2021's Virtual Games
Infinite Recharge at Home
For the Infinite Recharge at Home event, our team was tasked with designing and CADing a robot to compete in the 2021 Infinite Recharge event. Pulling from previous years, summer CAD, and other teams, we designed a robot more mechanically complex than what we have done in previous years. Notable features include a swerve drive, vectoring intake, and a turreting shooter. Renders of the robot can be seen below.
This year, the Innovation Challenge brought students from our team together to brainstorm ideas for a project that would have a meaningful impact on the world. After thorough research and collaborative decisions, we finalized upon a project that would help people with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that progressively deteriorates one’s movements and negatively affects their ability to perform important tasks. We learned that the culprit behind this disease is the lack of dopamine production, which is essential to proper motor functioning. And while exercise has shown to increase the production of dopamine, due to the effect the disease has on their muscles, they cannot keep up with prolonged periods of exercise. Therefore, the opportunity we realized was a project that would motorize one’s movement during exercise after exhaustion of the muscles to produce that dopamine. We chose to motorize exercise in the form of biking since it is effective and was most practical for us to work on, and we named the innovation Powered Pedals. People would be able to utilize their existing bike and a bike stand, which would come at great convenience and affordability to them as well as provide an authentic biking experience. Our kit would include a motor at the fulcrum of the pedaling system and an encoder to read the user’s speed as well as an elongated chain and other associated components. The user would begin by biking at a set pedaling rate by themselves. After they became worn out, the motor would sense the drop in speed and make up the difference to maintain the set speed. This motorized system would prolong their movement and generate dopamine that would slow the disease’s progression and, to an extent, reverse some of their symptoms. Throughout the project, we conducted interviews with specialists who know the disease. They confirmed the effectiveness of our project and contributed to our design model through constructive feedback, such as on a mounted control panel. They helped us realize that, while those in the later stage of the disease produce less dopamine even with exercise, they suffer from significant stiffness issues in their body. Therefore, Powered Pedals would still benefit them since it would greatly improve movement through flexibility. While our team didn’t make it to the semi-finals, it was a truly inspiring team effort that challenged us to think creatively and problem-solve, and we plan to continue working on the project throughout the coming summer. In the following weeks, we will waterjet our parts at Plastic Ingenuity’s facility and assemble all of the components at the BEC. Check out the #21-innovation Slack channel for more information.
Game Design Challenge
The game design challenge tasked our team to create a prototype for what could be a real FRC game. This required a lot of brainstorming, writing, and computer-aided design. Our game, called Cargo Clash, revolved around a game mechanic that’s commonly called “deathmatch” which has teams capture ports by shooting a ball through them. Captured points will score points for every second or two they’re captured, so it’s key to capture points and keep them for as long as a team can. Cargo Clash won our region’s design award and is now competing for nationals. You can read about Cargo Clash more in #21-gamedesign