2021 – A (Mostly) Virtual Competition Season  

It may have looked different than anyone expected a year ago, but Mechanical Advantage 6328 is proud to have competed in their fifth FRC season in 2021!

For 2021, FIRST provided FRC teams with three distinct virtual challenges for the competition season. Teams opted to compete in one, two, or three of the challenges. Mechanical Advantage 6328 opted for two of the challenges – Game Design, which asked teams to use the engineering design process to create their own unique FRC-style game, and Infinite Recharge@Home, in which teams record and submit videos of their robot performing speed and accuracy challenges in a variety of obstacle courses.

The team spent the summer and fall of 2020 developing and delivering internal training programs in preparation for the 2021 season, including technical training such as CAD/Design, Programming, and Manufacturing. Additionally, the team focused on student training for critical business team development such as Sponsor Outreach, Leadership Skills, and Project Management. All of these skills were put to work as soon as the competition season began in early January 2021 when our students really showed how they could adapt and learn in new and different ways.

The Game Design team (working entirely virtually) dreamed up, prototyped, and documented a fascinating game called Malware Mayhem, in which alliances team up to protect against a malware attack from the anti-STEM organization LAST and save future FRC game design files.

Early in 2021, the team made the critical decision to re-use the robot they designed for the 2020 season, with minor improvements, instead of building a brand-new, custom-built robot specifically designed for the 2021 challenges. This allowed time to optimize performance rather than figuring out how to build a robot with very limited in-person work.

So, the software team got to work automating ball shooting accuracy and shaving tenths of seconds off autonomous obstacle course paths, and the drive team put in hours and hours of practice to perfect the driving courses. We even had a bit of friendly competition between the drivers and software team to see who could get faster times on the same courses! The students really pushed themselves, and the robot, to the limit of what was possible.

We continued the Open Alliance program on Chief Delphi, where we conducted an open build season and shared our processes, designs, code, and decisions all along the way. We feel fortunate to be able to continue this project even though many of the other teams involved last year had to halt work for 2021 because of the pandemic. We are hopeful they will be able to join us again for the 2022 season.

2021 Awards

  • Game Design (Germanium Group)
    • Engineering Design Award
  • Infinite Recharge@Home (Neon Group)
    • Skills Competition Winner
    • Excellence in Engineering Award
  • Traditional Submitted Awards
    • Woodie Flowers Award Semi-Finalist: Brett Bonner
    • Dean’s List Semi-Finalist: Jonathan McGurrin and Lizzy Carpenter
    • District Chairman’s Award
    • District Championship Chairman’s Award

Unofficially (because FIRST ranks only within the competition group of ~30 teams, and not across groups), our skills competition scores ranked us #1 in New England among 176 teams, and #11 globally among 1400+ teams even with using our 2020 robot without swerve drive.

We’re very much looking forward to seeing everyone on the competition field again in 2022!

Videos

2021 Chairman’s Video

2021 FIRST at Home Challenges (YouTube playlist)

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