Introducing our 2016 Robot "Mittens"

Drive Train:
6-wheel tank drive (6" pneumatic tires) using a hardened Versa Planetary and 2 775 motors on each side (recently replaced by CIM & mini-CIM)

Scoring Mechanism:
Utility Arm with pneumatic catapult, 4 pistons using hi-flow solenoids

Pickup Mechanism:
3D printed spiral roller on a pneumatic jaw and a polycarb scoop

Machine Vision:
Pixi Camera w/ Ultra bright LEDs


We built, we think, the smallest robot in all of 2016 FRC. Why would we do such a thing? Being tiny turned one of the more fearsome defenses, the ramparts, into a simple ramp. Mittens can fly up and down one side of the ramparts! The low profile lets Mittens go under the low bar defense. Reduced size and weight make the other defenses a little easier. And it takes less energy to lift a smaller robot at the end of the game. But being small has it challenges. It is tough to fit everything inside the chassis. Our battery loads from below, using a trap door, because there is no room from above.


Many teams chose to make low profile robots that can go under the low bar defense. Mittens is low profile AND only 18" wide by 22" long. A possible compromise with a low profile robot is getting shots blocked by taller robots. So Mittens uses a "utility arm" that raises up and down and our pnematic catapult is mounted, along with the intake, on the end of the arm. Mittens is the best of both worlds, low profile and almost unblockable!

The catapult is powered by four pneumatic pistions driven by hi-flow solenoids. Mittens uses all four pistons to shoot from a distance, from the "outer works", and two pistons to shoot from closer to the tower. Cats have great eyes and Mittens is no different. A Pixy camera and ultra-bright LEDs help Mittens to aim quickly and fire accurately.

Breaching and Shooting

Mittens can handle every defense but the sally port (kinda) and the drawbridge. Mittens has a tail she uses to open the portcullis and lower the cheval de frise, they do not slow her down. Mittens is fast enough to get through sally port from the court yard, swing it open and go back through, and score it by herself. Mittens can breach in 35 seconds, shoots high from most of the courtyard including protected areas and shoots low. In a perfect match (no defense and successful autonomous crossing with high goal) Mittens can breach and weaken the tower by herself.

Look closely, Mittens has a secret breaching weapon. Her second drive chain (the other runs inside the tubes) runs on the outside and has "chainsaw" links (with rubber teeth) that will pull her across a defense should she get stuck.


Mittens has an autonomous program for every defense where she crosses, shoots into the high goal and returns. These behaviours are written in a 1296-specific script language and downloaded to the robot through a Java "Chooser" application running on the driver station. So recompilation of code is not necessary to change autonomous behaviours!