I received the Senior Solutions FLL field setup kit in the mail last week and built it for my boot camp this week! Most of the models sport very cool mechanisms. I’m thinking I’ll have the students build a second set so they can get a gear lesson or two out of the experience. Positioning for most of the models on the mat is pretty self-evident thanks to the marking on the mat. I haven’t a clue how to position the medicine units and there are a few variations on how to position the quilts but mostly it’s quite straitforward.
I find a few of the missions to be quite curious. Every year, the robot challenge has featured either a competitive or a cooperative mission in the middle of the field. This year, that mission is a ball launching mechanism that send the large plastic balls onto the OTHER team’s mat. I’ll be very interested to see how that will be scored. It definitely adds an element of randomness for teams who may have to navigate around or through obstacles that they can’t predict. It could be a real wild card for teams who don’t have the benefit of a double table to practice with.
You can see the overall layout of the field here. It’s not nearly as busy as the last couple of years but the spaces to navigate are still pretty tight. You may notice that base is smaller than usual. It is rectangular in shape rather than square.
The pet help mission has a really nice mechanism for translating a pushing motion 90 degrees. When you push the bumper on the east side, it propels the service dog towards the base area. You can see the woodworking shop (table and chair). The instructions don’t show the chair fully assembled but the back portion is placed as indicated on the mat. The quilts may or may not be arranged properly but the mat does show a total of five areas that require dual lock and are exactly the correct size. This would leave three quilts unencumbered. Just to the right of the quilts, you can see one of the hearing/seeing test. Initial position – flag up or down? You decide!
Yay! Another bridge! The west side has steps, the east side has a ramp. The middle wobbles and isn’t fastened directly to the mat. I’m not sure what kind of Mayhem is planned for this one. Perhaps an ending condition for the robot’s location? Just next to the ramp is a stove. The level flips the stovetop and turns the burners off. To the far north (left side) is the ball game. When you push the wheel attached to a lever, it launches balls one at a time into the opposite field. Closer to the bottom left is the “Similarity” model. Based strictly on the name, I’m predicting that this is a cooperative mission. Finally, on the left and right sides, you can see orange and green structures with rings. We all know what the rings mean! However, these are not dual locked and there is no indication where these will start. There are a total of three orange and one green “medicines.” They could start in base. I simply placed them randomly around the field.
Lastly, you can see the placement for the fifth quilt. That is the only one with a color hint but placement of the quilt on the square doesn’t quite make the color fit the space. The really tall structure is called “shopping” and it has two grocery? items. One is visible at the top while the other is hidden and rests on a bottom platform. Just to the left is the other half of the hearing/seeing test mission. Behind the structure is a bowling lane with six pins. Anyone else thinking penalty objects? To the right are two pieces of exercise equipment. The one in the foreground is a cardio machine. Spinning the wheel causes an indicator on the south side to move. It looks like it takes 12 full rotations of the wheel to move the indicator all the way from green to red (or reverse). The machine in the back is a press. Once you raise the weight, it remains elevated. Both of these machines use complext gear trains to manipulate the object. In six years of coaching FLL, I have seen very few teams use gears in the robots and attachments. Hopefully, this will spur some creativity in that area.
Not specifically mentioned are two gardens and the yellow bowling ball that are currently sitting in base.
It looks like we’re going to have a fun season! I can’t wait to see the actual rules on August 28th!