After months of baroque speculation based on the flimsiest of hints we have received the "specs" on this year's FIRST Robotics Challenge. The answer is below, but before we get to that I wanted to go on record with my own predictions. Trust me, 'cause the Internet never lies, my prediction was made well before the official reveal. I take my kudos and lumps as I earn them. Maybe I will even give my predictions a grade.
My Prediction 1/4/2017
With a theme of "Steam Punk" it is reasonable to assume lots of gears, implausible blimps, shiny brass stuff. But the actual game has to be something that can be set up in the same venues - usually gyms and arenas - as in years past. So no pools of water and I consider flying drones and actual blimps to be impractical.
I say there will be some kind of "coal mine" from which lumps of "fuel" are removed and put into a "boiler". This will require some kind of grabber arms and/or conveyor belts. I also expect there will be a series of ramps that have to be moved into position, or in the case of a defense strategy, moved out of positions that the opposing team would prefer. The "end game" should involve placing some sort of gears onto a big peg board. The boiler provides an amount of "energy" that varies with the amount of "coal" in it. The gears provide some kind of multiplier of this. The final style touch will be a fake blimp rising up a structure in the fashion of those old fashioned strength measuring games at carnivals. You know, the ones where you swing a hammer and something scoots up to perhaps ring a bell...
The reality 1/7/2017
The Reveal Video:
I did OK on my predictions. Fuel, gears...no ramps. The fake blimp is stylised but the spinning rotors are certainly trying for it. I give myself a B.
Our first (FIRST) build session was a bit chaotic but it was the chaos of many ideas flying around. Stay tuned.