Rack 'n Roll - Talon VIII
To satisfy the Rack 'n Roll game challenge in 2007, Team 230 built a multi-functional robot. The two 5-foot long "wings" on either side of the robot fold down to become ramps that pivot and lock to lift two other robots 12 inches off the floor. A suction-powered "arm" holds onto ringers and pivots to score them on any of the three heights. It can even descore spoilers if necessary.
The most prominent feature of Talon VIII is its wings. The two ramps on either side of the bot are the majority of what is seen when looking at the robot. But these ramps are for more than just looks. When deployed, the 5 foot long ramps can lift either one or two robots over 12 inches. Rather than using slow and potentially damageable motor or pneumatic-based lift mechanisms, the ramps use passive lift. Once a robot's center of weight passes the pivot point on the ramps, the ramps pivot up then lock into place. These unique ramps were so easy to use, during one practice match a team located on the other alliance was able to drive up on them without even stopping, and the corrugated plastic never broke throughout the season.
However, Talon VIII's ramps are not its only feature. The robot is also fitted with a pivoting arm. At the end of the arm is a long piston and a suction cup. This suction cup is able to hold onto ringers securely, but allows the ringers to pivot as the robot drives. The combination of the rotating arm and the piston allow the robot to reach all the way from floor level to the top level of ringers, and the suction cup will hold throughout the process.
The robot's drive train is fast and maneuverable. It uses 6 wheels. Two rubber wheels in the middle give the robot traction without hindering spinning ability, and four omni wheels on the ends allow Talon VIII to spin on a dime.
Overall, Talon VIII is a solid robot that performed excellently in competition.