2020: Infinite Recharge

Welcome to the 2020 FIRST® Robotics Competition season: Infinite Recharge! A barrage of asteroids is on a collision course with FIRST City, and it's up to FRC teams to power the shield generator and protect from impending doom.

Each year, FRC teams are presented with a challenge in which they must design, build and program a robot to efficiently complete said challenge. In past years, teams were given a strict, six week period to build their robot, but starting this year, the deadline no longer applies. During "Build Season," as it is called, teams will put their minds to the test by designing and constructing a robot that not only efficiently completes the tasks at hand during a match, but also meets a very strict set of guidelines laid out in the season manual.

There are many rules that go into an FRC game like Infinite Recharge, and this past year's game, Destination Deep Space, all of which employ FIRST's core values of 'gracious professionalism' and 'coopertition.' All of the rules in play ensure that it's a fair game for all and that there is little to no foul play out on the field. From the way robots score to how the teams set up before the match even begins, Infinite Recharge, like all other FRC games, is quite complex. So if and when you are watching matches, you should acknowledge that what the students are tackling is quite amazing.

The Game

In Infinite Recharge, FRC teams race to collect power-cells and operate the control dial to activate their alliance's shield generator in time to protect FIRST City from danger. Just like previous years, Infinite Recharge matches are played by two, three-team alliances, Red and Blue.

Returning this year from the 2018 game, FIRST Power Up, is the autonomous period. During the first 15 seconds of the match, all robot operations are done completely autonomously using code that students have written. Autonomous is especially important this year, since point values are increased and it is the most opportune period activate Stage One of the shield generator.

The next two minutes after the autonomous period is what is considered the tele-op period. During this time, robot operations are done manually by the drive team, which consists of a driver, a manipulator, a human player, a coach and a technician. The driver operates the robot drivetrain and allows it to move across the field. The manipulator manages onboard mechanisms to move game pieces, operate the control dial and initiate other potential functions. The human player operates their alliance's human player station at which they can collect and dispense power-cells onto the field. The coach acts as a guide for the rest of the drive team and provides instruction and the technician helps set up and troubleshoot before the match begins.

During the tele-op period, teams on both alliances will use their robots to collect power-cells and deposit them in holes located on the wall of the field called ports. If teams deposit enough power-cells and reach a certain threshold, they will be able to operate the control dial next to their shield generator and activate the next stage, allowing the alliance to progress in the match. The control dial is a turnable wheel next to the shield generator that displays select colors. After receiving instructions, a robot can turn the control dial to a certain color to activate the next stage.

After the tele-op period, there is 15 seconds called the endgame. During the endgame, robots rush to activate the shield generator and protect FIRST City. The shield generator is a large, square structure made of stage truss that is located in the center of the field. It contains two, large bars on which multiple robots can hang. During the Endgame, robots can "climb" by hanging on their aliance's bar within the shield generator, hanging on the shield generator activates it and scores big points for your alliance, potentially turning the tides of a match. There is also a rendezvous point on the floor beneath the shield generator; if a robot enter the rendezvous point before time is up, some points will be given to the alliance.

Copyright © by Owen Begley.  All rights reserved, used with permission.

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