Kaizen, named after the Japanese term for continuous improvement, is the robot we created for the 2022 FRC season. We chose this name as it reflects our constant
striving for progress on our robot and team overall.
Kaizen is comprised of five subsystems: drivetrain, intake, feeder, turret, and climb.
The drivetrain is the foundation of our robot and is responsible for its movement across the field. This year, we made the jump from a traditional tank drive to a West Coast drive, and it has granted us easier access to the robot as well as more space to fit mechanisms. It is
a 6-wheel drivetrain with omni wheels on the corners which allow for greater mobility while still maintaining traction.
The intake is the mechanism that brings this year’s game element, cargo balls, into the robot. Its elegant folding design allows the intake to assume less space within our robot while still providing the range necessary to pick up the balls. To pull the balls in, we use spinning rollers that grip the ball and spin it over bumpers. Its unique style of folding was modeled after an umbrella!
Once the ball enters our robot, the feeder subsystem stores them until we are ready to shoot them. The feeder is one belt that pulls the balls up into a vertical chamber. This simplicity makes the feeder one of our most reliable mechanisms.
The turret is the subsystem that launches balls out of our robot and into the goal. Its core component is a flywheel that spins fast enough to propel balls into the Hub from up to 20ft. To guide balls onto the desired trajectory, there is a 2-position hood that can flip up and down depending on distance from the target. The hood and flywheel are mounted on the turret, which allows the shooter to rotate independently of the drivetrain and stay locked on the goal.
Finally, the climb lifts Kaizen off the ground at the end of the match to score hangar points. The climb is extremely quick and reliable; no matter how the rest of our robot functions, we are confident our robot will be in the air at the end of the match. This is accomplished by two telescoping arms that simply hook onto the bar and retract to pull the robot upwards.
Kaizen is also enhanced by the controls functionality our programming team has coded into the robot. One of the most useful features is Kaizen’s turret tracking system that uses a Limelight camera to recognize vision targets and point the turret in that direction. The tracking frees the driver from having to aim the turret at the Hub and allows them to focus on the rest of the match.
Kaizen is a product developed and built using ideas from everyone on the team, and like the team, it is truly greater than the sum of its parts. We are very proud of the progress we’ve made on this robot, and we’re looking forward to displaying Kaizen again at the Albany competition!
The slideshow below has renderings of the various mechanisms and subsystems on Kaizen.