In the Design section we will look beyond the standard base and investigate some of the designs used for the more specialized bots. While this guide doesn't discuss the exact minutia of creating each of the specialized bots, it does discuss the designs used by both the Notre Dame team and the ones observed from other teams. Robots discussed include the quarterback, the center, the wide receivers, and the running back.
For the quarterback, the distinguishing component is the throwing mechanism. The quarterback’s job is to select a target and launch the ball to the target without getting intercepted. Many times this process can be done manually by orienting the quarterback for the throw and estimating the correct throw distance. However this task can also be automated through a combination of imaging sensors and ultrasonics to help gauge distances. The throwing mechanisms used thus far primarily have two designs. The most common design is essentially akin to a catapult, with a lever arm flinging the ball the necessary distance. The other design uses two rotating wheels to launch the similar to how an automatic tennis server throws out balls.
The center’s job is to snap the ball to either the running back or the quarterback. This is most commonly done using a crane and claw type mechanisms, similar to what you would find in bowling alleys, arcades, or super markets. Many teams have the center simply drop the ball into the running back or into a firing chamber located on the quarterback. Our center either snaps it directly into the quarterbacks firing cage, or will drop it onto the running back.
The Wide Receiver
The wide receivers need to be easily targeted by the quarterback, and usually are built to the height of the height limit to provide larger targets for the quarterback. Many wide receiver designs use large nets to catch the ball which then falls into a basket mounted on the top of the standard base. The nets are usually angled such that it covers only two sides, with the other two being open to quarterback. Alternatives include 4 "wall" designs that can receive from all four sides.
The Running Back
As these robots are directly given the ball and their job is just to run it past the enemy, these robots tend to be smaller. The smaller base decreases weight which in turn gives it faster acceleration and top speed. They consist only of a minimized standard base and a basket to hold the ball in.