2015: World Championship

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After an intensive, nine-week competition season, Mechanical Mayhem piled on a bus with Rookie All-star team Stormgears (5422) from Westford, MA, for the 22-hour road trip to St. Louis for the FIRST Robotics World Championships on April 22-25. This grand event spanned from Wednesday until Saturday and spread over three venues, one of which was the Edward Jones Dome, hosting 600 FRC teams with an estimated 40,000 attendees. These international teams were divided into eight separate divisions with 75 _D205098-Mayhem-Championship-team-pic-2015teams per field. Mechanical Mayhem, along with eight other New England teams, competed on the brand new Carson Division, named in honor of Rachel Carson, an American marine biologist. Matched up against the world’s most esteemed robots, Mechanical Mayhem looked forward to a thrilling week of shocking upsets and insane victories.

From Wednesday until Friday, our team competed in ten qualification matches, earning an average score of 173.7 points. During alliance selection on Saturday morning we chose H.Y.P.E. (5254) from Trumansburg, New York; Eagle Robotics (399) from Lancaster, California; and robOTies (5122) from Old Town, Maine, to join our 6th seeded alliance. This alliance accumulated an average score of 191 points, barely missing our chance to compete in semifinals.

During our time in St. Louis, Mechanical Mayhem enjoyed visiting the Innovation Faire, stopping by the Gateway Arch, and viewingIMG_3623-part-of-team-at-Mayhem-blue-fountain-CMP-2015 the other FIRST competitions during the weekend. On Saturday night, all the FRC teams crowded to one end of the Edward Jones Dome for the finals on the Einstein field, eagerly awaiting the fast-paced matches among the winners of the eight FRC divisions. Our team enthusiastically cheered on the teams as the alliances from the eight divisions duked it out for the world champion title. In the end, Newton’s division, comprised of Robonauts (118) from League City, Texas; Citrus Circuits (1678) from Davis, California; Buchanan Bird Brains (1671) from Clovis, California; and Gryffingear (5012) from Palmdale, California, reigned victorious over Hopper’s alliance.

2015: New England District Championship Event

In all of New England, there are 175 registered FRC teams. After competing at two or more district tournaments, these teams were excited and ready for the FIRST® Robotics World Championship. However, one thing stood in their way: the NE FIRST District Championship. Held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), this tournament hosted sixty-seven exceptional teams who qualified based on the points accumulated at their district events. This regional championship spanned from Wednesday, April 8, to Saturday, April 11, and held some of the most intense and thrilling matches seen all year in New England.

Practice and qualification matches continued from Wednesday night until mid-Saturday. As a witness to the high-caliber robot performance, each team held a qualification average over 100 points, a shocking and almost unbelievable achievement. By the end of their 12 qualification matches, Mechanical Mayhem accumulated a qualification average of 200.08, the second highest Q.A. in the world! Ranked 1st out of the top 60 New England teams, 1519 was honored to have the privilege of first pick during alliance selection. They invited the 2nd seeded team, the Cyber Knights (195) from Southington, Connecticut, and the 14th seeded team, Apple Pi (2067) from Guilford, Connecticut, to join their alliance.
As the team progressed through the quarterfinals, 1519’s average score rose rapidly. By the end of semifinal matches, Mayhem’s playoff score had reached 229. After 14 intense matches, the first seeded alliance faced off in the finals against the fourth seeded alliance of Buzz Robotics (175) from Enfield, Connecticut; the T-Hawks (1100) from Northboro, Massachusetts; and Techno Ticks (236) from Old Lyme, Connecticut. Anticipation and excitement buzzed in the air as the drive teams from each alliance came to the center of the field to shake hands. The drive teams returned to their positions, waiting nervously for the familiar sound signalling the start of the match.

In an instant, robots were heatedly fighting over the recycling containers, graciously righting fallen comrades, and carefully capping their tote stacks in a mad effort to accumulate points. After these fast-paced matches, the 1st seeded alliance not only claimed victory but achieved the second highest score in the country at 256 points.

To view Team 1519’s matches from this tournament, visit the 2015 New England Championship playlist on Mechanical Mayhem’s YouTube Channel.

Mechanical Mayhem was awarded the Excellence in Engineering award sponsored by Delphi, which celebrates an elegant and advantageous machine feature. Our alliance partners, 195 and 2067, earned the prestigious Chairman’s and Engineering Inspiration awards, respectively. Lastly, our team was honored to be one out of 51 teams who qualified to compete at World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 22-25. The team cannot wait to compete in the Carson Division at the Edward Jones Dome with the best robots from around the world. Good luck to all attending teams!

2015: Northeastern University NE District Event

From March 26 to 28, Team 1519 traveled to Boston
for the Northeastern University District Event, the team’s third tournament of the season. Along with 39 other FRC teams from around New England, they eagerly anticipated their final game before District Championships. Even though they started off rough with several technical field issues during qualification matches, Mechanical Mayhem ranked first by Saturday afternoon with an average score of 147.67 points. During alliance selection, Team 1519 chose the NUTRONS (125) from Boston, MA, and The Robotics Team (1786) from Dublin, NH, to create the first seeded alliance.

After being temporarily bumped down to second ranking in quarterfinals, this alliance made a strong comeback for semifinals and remained the first ranking alliance. In the final rounds, Mechanical Mayhem’s alliance defeated the second seeded alliance consisting of the Robo Chiefs (1768) from Bolton, MA; the LigerBots (2877) from Newton, MA; and the Robonauts (663) from Whitinsville, MA.
After an exciting victory on the field, Team 1519 was thrilled to also win the prestigious Chairman’s Award.

To view Team 1519’s matches from this tournament, visit the 2015 NE District Northeastern Universityplaylist on Mechanical Mayhem’s YouTube Channel.

Team 1519 continues to improve while anticipating the upcoming New England Championship, which will be held on April 8-11 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). At this competition, 60 teams will battle for the honor of being one of the 35 teams who will represent New England at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis on April 22-25.

2015: UMass Dartmouth NE District Event

Since Mechanical Mayhem believes in “Kaizen” (Japanese for continuous improvement), the team worked on adjusting and enhancing their practice robot during the two weeks after the Granite State District. This work paid off as 1519 continued
to do well at their second district event held at UMass Dartmouth on March 12-14.

With only 27 other teams competing, Mechanical Mayhem started off strong, quickly ranking first at the tournament. “King Tote-n-Can-Um” performed with neither mechanical nor software issues, and the drive team’s human player regularly scored an average of eight out of ten litter on the opposing alliance’s field, training other FRC teams by sharing his throwing technique. Additionally, the team had the privilege of being interviewed by a PTC filming crew who is interested in documenting MAYHEM’s story in a FIRST promotional video. Students were able to answer the crew’s questions about FIRST and Team 1519 while they captured the exciting moments of an FRC competition.

After the qualification matches, the team ranked 1st
with an improved average qualification score of 136.1 points per match, the highest of all teams competing in Week-3 tournaments worldwide! Team 1519 invited Gaelhawks (230) from Shelton, CT, and The Dragons (4908) from Duxbury, MA, to compete as an alliance and were undefeated in playoffs. They succeeded in a gold medal finish against the 2nd seeded alliance composed of Overclocked (246) from Boston, MA; NUTRONS (125) from Boston, MA; and Bionic Beef (97) from Cambridge, MA. Mechanical Mayhem also earned the Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers which celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit by recognizing a team that has developed the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage, and achieve team objectives.

After the team’s success at UMass Dartmouth, they are looking forward to their third and final district tournament at Northeastern University on March 26-28 before the New England Championship held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on April 8-11.

2015: Granite State NE District Event

On February 26-28, forty teams competed at the Nashua South High School for the New England Granite State District Event. During practice matches on Thursday evening, the 1519 drive team exercised their operating abilities and tested “King Tote-n-Can-um’s” software and mechanics on a real field. After a day and a half of qualification matches, Mechanical Mayhem ranked 1st with an average qualification score of 90.41 points per match. During alliance selection, 1519 invited the Grasshoppers (95) from Lebanon, NH, and the Robosaints (1307) from Dover, NH, to join their team in the elimination rounds.
Maximizing each robots’ individual potential, the 1st seeded alliance started off strong with a powerful autonomous as 1519 picked up and stacked three totes in the auto zone and 95 retrieved a recycling container (can) off the step. During tele-op, Mechanical Mayhem stacked totes on the scoring platforms while the Grasshoppers and Robosaints put litter in cans and capped stacks, multiplying the alliance’s points significantly. By the end of the tournament, Mechanical Mayhem claimed an undefeated record. Their alliance won first place against the 2nd seeded alliance
composed of the Cardinals (811) from Nashua, NH; Entropy (138) from Amherst, NH; and Gompei and the H.E.R.D. (190) from Worcester, MA. In addition to their gold medal finish, Team 1519 won the Innovation in Controls Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation.

With only two weeks to go until Mayhem’s next tournament hosted at UMass Dartmouth, Mechanical Mayhem immediately reconvened to figure out its next steps in improving the team as a whole.

2015 Build Season and Week Zero

This year’s game, “Recycle Rush,” has opened the door to limitless innovation with one big stipulation…the team has only six weeks to strategize, prototype, design, build, and program a functional, 120-pound robot. This was the challenge presented to Mechanical Mayhem and hundreds of other high school teams across the globe at FRC’s 2015 Kickoff.

After prioritizing and strategizing in the first
week, students and mentors divided into sub-teams, determined by interest, to start the iteration process through prototyping. During the following weeks, the sub-teams worked together to refine the practice robot and CAD drawings incorporating the improvements in the competition robot, with which they practiced driving in the final week before Bag Day.

The name of this year’s robot, “King Tote-n-Can-um,” was parodied from the renowned pharaoh, King Tutankhamun, and speaks of the robot’s ability to deftly handle both totes and cans. The team’s strategy was to build a robot capable of scoring high in autonomous, stacking four totes quickly and smoothly from the landfill, and regularly participating in Coopertition. Due to the absence of defense in Recycle Rush, the team decided on a mecanum drive base, where each of the four wheels is controlled and powered individually, allowing great maneuverability. Equipped with a dual belt elevator system, “King Tote” is capable of manipulating totes with four separate hands, and lifting both upright and tipped Recycling Containers (cans) with another hand. With each belt separately powered, the can and tote hands may move independently. The robot’s self-aligning software also allows the robot to automatically align to totes swiftly and efficiently.


On Valentine’s Day morning, Mechanical Mayhem participated in the Week Zero scrimmage with only a few days left until Bag Day. Mayhem competed with 18 other FRC teams at the informal tournament held at Merrimack High School and hosted by FRC Team 166 Chop Shop. They gained drive practice, data on the robot’s performance, and an understanding of this year’s gameplay. Although the tournament was cut short by a New England blizzard, Mechanical Mayhem benefited from this experience in the remaining hours before Bag Day.

2015: Recycle Rush

On January 3, 2015, the new FRC game was announced, ushering thousands of students into a new, hectic, six-week build season. The game, Recycle Rush, is played on a 27 ft. by 54 ft. field by two alliances of three teams each who aim to score as many points as possible in a 2 ½ minute match.
The field is divided into the Red Alliance and Blue Alliance’s respective sides by the neutral Step running across the center. Each side has 3 sections: 1.) the Staging Zone, 2.) the Auto Zone, and 3.) the Landfill. Each Auto Zone is roughly framed in by two Scoring Platforms, each 15 ft. 7 in. long, 1 ft. 8 in. wide, and 2 in. tall. The central Step is surrounded by and covered with 68 Gray Totes and 4 Recycling Containers.

For the 15-second Autonomous Period, robots start off in the Staging Zone and follow pre-programmed instructions to score points by completing a Robot Set [all 3 robots move into the Auto Zone], Tote Set [all 3 Yellow Totes are moved into the Auto Zone], Stacked Tote Set [all 3 Yellow Totes are stacked in the Auto Zone], and/or Container Set [all 3 Recycling Containers are moved into the Auto Zone]. For the remaining 2 minutes and 15 seconds, robots engage in the Teleoperated Period during which Drivers take control of their robots. Teams can win points by stacking Gray Totes onto the slippery Scoring
Platforms and topping them with Recycling Containers. Additional points are earned by putting “Litter”, 4 ½ ft. long pool noodles, into the holes in the tops of the containers. To encourage Coopertition® between alliances, the game also offers a way for teams to score points for both sides by working together to stack 4 yellow totes on the Step.

This year Mechanical Mayhem is registered to participate in 3 district tournaments: 1.) Granite State District Event at Nashua South High School from February 26-28, 2.) UMass District Event in North Dartmouth from March 12-14, and 3.) Northeastern District Event in Boston from March 26-28.