Stories

Tell me some random stories from your time through robotics. I’m curious to see what has happened at other shops and/or competitions

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I found a pill (later confirmed to be Advil)in the backseat of our van, and we had someone get stabbed on the way to a comp in that same van.

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For reference, here’s my story. My junior year (I’m currently a senior) I was tired of this one team copying our bots and always pretending they were better than everyone. (For reference they turned down a ticket to nationals because it wasn’t worlds) So, I gathered up a bunch of other teams in my state who felt the same frustration I did, and we formed an alliance that actually beat them and won state.

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I’ve been involved with FRC for 5 years, and VEX for 4 years. I’ve had so many great moments and stories, and I’m sure there are others out there who have had as many as I have many times over.

One of my favorite ones was winning FRC worlds in 2019 as alliance captain (we are team 973). I was the co-driver, and it was an incredible experience. FRC has a similar structure to VEX, where there are several divisions, and the winners of the divisions compete against each other in what is known as Einstein Finals (equivalent to Freedom Hall in VEX). We made it through the round robin matches, making to the finals. We were pitted against a very good alliance, and the alliance captain from that alliance had won worlds the previous two years (team 254). We lost the first finals match due to our first pick getting a ziptie jammed in one of their swerve modules during auto right before their second hatch placement (team 1323). We won the second finals match largely due to a failed endgame by the other alliance. We won the third match due to good teamwork on our alliance and our defense bot doing an exceptionally good job.

It was an awesome experience, and I can’t wait to do FRC again. good luck to all teams in all robot competitions this year!

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Kind of a long story, but there is one tournament that happened last season (VRC) that will stick with me for life.
We were heading to the semifinals at a local tournament, having not qualified for the state championship yet and the season almost being over. Our opponents call a size check on us, referees bring out the sizing tool, and we were pretty calm until the Event Partner told us “hands off the robot”. We couldn’t fix our flipout in time for the size check. Our region is pretty well connected over Discord, but to this day it’s still ambiguous who is to blame for the size check; neither of our opponents took full responsibility after the match (not that I was upset with them, we shouldn’t have been out of size to begin with). So, we our robot gets removed from the match, and the original consensus was that our alliance would be disqualified, since in eliminations, if one team gets disqualified, the entire alliance gets disqualified. However, we argued our way out of a full disqualification, citing from the manual that an out-of-size robot only gets removed, not disqualified. Needless to say, what ensued was nothing short of a miracle. In a 1v2 match, our alliance partner crushed the opposition, mostly thanks to a very talented driver and some luck with our opponents’ stacks tipping. As if that wasn’t heart-pounding enough, an hour long discussion broke out afterwards about whether or not that match should stand, since our team’s robot got removed. Both alliances agreed to replay the match (kudos to our opponents for letting us replay the match rather than taking a win), and we won once again. Ironically, I believe the score was closer even though our alliance had both robots this time around. We go on to win Tournament Champions and Robot Skills Champion, and qualify for the State Championship. I didn’t really care about that though. The experience was the best part; something so powerful that we could even settle our differences with our opponents and talk about how breathtaking and unfathomable the situation was. That is truly something I may never experience again. To this day that stands as probably my favorite VRC tournament of all time.

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This happened to our team during a VEX IQ competition last year. So for autonomous, I programmed a bit and was confident, but our team’s builder added on a bit of code at the last moment without me knowing it. Although all it did was score 1 ball, we got first place in autonomous thanks to that. Eventually, we got first place in alliance matches as well with our phenomenal driver and a bit of luck. :wink:

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It was our first comp as we were all in our first year of vrc (tower takeover). We went all the way to tallahassee (we’re based in orlando) and we won our first 2 matches. Then we had like an hour to hang out but 2 mins before our next match our code had a brain fart and just left the chat. We spent the next 30 mins trying to figure it out and the code was fine. So we came to the realization that 14 ports had decided to just die then and there. We spent the next hour replacing our cortex along with fixing our flip out. By then we had missed 3 matches and only had one left. We lost it and ended up in the bottom of qualifying. For elimination we convinced the third seed to pick us because they knew what had happened and we weren’t just trash. Also they were a claw bot and knew they couldn’t win finals with just a claw. In the end we ended up winning tourney champions, judges, and a bunch of the little awards that didn’t mean a whole lot. But in the end it was entirely worth it and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Shoutout to tifton (2709A) you guys rock! (and if you see this sorry we couldn’t make it to apopka)

TLDR: Our Cortex went “nah bruh” at a comp and we lost qualifying because we missed half of our matches. But ended up getting tournament champions.

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I uhh… climbed onto multiple roofs

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When I was at state for tt we won all of our matches in qualifying except for out last one. This is because our lift for the tray decided to start skipping and just didn’t work properly which made us lose. After sense we were 2nd in quals they we trying to convince me to pick them because they beat us. I was arguing with the for like 10 minutes about how we were already paring with a team from our org and had this planned way before state. At one point I kinda yelled at one of them because I was annoyed then they left me alone. After a bit of me calming down I went over to appalagize to them and their mentor got mad at me and kinda yelled at me. Matter of fact also that team multiple times throughout the comp asked for parts in which we didn’t bring and wouldn’t stop pestering us.Never will forget that.

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I’m a coach but I think my most memorable story was from the In the Zone season.

Anyway, We were going to compete in a Sunday competition, so had come to the school on Saturday to put the finishing touches on the auton and pack for the next day. This was in cortex days, and we always programmed a button on the controller to start the auton so that we could test it easily without a competition switch. It was about 1:00 pm and we were finished and ready to pack. One of the parents brought us takeout for lunch, so we took a break to eat. As we finished lunch, one of the kids put his empty food container down and accidentally hit the button on the controller that started the auton. The robot’s tall DR4B lift immediately extended, and the robot drove forward and straight off of the lab bench where it was sitting. It landed lift-first on the ground.

I still remember the silence in the room. We just looked at each other like did that really just happen? The lift was completely mangled. The weight of the robot had bent or twisted nearly every c-channel. Even the base was not salvageable. Those kids completely rebuilt that robot from scratch that day. Luckily they had an excellent engineering notebook as a reference. We were there past midnight, but they got it done.

This story has a happy ending- they went on to win the tournament the next day and won the design award as well. As you can imagine, it was a great story to tell in interviews. We did learn some important lessons though- we don’t eat at lab benches that have robots/parts, and we are very careful about turning everything off after testing. I also still use this story as an example of why the notebook should be very detailed. You never know when you may really need it!

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Happened back in skyrise during elims at a local comp. In the last few seconds of the match, I was rushing to place one more cube on the skyrise, but mistimed it and went in too fast with the lift up. Time ran out and the robot stops driving, but its momentum causes the bot to start tipping forwards! Even worse, I’m standing right beside the skyrise and the robot is aiming right at me!

I should also mention that the robot picked up cubes using a spike and claw combo that stuck out horizontally (most were vertical but ours allowed for cubes and skyrises to be placed at the same time).

Fortunately I dodge the robot and it’s stopped by the field wall. Unfortunately, it’s touching the cubes on the skyrise. The head ref starts counting score, and tells us that because the robots touching the cube, all of the cubes and skyrise sections above it don’t count as scored. We are sad.

Then out of the stands, like a miracle, comes the man. He calls the ref out, telling him that all of the skyrise sections should count. The ref is angry. “I’m the head ref, I know the rules!”, he says. The man grins “I wrote the rules.” he replies. The score is fixed, and we get the victory. That is the story of how I met Karthik Kanagasabapathy.

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I had an almost similar thing happen with our 2019 FRC robot at worlds. As the co-driver, I was also carrying the driver station (FRC teams bring to each match an entire driver station with a laptop, controls, etc.) We used sticks to control our robot, and since they were mounted near the edge of the driver station, when I carried it my arm moved one of the sticks a bit. Now it just so happened that someone hadn’t disabled the robot, so when I bumped the stick while carrying the driver station, it started driving. It almost hit several people and drove nearly six feet before I was able to disable it stop touching the joystick.

Ever since then, I have always made 100% sure that the robot is disabled before getting near it, and especially before touching it.

There is a horror story from FRC 2014 from team 1323. The game included shooting 24" exercise balls 5’ in the air. For 1323, this meant a massive puncher. While a kid was doing something in the robot, the puncher fired, hitting him and knocking out his front teeth. The kid was okay, but this teaches us all a lesson.

Also, our 2019 robot had to climb on top of a platform, and at the end of each match when doing a double climb (to earn points for two climbing robots), our climbing mechanism shot up in the process of retracting. This was very scary up close, and luckily no one ever got hurt (although there were some close calls).

FRC 2014 1323 robot match clip

2014 1323 3

FRC 2019 973 Double Climb

FRC 2019 973 Double Buddy Climb

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One time in ITZ I had already qualified for states but I went to a comp on the other side of Michigan and I upset a match that had the odds completely against me. In auton the other alliance tried doing the stupid ramming thing that messes up your auton but my robot messed up perfectly somehow, in a way that my robot drove backwards around the other bot and put the mobile goal in the 20pt zone. We then somehow won the match even though I basically had a huge clawbot that could also pick up mobile goals and my alliance was a pushbot, while we were against one of the best internal stackers in the region. Sadly the fluke didn’t happen again and we lost the next two matches but I’ll always remember the moment where my bot drove around the opposing alliance in auton.

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Not exactly my story to tell, but when skyrise was mentioned I got excited. I personally did not compete in skyrise, but my older brother did and because of him, we went to worlds. The robot had a an ultrasonic sonar to keep the skyrise pieces level. Worlds was in Kentucky at the time. Our team is from Colorado. Issue is, the speed in which sound travels is kinda GOOFY when you go from one altitude to another. Somehow the programmer figured it out and they went 9-1. They then won the division then went to the round robin. They lost and became the 3rd ranked division in the world at that time. And because of all that, that’s why I’m in robotics

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That’s really intense.

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We rented a house for 2018 worlds, and it had a weird basement. Legend says that there was a basement.

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Ah. Thought-provoking. Thank you for your wise advice.

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Everybody last year: Traybots are the best, we will only pick you if you have a traybot.
Us: Gets high rankings in state with a tower clawbot.
Everyone else: Well, we still won’t pick you.
Us: Goes with tenth place when we were 4th place. Lose second finals round.
Vex: Worlds is cancelled
Us: Karma, Ha ha.
Based on a true story.

My favorite memory was when my teammate drove the robot off the table bending all the C-Channels and this was all the day before a competition.

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We had a mentor step on our robot. He stepped right on the middle supports and canted each side of the drive train

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