Bunnybots is a unique and exciting offseason competition originally created by FRC Team 1540, The Flaming Chickens from Portland, Oregon. Designed to mimic the official FRC build season, a new original game is released every September and teams are given three months to create a robot up for the challenge where they then test their robots in a friendly competition in December. Bunnybots allows new members to gain valuable hands-on experience in designing and building a robot before the regular FRC build season. As Bunnybots also provides new members the opportunity to lead projects in a significant way, we strongly encourage veteran members to take a step back from the design process. We held our first Bunnybots competition in the 2018 preseason with a total of seven teams in attendance, one coming from as far away as New Jersey. All FRC teams are encouraged to attend and participate in this annual event. Information about the coming Bunnybots competition will be posted on this page. You can read more about past Bunnybots competitions and 1540’s vision here.
The aim of Bunnybots, as a solid preseason curriculum, is to build and develop a technical foundation for rookie members as well as teach veteran members leadership and project management skills.
In the preseason, rookie education is sometimes neglected in favor of veteran projects, leading to many students unprepared for build season or uninterested in the team. Bunnybots provides a solution to insufficient rookie training by allowing these students to learn proper hand machining procedures, the basics of designing, and other skills that will allow them to succeed during the intense build season.
First year veterans should continue to develop technical skills during preseason, with a focus on CAD and the design process (CAD to prototype to final product, including iterations). Programming first year veterans will be able to program the Bunnybots -- many of them worked on small projects over the last build season and preseason and this task will prepare them for the larger task of programming the robot for teleop and autonomous. While it is important for veterans to be able to explore their own interests during preseason, this often comes at a cost to rookie education. Our older veterans should have developed all the design and technical skills they need in previous build seasons and pre/postseasons. As such, there should be no need for an additional technical project for this group during preseason. Rather, an emphasis should be placed on learning project management, leadership, and task delegation.
By working on a robot in the preseason, the team will be better equipped to handle the rigor of build season. Team members from different grades and programs will get to know one another better, which will significantly help team dynamics overall. Rookies will also not be neglected under this new system, since it prioritizes the education of rookies over all other objectives. As expected, this has led to higher rookie retention rates and rookie productivity on our team, improving team sustainability.
Bunnybots would also serve as a great way to get mentors engaged in preseason training, since the engineering challenge would be more interesting than simple tool training. Mentors and students would be able to form better bonds by working together before the build season and the structure of the project would prepare mentors for build season and reduce issues between mentors and students during the actual build season.