Code Red celebrated its 10 year anniversary during the 2019 season with the theme “A Decade of Impact”. It was also an important year for Code Red’s six seniors who were starting their final year as a FIRST student after being part of the team since elementary school or since middle school. It was also a season of change in that Code Red entered into a partnership with Byron Center Public Schools which includes will include a new build space in 2020 that is part of a two-year expansion project at Byron Center High School. Our competition schedule was also set to include an event in Canada, Code Red’s first time competing outside the United States.
With these factors and the team excited about the 2019 game, FIRST Deep Space, we were ready to take on the new challenges of placing hatches and cargo in rockets and cargo ships and climbing on the hab in the end game. Our robot design included swerve drive and a lift system that allowed us to place game pieces on all levels of the rocket as well as climb the highest level of the hab. Competition season began with our first event at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. The weekend was a time for Code Red to see how the robot performed in competition in preparation for our Michigan events. Code Red was selected as part of the 6th alliance and were eliminated in the quarter-finals. The highlight of the weekend was receiving the Quality Award at the event, capping off a successful weekend for Code Red.
Our next event was at East Kentwood High School. At East Kentwood, we ranked 10th and were captains of the 6th alliance. We selected the Techno Trojans (5405) and Wayland Wildcats (6090) as our alliance partners, and were up against the 3rd alliance. Unfortunately, we were eliminated in the quarterfinals by the alliance that went on to win the event. Code Red was awarded the Gracious Professionalism Award during the awards ceremony.
Forest Hills was Code Red’s second Michigan event. At the end of qualification matches, we were ranked 9th and were selected for the 5th alliance by the Iron Giants (5069), who also selected Excel (2474) to join our alliance. We made it to semifinals where we lost to the alliance that went on to win the event. In the awards ceremony, Code Red was honored to get the Entrepreneurship Award, and we qualified for the Michigan State Championship!
Next came the State Championship at Saginaw Valley State University. Code Red was in the Dow Division and had an up and down series of qualification matches. By alliance selection, we were ranked 20th. We were selected by the Atombots (245) to join the 4th alliance along with GRAYT (1322). We won our first qualification match but lost the second due to 1322 breaking down. Our alliance took a time out and called in a back-up robot, Byron Robotics (5641), to take the place of 1322. We won the third quarterfinal match and were on to the semifinals. In the semifinals, we lost to the alliance that went on to win the division, but we were thrilled at the same time because we had qualified for the World Championship in Detroit.
In Detroit, Code Red competed in the Darwin Division. At the end of qualification matches, we were ranked 18th and became the first pick for the 8th alliance. Our alliance captain was The Wings of Fire (51), and we were also with Atombots (245). We were eliminated in quarterfinals, and with that, it brought an end to the 2019 season. Looking back, amidst all the ups and downs that a season of robotics can bring, it was a fun season as a cohesive team of friends.
Two alliances of deep space travelers race to place hatch panel on their rockets and cargo ship, load valuable cargo for transport off the planet, and return to the safety of their habitat, all before the next sandstorm sweeps through.
In the Fall of 2018, Code Red’s two FTC teams, Neutrinos: Breaking the Laws of Physics (#5383) and Emergency Situation Evacuate Now (#5384), had a fun and successful season. FTC is a group of 7th & 8th graders who build a robot for a specific game. The 2018 game was called ‘Rover Ruckus’. This game was a space themed game, and it had minerals (gold and silver), a crater, and a lander (spaceship). We had to figure out how to build a robot that would be able to take the minerals from the crater, and put them into the lander. Our robot also had to be able to climb onto the lander to get an extra 50 points.
During the build season, we came up with a robot design that would allow use to park between the crater and lander, then retrieve minerals from the crater and transfer them into the lander. We also worked on our Engineering Notebook. Throughout the season, the FRC students helped us with feedback about our robot and strategy and feedback on our Engineering Notebook presentation. After lots of hard work, we had our robot ready to drive. Unfortunately we finished it right before our first competition, and had little drive practice. Sadly, we didn’t place very well at our first competition. However, we were able to try again at our second competition. For our second competition, we had had a week’s worth of drive practice, and because of that drive practice, we were able to get first place!
In addition to building the robot, we also completed an Engineering notebook that is filled with ideas about our robot, how we built it, our teams, pictures and it even information about Code Red’s sponsors. Along with the Engineering Notebook and building the robot, we also did a presentation about Code Red Robotics in front of a panel of judges about our robot, how we impact our community, and Code Red’s sponsors. In the presentation we had to describe the robot, how we built it, what troubles we had, and what we thought was unique about our robot.
After winning the Kentwood Qualifier Event, we qualified for the Michigan State Championship! At the Michigan Championship event, we experienced a few problems, but we were able to recover from them. We were selected by the 8th place team in our division, and made it to the Quarterfinals before we were eliminated. As a result of our season, we learned a lot about teamwork, Gracious Professionalism, and Robotics.
In October 2018, Code Red along with seven other West Michigan FRC teams partnered together to run a first annual robotics workshop for high school students. The event was held at Byron Center High School where 11 different workshop topics were offered. Teams from all over the state of Michigan were invited to come to the free workshops, and on Saturday, October 27, over 200 students attended from all over the state!
The workshop topics covered all aspects of FIRST robotics with sessions such as: Mock Kick-off, CAD, FRC Drive System Fundamentals, Pneumatics, Java, Scouting Data and Analysis, and Writing College and Scholarship Essays. Code Red mentors and students led the Mock Kick-off and Writing College and Scholarship Essays workshops. Two sessions were offered, so students were able to take any two workshops that interested them.
All in all, the event was a huge success and we are already planning to do it again next year. The teams involved in running the event were: 107 R.O.B.O.T.I.C.S., 1918 NC Gears, 2054 Tech Vikes, 2767 Stryke Force, 2771 Code Red Robotics the Stray Dogs, 2959 CW Tech Robotarians, 4004 M.A.R.S., and 4381 Twisted Devils. It was a pleasure to work together with all these teams to make this a comprehensive and productive event.
Once again in September and October of 2018, Code Red ran its own elementary program for 4th through 6th grade students called NRG (Next Robotics Generation). This being the 4th year of NRG, we have grown and developed the program to offer a exciting hands-on robotics experience for first, second, and even third year NRG students by offering multiple levels of the program. This year we had 25 students participate along with their parents/guardians!
As previously mentioned, NRG is Code Red’s own elementary robotics program. In this program, each student builds and competes with his/her own robot that he/she builds with the help of a parent or guardian. At the beginning of the season, a new game is introduced to all of the NRG students. This game has been designed and developed by Code Red’s FRC students. At the start of each meeting, all of the students take part in strategy sessions, team building activities, problem solving games, and engineering challenges. After that, first year students spend the 6 weeks of the season building their own Arduino robots, designing and adding a “manipulator” to that robot for game play, and practicing robot driving skills. Second and third year students took their already built robots (from previous seasons) and learned additional programming for the robot. They had an extra game challenge that involved programming their robot to autonomously navigate an obstacle course using sensors and dead reckoning.
For the 2018 season, the NRG game was NRG Liftoff! In this game, 2 alliances of 2 have crashed and are stranded in deep space. Astronauts must escape the wreckage of the ship, deliver spare parts to the engine rooms to repair the engine, start the engines, and prepare for liftoff in order to escape certain peril. To play this game, students had to navigate an obstacle course in the opening of the match, the score game pieces (spare parts) into a goal, and finally balance on a ramp in the end game. The second and third year students had the extra challenge called NRG Kerrehzee Kourse 2018 where they had to navigate a course around obstacles while following a line. The game was well received by the students which was evident in the large number who came for optional practice times each week.
At the end of the season, we held our annual tournament at Byron Center West Middle School, also run by Code Red FRC students who were in charge of set-up, scheduling matches, refereeing matches, queuing, resetting the field, judging for awards, and running matches. Students played several qualification matches with the top 16 moving on to the final tournament. After the winning alliance was determined, awards were presented to the winners of the tournament and judged awards. It was a day full of cheering, exciting game play, and lots of smiles.