FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Diary of an Innovator Team 3316: The Season Begins

Jan 25, 2024 Written by Team 3316, D-Bug and FIRST Robotics Competition Staff




This 2023-2024 FIRST® season, follow along as we hear from 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 post is by Team 3316 D-Bug from Tel-Aviv, Israel. You can read their first blog post on the FIRST Robotics Competition blog.


Q: What’s the most surprising lesson your team has learned together during the off-season or while preparing for the upcoming season?

A: During the off-season our team has nearly doubled its size! 

We had to adapt and learn how to manage our time in order to train everyone to the highest standards. The situation became even more difficult due to the challenges that we are facing in Israel, which limited our work hours to just a few hours a week in the past few months. 

This limitation forced us to find unique, innovative ways to train our new team members. We held as many of the training sessions as we could remotely, either via Zoom meetings or projects from home, and when we did have time to work together in the workshop, we made our schedule as airtight as possible to ensure we get the most out of that time.

In addition, we utilized most of our off time for outreach activities - we had more time to mentor our FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge teams online, create new materials and lectures about the innovation challenge and other important topics, and hold other outreach events for our community.


Q: We’ve officially released the CRESCENDOSM presented by Haas! What are your initial reactions to the game?

A: We’re so excited about the CRESCENDO season! We think this year’s challenge is an especially interesting one, mostly due to the addition of having to score a game piece into the trap while Onstage (while the robot is supported by the chain).

We greatly appreciate the fact that this year, there’s a lot of space to research and review different gameplay strategies and concepts for our robot. The complex strategic process of this year’s game allows us to develop our teamwork and innovative thinking, both as a team and as individuals.

We’re thrilled about the opportunity this game presents to collaborate with the other alliance. It perfectly represents the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition®, enhancing the game experience.

Another thing we really appreciate about this game and season in general is the theme of music which is very close to many of our team members, and it was really cool to see how it was integrated into FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST as a whole.


Q: How will your team innovate for this season’s game?

A: This year there’s so much we can do in terms of innovation - from strategy, our choice of mechanisms and how we incorporate them together, all the way to coding and our community outreach and judging sessions.

One very interesting part of the robot game, in our opinion, is the Trap. It’s one of the hardest tasks, and it allows such a wide range of mechanisms. We’re currently in the hype of the prototyping process, testing our ideas and bringing our innovations to life. We think that there are so many ways to tackle that challenge, and we can’t wait to see every team’s unique way to solve it.

With this year’s game depending so heavily on the human player, which is responsible for the amplification and cooperation process, we think it’s integral to the team’s success to find an efficient way of communication between all of the drive team members. We’re currently working on innovative ways to do so, and look forward to seeing how other teams have handled this subject.


Q: What process will your team follow when building your robot?

A: We follow the Design Review Process when developing our robot, which is the process that our mentors from the tech industry use when developing their products. We start with the SRR - System Requirements Review stage. First we analyze the game and all its tasks, their values and difficulty. We brainstorm different robot concepts, evaluate each one’s potential, and choose the one we think has the best strategic value while being suitable for our team and our capabilities.

The next stage is the SDR - System Design Review, in which we research and sketch different options for mechanisms to meet the requirements we defined in the SRR. At this stage we build different prototypes to check the feasibility of these mechanisms. Finally we choose the mechanisms we saw worked best and are integrable with each other.

Then we reach the PDR - Preliminary Design Review stage, in which we integrate all the mechanisms into an initial version of the robot, containing each mechanism’s volume. 

Finally we reach the CDR - Critical Design Review stage, in which we get to a final CAD model of the robot. We’ve learned that this stage should not be set in stone. We run it again and again until every screw and bolt is just right. Then the robot is ready for production! We’ve been following this process for years, and it gave a real boost to our professional level, giving us the room to innovate and reach our goals.

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