This is a partially disassembled version of our robot.
A team with little robotics experience, we first thought about building a robot that would go to the top bring two balls of our color to the center. We changed our minds when it seemed that most teams would be going for the four points in the cup. However, in retrospect--considering a team scored in the cup only once during the competition--going for the simple strategy might not have been such a bad idea.
We doubted if we could beat another team in the race to sort the balls and go to the cup. Therefore, we built a robot that went to the cup first, instead of sorting any balls, and placed a tethered block inside. Then we went back to the top to find a ball of our color and bring it to the center. The first part of our strategy--blocking the cup--worked consistently in lab, but we had trouble sorting through the balls at the top. In the competition, our robot got confused by the lighting in 26-100 and got lost.
Advice for future teams:
Go for a simple strategy that works, and don't overestimate your competition. Also, avoid using photosensors--the less you are dependent on calibration and varying conditions, the better. Time-outs can solve more problems than you think.