OCCRA stands for the Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association. Each fall 20 teams, each from a different high school, compete with each other in Oakland County, Michigan. Every year we play a new game, which requires students to build a new robot in order to play. These robots are similar to the ones you would see in FIRST.
OCCRA is not just to keep FIRST students working during the fall (although part of the reason that OCCRA began was to give the students something to do during the long off-season period.) The main purpose of OCCRA is to create a tournament in which the students are making and building a robot by themselves. In FIRST mentors are allowed to help the students design and even build their robot. Also, teams are allowed to use heavy machinery in their construction, which results in some very high tech and very expensive robots. But in OCCRA the designing, building, and other aspects of robot construction are solely done by the students. This gives them more responsibility in controlling their own projects from start to finish. Another regulation is a limit on “heavy machinery.” Teams build these robots with simple tools, like rulers, hacksaws, and cordless drills. Machines such as lathes and welders cannot be used.Teams are also not permitted to have any kind of corporate sponsorship for OCCRA, forcing students to work together in order to raise money for their robot. It also teaches students how to operate on a limited budget.
What Does it Look Like?
OCCRA is much smaller than FIRST. The robots are much simpler and competitions mostly take place in high school gymnasiums. To see what your typical OCCRA competition is like, click on the video to the right to view an OCCRA match from the 2008 game, Football Frenzy.
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