spotlight. The cones pose an interesting challenge as we try to come up with different concepts for intakes because we need to determine whether we want to be able to pick up the cones while they’re laying on their side on the ground.

In addition to the cones, we also discussed the challenge of crossing the Charge Station platform in our alliance Community Zone. The drive train will be an important part of this challenge. Last year, our team developed custom swerve modules for our robot. Our custom swerve was used as the base design for the swerve modules being offered by REV Robotics this year. (You can check out these swerve modules on REV’s website, and soon they’ll be available to order for your own team!)

With the Charge Station challenge being part of this year’s game, we have spent a significant amount of time discussing how the swerve module will behave on the platform. We look forward to testing this further in the next few days and will be posting another article discussing these tests soon!

Even after the initial kickoff meeting ended, students and mentors continued to discuss design ideas through our team Slack channel. We’ve spent the weekend attacking these challenges with new thoughts and strategies, and are ready to put 110% into the first week of build season!

Follow us on our social media outlets as we continue to post updates of our build this season.