Rapid React was the name for the new 2022 season.

What a season it was. We started with recruitment in the middle of the 2021 COVID lockdowns, everything was online and we did not know if there would even be a in person competition in 2023.

However, a number of dedicated senior students returned a a new cohort of enthusiastic rookies signed up.

Between them and under the watchful eye of an expanded mentor group ‘The Honey Badger’ was conceived, build, tested and taken to the Southern Cross Reginal in Wollongong to win second place, to Hawaii to win the regional and to two unofficial events run by Macquarie University.


Onshape rendered model of the key mechanisms
2022 The Honey Badger

Advanced automation

This years game posed new opportunities and challenges for automation. We used the retroreflective targets on the goal fused with odometry readings from encoders in our drivetrain to accurately estimate our position and velocity on the field allowing the system to aim the turret completely autonomously throughout the match and compensate for motion allowing us to shoot while moving. We used break-beam and colour sensors in the indexer and intake to detect and automatically reject balls of the wrong colour. And we developed a routine for the autonomous period (first 15 seconds of each match) to score 5 balls.

Shooter model
Shooter Onshape Model
Prototype of shooter
Turret Onshape model
Final shooter assembly ready to be mounted on robot

Shooter & Turret Mechanisms

The shooter mechanism uses two sets of flywheels to launch balls into the upper goal from between 3 and 12 meters, the three back rollers were added to increase reliability, range and reduce backspin. 

The shooter is mounted on a turret which feeds in balls through a slewing ring and is spun with a large custom machined gear. The turret has over 380° of motion allowing the robot to shoot from any orientation and distance on the field.

Intake Onshape model
Intake prototype
Final Intake assembly
Indexer Onshape model
Indexer Prototype

Intake & Indexing Mechanisms

We made use of repeated prototyping to explore our design space. We found that a set of spinning intake rollers was able to capture the ball effectively, while a tiered set of wheels could control them within the indexing system.
The design was more effective than previous prototypes, which made use of belts but was less flexible and much bulkier.The intake proved to have multiple challenges during building and tests. A problem we noticed was poor speed when raising and dropping the the intake. The system’s raising piston was badly placed and was undersupplied with air.
By adding extra air storage and a bracket to raise the pistons, we were able to improve the performance for the tournament.The indexer was quite reliable and functioned well during the game. We experimented with the idea of using the indexer to trap an opponent’s ball, but it was not worth the reduced ball storage. The intake was quite reliable during the game, although occationally it would kick upwards while intaking the ball, reducing its grip and sometimes leading it to release the ball.

Climb prototype
Testing the climb mechanism
Climb winch prototype
It works

Climbing mechanism

A climbing mechanism was designed, prototyped and installed on the final robot at the last minute. However, it proofed sufficiently reliable during the practise matches at the Southern Cross Regional in Wollongong and was removed. 

This allowed the team to focus on the shooting and achieve some of the amazing scores.

Southern Cross Regional

The team wins second place and the Innovation in Controls Award


The teams alliance finished in second place in the Southern Cross Regional with a stellar performance under a strong defence from the opposing alliance. In addition the team won the Innovation in Controls Award which celebrates an innovative control system or application of control components – electrical, mechanical or software – to provide unique machine functions.

Full scores for the team are on the Blue Alliance – Team 4774 The Drop Bears Regional 2022 page.

Hawaii Regional

The team wins the Blue Banner for first place and the Innovation Controls Award

The Drop Bears alliance win the Hawaii Regional competition against the toughest opponent alliance as well as the Innovation in Controls award which celebrates an innovative control system or application of control components – electrical, mechanical or software – to provide unique machine functions.