One of the two teams that tied for 1st place Robot Performance in the World Festival this year is the Mindstorm Troopers from Ohio. Composed entirely of homeschoolers, they had won the 1st place Robot Performance award last year. This year, however, they made history by becoming one of the second teams to get straight 3/3 perfect scores at a World Festival. This was also the first time two teams tied for top Robot Performance, and on top of that, the Mindstorm Troopers became the first team to win Robot Performance two years in a row. Talk about a lot of accomplishments! As you can see in the picture above, their robot is highly compact and stable. Below are the team's comments on it, which they named RT1200:
Our NXT robot, the RT1200, is designed for reliability and durability. Its streamlined differential-drive steering system avoids unnecessary friction points and gear interactions. There are only two drive wheels, each independently controlled by a motor. There is one drive wheel on each side of the frame, located about ¾ of the way towards the rear of the robot to achieve the right balance. The front of the robot is supported by two non-powered skid wheels. The motors of the RT1200 are directly connected to the drive wheels with no gear interactions. This not only minimizes friction and eliminates gear slack, but it also gives us the speed to be able to accomplish all of the missions in time. The RT1200 is based off of our winning RCX base from last year. It was hard to transfer our proven design into NXT, and we went through dozens of alternatives before arriving at the RT1200 base design. The base incorporates a unique frame system designed not only to add structural strength but also to allow the attachment of a variety of mission-specific implements such as bumpers and wedges to the robot base itself. To fit all of the necessary NXT components into our compact frame, we secured the drive motors under the NXT brick at a 45 degree angle to the chassis. We spent a lot of time making the base as durable and ruggedized as possible to be able to achieve the kind of reliability necessary for FLL.
You can also see videos of their robot on their Photos and Videos page.
Later on I'll post something about our team as well, so "stay tuned". :)