MiniFRC is a quarter-scaled version of the current year’s FRC game with microprocessor-based robots. In this competition, teams build and program a mini-robot in 2 weeks. This program not only helps maintain the spirit of competition but also lets team members fine-tune their prototyping, building, and programming skills during the off-season.
Alfredo Systems, an RTP-based technology business founded by former TerrorBytes, is the keystone sponsor of MiniFRC. Their proprietary “NoU2 motor shield” allows an ESP32 microprocessor to control up to 6 motors and 4 servos. There is no requirement that you use Alfredo Systems’ infrastructure for MiniFRC—all you need is a way to build and drive table-top bots. You could do MiniFRC with RC cars, if you wanted (and it has been done).
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel (or the software to drive it), Alfredo Systems has developed hardware, software and tutorials to support MiniFRC.
Alfredo Systems resources:
- Alfredo Systems website
- NoU2 robot build tutorial video
- GitHub tutorial for “Robot Programming with AlfredoConnect-Receive”:(AlfredoConnect-Receive is the program that allows you to drive your bot via either keyboard commands or a controller.)
- Instructable (2018) for “Dumpy McDumpster”
An alternative to the “Alfredo Connect” application is available to control and program your robot, and it works by integrating with WPILib, the software used to program our full-size robots. This software was developed by a TerrorByte student and is available through her GitHub repository for the NoU-WPILib software tool.
MiniFRC: Camp and “Summer Edition”
During the summer of 2022, we expanded and modifying our MiniFRC program for youth with disabilities, middle school, and high school students in our community. MiniFRC: Special Edition was intended to be a 3-day event where each student was paired with a volunteer to build, program, and compete with their own MiniFRC robot. From this idea grew our first “MiniFRC Summer Camp”, held July 6-8 2023, in which TerrorByte volunteers worked 1-1 with middle school students during two intense days of robot building and a whirlwind day of competition. MiniFRC Camp is committed to supporting all students with disabilities or those who need accommodations.
The following week, we held our first “Summer Experience” event, hosted at the IBM campus, co-hosted by FRC Team 5190, Green Hope Falcons. At this event, FRC students, middle school students, and children of IBM employees came together to build robots for two intense days of building, wiring, programming, foam boarding, and hot gluing. On the third day, 15 teams competed in our third MiniFRC competition of the year–a record for the TerrorBytes!
MiniFRC camps are a great way for kids of all ages to explore STEM and have fun over the summer–if you are interested in hearing about our next events, sign up for our MiniFRC Discord server, where all new events are posted in the #announcements channel.
MiniFRC 9.5 “Charged Up”: December 2023???
We have had some interest in holding yet another version of MiniFRC on our Charged Up field. We have not committed to holding this event, but if we can get enough interest and volunteer support, we will be holding this event towards the end of 2023. Look forward to updates here!
MiniFRC: Camp 2024: Dates TBD
Description: MiniFRC:Camp is an event for rising 6th-9th graders. The goal of this event is to introduce middle school students to robotics by providing materials and hands-on assistance throughout every step of the process. They will learn basic design, building, wiring, and programming skills while also being able to compete in a competition and earn awards. After the camp is over students will have the opportunity to take the robot they built home. The deposit fee will be $50 and registration will be $99. Registration will be available in May 2024.