FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Diary of an Innovator: Team 3316 Season Wrap-Up

May 02, 2024 Written by Team 3316, D-Bug and FIRST Robotics Competition Staff




During the 2023-2024 FIRST®  season, we followed four FIRST® LEGO® League, four FIRST® Tech Challenge, and four FIRST® Robotics Competition Diary of an Innovator teams about their season experience and the culture of innovation their team has created.

This is the final blog post from Team 3316 D-Bug for this season! You can read their first and second post on the FIRST Robotics Competition blog.


Q: What innovation are you most proud of this season?

A: We believe that with innovation and hard work you solve any challenge. A major challenge we faced this season was with our robot’s stability, causing many dangerous tilts and problems we experienced in our first competition. To overcome that, we came up with an innovative solution, and designed a special stand which allowed us to put the battery under the electronics plate. We also lowered the bumpers and added weights. All of this allowed us to lower the robot’s center of mass, making it much more stable and reliable for the next competition, less than a week after the first one! We redesigned our climb mechanism to work with these changes, allowing us a fast and consistent climb using the robot’s existing arm.



Q: What was your favorite part of the season?  

A: Our season was full of amazing experiences. We are so proud of our mentor Aviela, who won the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award this season. Aviela has been the beating heart of D-Bug since its very beginning, teaching us the importance of innovation. She makes an impact all over the world as a lead judge and mentor in all FIRST programs.



One of our members even won a scholarship to the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, given to excellent alumni of the FIRST community in Israel.

We are also really proud of our FIRST LEGO League teams, who both won the Champion’s Award and Robot Performance Award in their competitions. These teams are the future of D-Bug, and that is why we invest so much in their mentoring.


Q: What was the most challenging part of the season?

A: This season, a lot of our mentors had work, military and personal duties which made them less available than in previous seasons. This created some challenges, but we are really proud of our robot and what we have managed to achieve despite these challenges. We have learned to be much more independent and work together as a team. It also taught us the importance of communication, both within the team and with our mentors, and how to stay connected even when some of them were not physically there.


Q: Reflecting on the season, what is the one lesson you’ll carry with you going forward?

A: The most important lesson we’ve learned this season is about the importance of trainings during the off-season. As mentioned, this season we had to be much more independent, so we want to improve the way we approach trainings. We plan to add more offseason projects and hands-on trainings in addition to the more theoretical ones. That will improve both us and the new members and will make us much more ready for the next season. This is why we plan to build a new robot for our off-season competition in October. That will help us to learn from our mistakes during the season and pass on to the new members the knowledge and experience you gain when building your first FIRST Robotics Competition robot.


Q: What tips do you have for new teams preparing for their first season?

A: Our first tip is to seek advice from veteran teams. The first season for a team is really exciting, but can create a lot of challenges without any knowledge and experience. That is why you should try to contact veteran teams in your area, and seek their advice and help. Over the years we’ve both assisted and were assisted by dozens of teams. This is what makes the FIRST community so special - the values of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® which drive us all to assist the FIRST community around us.

As we’ve mentioned, we’ve learned that trainings are crucial for a team’s success, especially as a rookie team. You can get trainings and ideas for projects from the internet, mentors you’ve managed to recruit and veteran teams. This will help you to gain some knowledge and skills before the season begins, as well as understand your needs in terms of equipment, tools etc. We have built our workshop from nothing, with many of our initial tools and materials coming from students’ houses!

Last but not least, invest in your outreach activity! FIRST is more than robots, and spreading STEM in our community is one of the most important and rewarding things you can do here. Moreover, we have learned that mentoring FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge and FIRST® LEGO® League Explore teams is not only raising the next generation of STEM leaders, but also raising the next generations of your team, and can really contribute to the sustainability and prosperity of your team.



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