Rusty is our Outreach robot. It was built several years ago and represents how the legacy of former Astromechs lives on. Though we have never competed with Rusty, almost every team member has learned to drive on this robot. Two of our coders also learned programming by beginning to control this robot. Rusty goes with us to every Outreach event and we let kids learn, play, and drive with this robot. All in all, thousands of people have learned from and been inspired by Rusty, and it holds a special place on our team.
Andromeda was the first robot we built this season. We had a meet just a few weeks after the season kickoff and we knew we had to be competitive while also planning for the future. Our builders set to work and put together Andromeda. Although many components of Andromeda never made it onto the final robot- such as the basket-shaped particle collecter and the 80-20 cap ball lifter- this robot taught us how to create an effective choo-choo particle shooter.
Polaris was nearly our final version of the robot. This robot performed well at qualifiers and looked a lot more like the final robot- it has a foam POW! block to push the beacon, a spinning ball collector, and space for a drawer-slide lifter. This robot taught us a lot about what would and wouldn't work for the quickly developing design of our final robot. For example, we learned that a particle collector with spinning zip ties wouldn't work very well this season. Although this robot's lift was never completed, it pushed us through all of our qualifiers and our remaining meet, and with it we qualified for the Missouri State Championships in Rolla.
Nova is our robot's final form for 2016-17! Our CAD guy, Winston, began designing this robot very early in the season and with Andromeda and Polaris we learned a lot about what would and wouldn't work on Nova. Nova features a welded frame for durability and to save space, an improved POW! block, a rubber-band ball collector with custom-made wheels, an electronics 'brick' with insulated cables, a phone mount and mirror to use the phone gyro and camera consistently, Lexan & tape decorated sides created by our designer Freddie, a ball indexer to load one ball at a time into the shooter, a drawer-slide cap ball lifter, and a choo-choo shooter. Nova represents the culmination of all of our efforts this season, and we will be taking her to the North Super Regionals in Iowa. UPDATE: This is the robot we took to the 2017 World FTC Championships in St. Louis, MO!