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Natchez
12-13-2004, 02:56 AM
You Make The Call (YMTC) is a series of situations where you can be the ref and make the call.

Redabot uses two different upper body mechanisms, Jumpy and Grabby. Jumpy is placed on Redabot when she wishes to jump on the bar and Grabby is installed when she wishes to pick up balls. Each mechanism uses one drill motor. Redabot passes inspection at 129.8 lbs with the base, Jumpy, and Grabby on the scale BUT only Grabby has a drill motor installed. Since only one mechanism is on Redabot at a time, the drill motor is swapped between Jumpy and Grabby. To save the pain of swapping out drill motors, Redabot decides to install her extra drill motor on Jumpy. Therefore, Redabot never needs to swap motors when installing Jumpy or Grabby onto the base.

Based on the 2004 Robot Rules (http://www2.usfirst.org/2004comp/5-TheRobot-RevC-incorporated.pdf), YOU MAKE THE CALL!

Wetzel
12-13-2004, 03:17 AM
<R06> The maximum allowed weight of all robot configuration components combined is 130.0 pounds (58.97kg). At the time of weigh in, the basic robot platform and any additional items that might be used in different configurations of the robot must be weighed together. Weight limit includes (one) 12V battery,control system, decorations, bumpers, and any other attached parts.

This one is easy. For weigh in, you need to weigh it with all items that might be used. All items includes all motors.


Wetzel

Katie Reynolds
12-13-2004, 03:18 AM
<R06> The maximum allowed weight of all robot configuration components combined is 130.0 pounds (58.97 kg). At the time of weigh in, the basic robot platform and any additional items that might be used in different configurations of the robot must be weighed together. Weight limit includes (one) 12V battery, control system, decorations, bumpers, and any other attached parts.If the second drill motor weighs more than .2 lbs, it's illegal. The weight of the base plus all of the mechanisms will be more than 130.00 lbs. Redabot needs switch out the motor or figure out a way to drop the .2 lbs they need. (cheeseholes, anyone?)

Tristan Lall
12-13-2004, 08:20 AM
Not so fast. It's also a spare part, which doesn't count against the limit.

That's a symptom of the real problem--a badly conceived rule. There's no universal way of determining whether their extra drill is a spare part, mounted on the mechanism for convenience (where it is legal) or a part of the mechanism (where it is illegal, due to weight). You could take the naïve approach, and say, "well, it's attached to the mechanism, so it mustn't be legal", but that comes down to a silly semantic argument as to when something is part of something else, and when it's a separate entity. Note that they (properly) pass the weigh-in, because they know that a mechanism or part need not be attached to the robot to be part of its official weight (e.g. the two function modules--which probably can't be attached at the same time).

Kevin Sevcik
12-13-2004, 09:12 AM
Not so fast. It's also a spare part, which doesn't count against the limit.

That's a symptom of the real problem--a badly conceived rule. There's no universal way of determining whether their extra drill is a spare part, mounted on the mechanism for convenience (where it is legal) or a part of the mechanism (where it is illegal, due to weight). You could take the naïve approach, and say, "well, it's attached to the mechanism, so it mustn't be legal", but that comes down to a silly semantic argument as to when something is part of something else, and when it's a separate entity. Note that they (properly) pass the weigh-in, because they know that a mechanism or part need not be attached to the robot to be part of its official weight (e.g. the two function modules--which probably can't be attached at the same time).

There is a universal way of determining whether it's a spare part or not, I think.
<R76> The costs of "spare" parts are excluded from this rule. A spare part is defined as a part that a team has obtained as a direct replacement for a failed or defective Robot part (Kit part or non-kit part)
If the team is putting it on the other assembly for convenience and not to replace a busted drill motor, then I don't think it counts. If it's not a spare part, then it has to be counted on the weight.

Steve W
12-13-2004, 09:25 AM
I agree with Kevin. A spare part is for replacement only. Once you attach it to the arm or whatever it is now part of the robot. Once assembled the robot must still meet weight requirements.

We must make sure that we don't try to make the rules meet our way of thinking. Rules should state the obvious. In this case you weigh in what you are going to use. If you add to the assembly then you must reweigh with ALL parts. I see no problem if you switch motors around between assemblies as that is how you weighed in.

Al Skierkiewicz
12-13-2004, 09:36 AM
As an inspector under 2004 rules, I would have ruled this robot did not make weight. Under 2003 rules it would have. I personally feel that the maximum weight a robot will be competing at is the test weight for inspection as the 2003 rule stated. After all, the max weight and size of a robot when it is on the field is the the critical issue to a level playing field, not the parts that are left behind. You don't qualify for size with all attachments fitting in the size box, just the robot with each attachment so that no attachment is over the size limit.

aaronbr28040
12-13-2004, 10:27 AM
I would have to say it would not pass the inspection. If it had the other drill motor installed I would say it would pass if it met the weight requirements. I think this is what FIRST was trying to avoid when saying all mechanisms must be counted in the weight. When looking at these rules we must look at the purpose of the rule rather than trying to dig in the wording to find the loophole.
-Aaron

Tristan Lall
12-13-2004, 11:43 AM
There is a universal way of determining whether it's a spare part or not, I think.
<R76> The costs of "spare" parts are excluded from this rule. A spare part is defined as a part that a team has obtained as a direct replacement for a failed or defective Robot part (Kit part or non-kit part)If the team is putting it on the other assembly for convenience and not to replace a busted drill motor, then I don't think it counts. If it's not a spare part, then it has to be counted on the weight.That only addresses the reason for which it was obtained, rather than the reason for which it was installed. It is legitimate to buy it in order to cover a possible malfunction, then preemptively install it in one module or the other. That is only tantamount to changing a motor in an integral mechanism for the heck of it, rather than when broken (which isn't a bad idea in some cases, and which is perfectly legal). The issue seems to be with the time saved, which seems like one hell of a worthless thing to be concerned about!

Just out of curiosity, Aaron, since only one drill motor is installed at inspection-time, and it meets weight limits at that time, why wouldn't it pass the inspection? You state "I would have to say it would not pass the inspection", but there is nothing at inspection-time that would constitute an illegal part or mechanism.

As for why I think that the rule is ill-conceived, look at it this way: if you had a quick-change collar on the Globe motor, it would make sense to make two--one for the robot and one for the spare motor. Is it being implied that such a collar is inherently illegal, unless you defeat its purpose by only waiting until you need it in order to install the collar on the motor? Also, I agree with Al's reasoning regarding the comparable example of robot sizing.

I can definitely attest that I liked the 2003 rule better, but I don't think that the 2004 rule even covers the situation in question.

Katie Reynolds
12-13-2004, 12:04 PM
That only addresses the reason for which it was obtained, rather than the reason for which it was installed. It is legitimate to buy it in order to cover a possible malfunction, then preemptively install it in one module or the other. Sure, you can install the second motor on the second module as long as both modules and the base weigh a total of less than 130 lbs. In this situation, Redabot would weigh more than 130 lbs, if reweighed after adding the second motor.

With what you're saying, teams could easy add another 20 lbs to their robot by added backups for when something fails.

"Well, we're at 128 lbs but ... that battery'll die sometime - we'd better make room for two, just in case!"

"Alright, we're at 130 exactly. But I was thinking - that chip motor could give out. Instead of swapping the whole motor if it fails, let's just throw another on there now so we can move the wires and save ourselves some trouble!"

As for why I think that the rule is ill-conceived, look at it this way: if you had a quick-change collar on the Globe motor, it would make sense to make two--one for the robot and one for the spare motor. Is it being implied that such a collar is inherently illegal, unless you defeat its purpose by only waiting until you need it in order to install the collar on the motor?

No one is saying you can't install a spare part for when something breaks -- the general concensus seems to be, if you've already "passed inspection" and weighed in, and are adding a part that could put you over the 130 lb limit, you should be reweighed. If the robot is over 130 lbs, the spare part needs to be removed or provisions should be made so the robot is within the 130 lb limit with the spare.

Bottomr line: If a team is going to add something of considerable weight (not a ziptie or an extra velcro tie), they should reweigh to make sure that they will pass inspection with the new part(s) on the robot. If the robot and all of its assemblies weigh more than 130 lbs at any time, it is in violiation of rule <R06>.

Andy Brockway
12-13-2004, 12:17 PM
I also agree that the motor cannot be installed. Let us keep separate what are spare parts and what is part of the robot during inspection. Spare parts replace whatever was on the robot during inspection, adding parts is just that - adding parts.

While there is some controversy over this rule, I think it came out of similiar threads about teams that built complete arms for their robots in the past. I remember in 2001, while in que, seeing our alliance partner take off half their robot. I went over to see if they needed help with repairs but they were just changing the arm because of our strategy.

Steve W
12-13-2004, 12:21 PM
As for why I think that the rule is ill-conceived, look at it this way: if you had a quick-change collar on the Globe motor, it would make sense to make two--one for the robot and one for the spare motor. Is it being implied that such a collar is inherently illegal, unless you defeat its purpose by only waiting until you need it in order to install the collar on the motor? Also, I agree with Al's reasoning regarding the comparable example of robot sizing.

I can definitely attest that I liked the 2003 rule better, but I don't think that the 2004 rule even covers the situation in question.

Tristan, like for like is OK. You are changing 2 parts on the robot for identical parts AND function. When changing for two different functions then everything used for the snap on must be weighed. If you don't weigh in both motors then you are not only violating the rule but the spirit of the rule as well. You can build 2 identical arms and ship with your robot. One is used as a spare. That whole assembly does not have to be weighed in, just the one to be used on the robot. The reason is like for like spares. Only when there are unlike replacements must they be added to the robot at weigh in time. If you weigh in one motor then that motor must be taken off your robot and put on the new function.

Now if you want to get away from gracious professionalism then you could say that you were having a problem with the old motor so you replaced with a new. Then when changing back to the out function say that you fixed the problem and that it is now OK. That is were gracious professionalism comes in. Not everything can be monitored and/or enforced. We must rely somewhat on the honesty of the teams. By the look of it when looking at the poll there are about 30% the are willing to be dishonest.

Wetzel
12-13-2004, 12:32 PM
As for why I think that the rule is ill-conceived, look at it this way: if you had a quick-change collar on the Globe motor, it would make sense to make two--one for the robot and one for the spare motor. Is it being implied that such a collar is inherently illegal, unless you defeat its purpose by only waiting until you need it in order to install the collar on the motor? Also, I agree with Al's reasoning regarding the comparable example of robot sizing.

Installing the spare collar on the spare motor makes a spare assembly. This is a one-for-one exchange for the same function.

I agree with Al, the weight you play at is the weight you should weigh at. If you can play in more than one configuration, you must weight less than 130lbs in all configurations.


Wetzel

Kevin Sevcik
12-13-2004, 12:54 PM
Like Katie said, I think a part stops being a "spare" as soon as it's attached to your robot in some fashion. If that's not the case, I know I would love to have 50 lbs of ballast on our bot to increase traction in some games.

Also, I think the rule as it currently stands is intended to prevent teams from having a giant number of configurations. This emphasizes strategizing and engineering decisions anyways, so I can't see how it's a bad thing, but I think that's a discussion for an entirely different thread.

Cory
12-13-2004, 01:01 PM
By the word of the rules, it's illegal. My personal opinion? I don't really care. It would save them a few minutes by not having to switch the motors if it was legal, but if the team planned a strategy that required something as major as removing and replacing an arm, I'm sure they could move the motor as well.

Marc P.
12-13-2004, 01:11 PM
I agree with Al, the weight you play at is the weight you should weigh at. If you can play in more than one configuration, you must weight less than 130lbs in all configurations.


Wetzel

I have mixed feelings on this. I agree that the weight you play at is the weight you should weigh in at, but I think the spirit of this year's rule was to put a cap on possible configurations, rather than leaving virtually unlimited potential function. Modular design is an increasingly popular trend, and I believe the rules this year were designed to prevent any one team from essentially building multiple robots. I think it's cool to see a robot with a modular arm which can alternate from ball manipulation to hanging, based on strategy. However, a robot with a standard base and multiple toppings (say, two small ball handlers, a 2x ball grabber, and a hanger) all as separate "functions" is a bit over the top. While technologically cool, in the legal sense each topping could be considered a different robot with different functions. The spirit of this year's ruling was to prevent this. All configurations must be weighed together to total no more than 130lbs.

To answer the original question, by the letter of the law, and from my experience as an inspector, I'd have to rule the second motor illegal if it tops the 130 pound limit. The rules clearly state the robot must not weigh more than 130lbs in ALL possible configurations, even if it's just one more motor. Otherwise, robots could be nickel and dimed up to more weight- if you can add an extra motor on the alternate configuration why not add another motor to another function if it's only a little over the limit.

Regarding the spare part issue- a spare part must be identical in form and function to the original part it would potentially replace. If it has different properties or different functions, it's not a spare, and would have to weigh in as an alternate configuration, which by this past season's rules, would have to be weighed in as part of the whole robot.

Al Skierkiewicz
12-13-2004, 01:14 PM
Just out of curiosity, Aaron, since only one drill motor is installed at inspection-time, and it meets weight limits at that time, why wouldn't it pass the inspection? You state "I would have to say it would not pass the inspection", but there is nothing at inspection-time that would constitute an illegal part or mechanism.

Tristan,
I would say it does not pass inspection since it is a not fully assembled attachment. It is not in the form at which it will compete and therefore cannot be weighed until complete. As an inspector I would ask that assy be finished and weighed or the team decide to leave the attachment in the pit and not use it during competition.

Steve W
12-13-2004, 01:30 PM
Tristan,
I would say it does not pass inspection since it is a not fully assembled attachment. It is not in the form at which it will compete and therefore cannot be weighed until complete. As an inspector I would ask that assy be finished and weighed or the team decide to leave the attachment in the pit and not use it during competition.

Al are you saying that if the 2nd assembly does not have a motor attached then it is not a functioning piece so that it cannot be used. I do not see a problem with the motor being used on both assemblies as long as it is transfered. If you weighed the robot after changing the motors there would be no weight difference. I am not sure of that part of the rule, if there is one, so could you
help me out a bit with this.

Al Skierkiewicz
12-13-2004, 01:49 PM
Al are you saying that if the 2nd assembly does not have a motor attached then it is not a functioning piece so that it cannot be used. I do not see a problem with the motor being used on both assemblies as long as it is transfered. If you weighed the robot after changing the motors there would be no weight difference. I am not sure of that part of the rule, if there is one, so could you
help me out a bit with this.
Steve,
The intent is to have all assemblies and basic robot that are used for competition weigh in less than 130. If one of the assemblies is incomplete it is not in the form which will compete. If the motor used for both attachments, were part of the basic robot then it would pass. I know that sounds a little contradictory, but the team did/could have had that chance. Moving a motor from one assembly to another to make weight does not fit into the rules in my opinion.
As a team that has competed with attachments in the past, the change in rules in 2004 made a change in our design strategy.
I need to add here that the 130 lb. weight limit is one which allows two (athletic) students and/or adults to get the robot on the field and I support that. Additional attachments that make a robot more than 130 is pushing the envelope of safe handling and I must be against that.

Steve W
12-13-2004, 02:02 PM
Steve,
The intent is to have all assemblies and basic robot that are used for competition weigh in less than 130. If one of the assemblies is incomplete it is not in the form which will compete. If the motor used for both attachments, were part of the basic robot then it would pass. I know that sounds a little contradictory, but the team did/could have had that chance. Moving a motor from one assembly to another to make weight does not fit into the rules in my opinion.
As a team that has competed with attachments in the past, the change in rules in 2004 made a change in our design strategy.
I need to add here that the 130 lb. weight limit is one which allows two (athletic) students and/or adults to get the robot on the field and I support that. Additional attachments that make a robot more than 130 is pushing the envelope of safe handling and I must be against that.

In understand the 130 lb weight limit. I agree that 2003 had a better rule. I also saw robots weighed in with all extra parts even though they were not complete. My belief, which is not law, was that the total weight of all pieces would weigh in at 130. In the above case there is only one motor being used. does it matter which assembly it is on. The team must remove it from one and use it on the other so it is really not a set on either assembly. In Tristan's case there are 2 motors involved which is wrong.

Al Skierkiewicz
12-13-2004, 02:15 PM
In understand the 130 lb weight limit. I agree that 2003 had a better rule. I also saw robots weighed in with all extra parts even though they were not complete. My belief, which is not law, was that the total weight of all pieces would weigh in at 130. In the above case there is only one motor being used. does it matter which assembly it is on. The team must remove it from one and use it on the other so it is really not a set on either assembly. In Tristan's case there are 2 motors involved which is wrong.
Steve,
There were robots that weighed in with unassembled attachments. Those teams in most cases were not sure whether they were going to use the attachments or not. We told those teams that officially, if they made changes in the completed assemblies they were required to weigh in a second or third time to insure all competition parts were weighed in total. To my knowledge the teams complied with that request. There is a point that GP must enter into the game and I fully expect participants to reweigh when changes are made. Teams expect that their alliance partners and opponents are legal to compete.

Marc P.
12-13-2004, 02:25 PM
Steve,
There were robots that weighed in with unassembled attachments. Those teams in most cases were not sure whether they were going to use the attachments or not. We told those teams that officially, if they made changes in the completed assemblies they were required to weigh in a second or third time to insure all competition parts were weighed in total. To my knowledge the teams complied with that request. There is a point that GP must enter into the game and I fully expect participants to reweigh when changes are made. Teams expect that their alliance partners and opponents are legal to compete.

At the UTC regional the inspectors performed "spot checks" on random robots on their way out of a match. The weight/size stations were setup relatively close to the field access ramp, so throughout the day Friday and Saturday, robots were periodically "pulled over" for an on the spot weight check. This essentially prevented mechanisms from being added or modified without re-weighing, as on the way out from a match, it's difficult to remove anything added from before the match.

dlavery
12-13-2004, 03:33 PM
I have mixed feelings on this. I agree that the weight you play at is the weight you should weigh in at, but I think the spirit of this year's rule was to put a cap on possible configurations, rather than leaving virtually unlimited potential function. Modular design is an increasingly popular trend, and I believe the rules this year were designed to prevent any one team from essentially building multiple robots. I think it's cool to see a robot with a modular arm which can alternate from ball manipulation to hanging, based on strategy. However, a robot with a standard base and multiple toppings (say, two small ball handlers, a 2x ball grabber, and a hanger) all as separate "functions" is a bit over the top. While technologically cool, in the legal sense each topping could be considered a different robot with different functions. The spirit of this year's ruling was to prevent this. All configurations must be weighed together to total no more than 130lbs.

To answer the original question, by the letter of the law, and from my experience as an inspector, I'd have to rule the second motor illegal if it tops the 130 pound limit. The rules clearly state the robot must not weigh more than 130lbs in ALL possible configurations, even if it's just one more motor. Otherwise, robots could be nickel and dimed up to more weight- if you can add an extra motor on the alternate configuration why not add another motor to another function if it's only a little over the limit.

Regarding the spare part issue- a spare part must be identical in form and function to the original part it would potentially replace. If it has different properties or different functions, it's not a spare, and would have to weigh in as an alternate configuration, which by this past season's rules, would have to be weighed in as part of the whole robot.

Marc gets it, exactly. His understanding of both the specific wording and intent of the rules is correct. I respectfully suggest everyone read his message thoroughly.

As defined in the original problem statement, Redabot is illegal and in violation of the weight constraint.

-dave

Andy Brockway
12-13-2004, 04:40 PM
At the UTC regional the inspectors performed "spot checks" on random robots on their way out of a match. The weight/size stations were setup relatively close to the field access ramp, so throughout the day Friday and Saturday, robots were periodically "pulled over" for an on the spot weight check. This essentially prevented mechanisms from being added or modified without re-weighing, as on the way out from a match, it's difficult to remove anything added from before the match.

This is one of the downfalls of the 2004 rule. The spot inspections cannot account for the other mechanisms and their weight. The spot inspection would not find that redabot is illegal as the team would most likely not be carrying both arms with them.

Marc P.
12-13-2004, 04:58 PM
This is one of the downfalls of the 2004 rule. The spot inspections cannot account for the other mechanisms and their weight. The spot inspection would not find that redabot is illegal as the team would most likely not be carrying both arms with them.

Well, Redabot would have had to weigh in with all possible configurations together to pass the inspection initially. The spot checks were intended to stop anyone from "pulling a fast one" and using modified/uninspected configurations post-inspection. Without the spot checks, nothing (legally, not ethically) would stop them from adding whatever to the bot to put it over 130lbs, even after passing the only required inspection.

Steve W
12-13-2004, 05:22 PM
Marc or Dave. The question I have is, would the second arm be allowed if it was weighed in with no motor attached? The team would be moving the motor from the first arm to the second to compete. I understand and agree with the other posts. Al stated that the robot could not be weighed in with out a second motor. If you could state the rule for this I would really be thankful because I was unable to find after looking for and hour.

I love good discussions. They make the brain cells work overtime. :)

Kevin Sevcik
12-13-2004, 05:34 PM
Well, Redabot would have had to weigh in with all possible configurations together to pass the inspection initially. The spot checks were intended to stop anyone from "pulling a fast one" and using modified/uninspected configurations post-inspection. Without the spot checks, nothing (legally, not ethically) would stop them from adding whatever to the bot to put it over 130lbs, even after passing the only required inspection.

The rules do provide for other teams to alert FIRST officials is something seems wrong, keeping GP in mind and no sour grapes and all. So I think it's more that without spot checks, a team would be operating illegally until caught or something. Obviously all inspections are required events, a team can't just say they don't want to be reinspected. Anyways, I believe Lone Star had a policy of giving each team a cursory reinspection during Eliminations, and a bit more stringent inspection during Finals. However, our Chief Inspector is a bit crazy. :)

Tristan Lall
12-13-2004, 05:37 PM
The key point in my reasoning is Natchez's stipulation that "only one mechanism is on Redabot at a time" (i.e. a situation where both were attached would be physically impossible). It wouldn't be a "possible configuration" of the robot to have both modules installed. (In the situation where both modules might be attached at once, the rule is unambiguous.)

The fact that a drill motor is a common part to both assemblies means that it shouldn't matter in which position a drill is installed. I would suggest that Al's statement that it is not a "fully assembled attachment" is an ad hoc ruling, and one that is not explicitly stated in, or even supported by the official rules. While it may be a reasonable ruling, it is not the only possible interpretation of the rules as written. For the purposes of inspection, I would expect that the robot have only one drill motor attached, and therefore would come in underweight.

For the purposes of having your assembly ready for competition, the later installation of the second motor is equivalent to switching the drill for a fresh one while you change assemblies, unless, of course, FIRST was really trying to disallow the time savings involved. I don't see how that could be construed as a sensible motivation.

To further clarify my position, consider the following: you have a device which can accept an M12, 50 mm bolt in any of 24 positions. Only one M12 bolt is to be installed at a time, during competition. By the same sort of reasoning which requires a team to install both drill motors for weigh-in, the team is also required to install 24 M12 bolts, because a provision for attaching such a component exists. I'm reasonably sure that nobody would have insisted upon this absurd situation, even if it would have resulted in an overweight robot; but perhaps because of the "high profile" of the drill motor, we're granting it special treatment in this regard.

Kevin Sevcik
12-13-2004, 05:57 PM
Slippery slope arguments are... well... slippery. Judging extremes is never a good bet, because it's easy to come up with absurd examples for anything. Viz.:

The Fighting Dumples have two possible bolt-on assemblies for their robot, constructed of extruded aluminum, and highly engineered cardboard boxes. Brilliantly, these two assemblies use almost all the same motors and pieces of aluminum and sprockets, just arranged in a highly different fashion. The base robot weighs 60 lbs. Assembly A's unique parts weigh 15 lbs, and Assembly B's unique parts weigh 15 lbs. The common parts between these two add-on assemblies weigh 40 lbs. So the robot makes the weight limit, and presumably the size limits. Sadly, because of the ingenuity and large reuse of parts, it takes 1.5 hours to disassemble A and reassemble it into B and vice versa. By your logic, since all the common parts are already there, the Dumples can have a perfectly legal and fully assembled A and B structure ready to go, since the common parts are "spares". Thus, the Dumples are saved 1.5 hours of frenetic building and can easily swap structures before a match.

While silly, this example is just as valid, and seems just as wrong. I think the point of the "fully functional" assembly argument is to prevent any and all weird interpretations like this from coming up. The point of mandating that the same drill motor be swapped, or that the motions atleast be made, is that there is obviously a secondary cost incurred to make this weight savings. Namely, however much time you need to move a drill motor.

We have been instructed to read the rules with a common sense sort of interpretation, and not be lawyerly. I believe the intent and purpose of this rule is to allow teams to be creative and use exchangable modules while limiting the possibility of Swiss-Army bots with several attachments suitable for any strategy. If teams will insist on an utterly clear, highly detailed rule here, then the solution becomes to pick between creativity and no Swiss-Army bots. The alternate configuration rule is a relatively recent addition, so I'd be cautious about pushing one's luck.

Tristan Lall
12-13-2004, 06:45 PM
It is most definitely a slippery slope situation. I wish that we could figure out rules that didn't lend themselves to that sort of argument, because Kevin, or I, or anyone else, can pick out a situation that makes the rule look foolish. Doing so isn't being "lawyerly", though--it's an easy way of gauging what could go wrong with the rule, and in so doing, it guides your personal interpretation of what's reasonable. When we're asked to consider "gracious professionalism", or the "spirit of FIRST", we're interpreting the rule--whether it does or doesn't happen to coincide with the unspoken beliefs of the rule-writers is irrelevant, because by leaving ambiguity, and leaving room for interpretation, the door is open to a wide variety of reasonably considered, and strictly legal variations, even though some extreme cases might not be terribly appealing. For that reason, you need a rule to define the limits of what's acceptable, not merely the fallacious argument "it isn't graciously professional enough".

So while I think that Al's "fully functional" stipulation is quite sensible, I don't think that there is enough basis in the rules to force a team to abide by it; they couldn't reasonably be expected to have inferred that from what the rules stated.

In real life, we do have laws that are ill-written, and we do have people who argue about semantics, and people who push the limits of what's acceptable. If we want FIRST's rules to represent a broad cross-section of what's good and bad about law and its conventional interpretation in society, then loopholes are par for the course. Otherwise, we need to actively strive to be explicit about our rules. The trick is controlling interpretation, without limiting creativity.

Marc P.
12-13-2004, 07:03 PM
It is most definitely a slippery slope situation. I wish that we could figure out rules that didn't lend themselves to that sort of argument, because Kevin, or I, or anyone else, can pick out a situation that makes the rule look foolish. Doing so isn't being "lawyerly", though--it's an easy way of gauging what could go wrong with the rule, and in so doing, it guides your personal interpretation of what's reasonable. When we're asked to consider "gracious professionalism", or the "spirit of FIRST", we're interpreting the rule--whether it does or doesn't happen to coincide with the unspoken beliefs of the rule-writers is irrelevant, because by leaving ambiguity, and leaving room for interpretation, the door is open to a wide variety of reasonably considered, and strictly legal variations, even though some extreme cases might not be terribly appealing. For that reason, you need a rule to define the limits of what's acceptable, not merely the fallacious argument "it isn't graciously professional enough".

So while I think that Al's "fully functional" stipulation is quite sensible, I don't think that there is enough basis in the rules to force a team to abide by it; they couldn't reasonably be expected to have inferred that from what the rules stated.

In real life, we do have laws that are ill-written, and we do have people who argue about semantics, and people who push the limits of what's acceptable. If we want FIRST's rules to represent a broad cross-section of what's good and bad about law and its conventional interpretation in society, then loopholes are par for the course. Otherwise, we need to actively strive to be explicit about our rules. The trick is controlling interpretation, without limiting creativity.

The interpretation here is relatively clear, and ultimately soley at the discretion of the inspectors and referees at each event. My reasoning would have been if there is a possible weight problem due to any two mechanisms needing common parts, do your best to design and mount the common parts directly to the chasis. If a common motor is needed between two devices, mount the motor directly to the chasis, with a sprocket to use a chain, or a gear for a belt, to each device's gearbox/mechanism. Then, each mechanism can be mounted without worrying about the extra weight of a new motor between them.

Jack Jones
12-14-2004, 07:37 PM
Not so fast. It's also a spare part, which doesn't count against the limit.
...



Incredible! But then again, some people are still struggling with what is is. :o

Tristan Lall
12-14-2004, 11:40 PM
Incredible! But then again, some people are still struggling with what is is. :oOh, so if I have eleven drill motors (10 of which are spares), I have to account for the weight of each of them? Do I weigh in with my spare batteries too? Some people are apparently still struggling with that little problem. [Edit: As a public service announcement to others, I'm being facetious. Don't worry.]

Read what I actually said about the rules not precluding that drill being considered a spare. And the potential problem with counting the weight of parts that can be installed in different places, thanks to a configurable robot. I doubt that you did either of those things, before jumping in with a weakly-reasoned position. (Or, rather, if you dispute the assertion that the second drill is a spare, you might consider actually explaining yourself.)

Steve W
12-15-2004, 12:05 AM
Oh, so if I have eleven drill motors (10 of which are spares), I have to account for the weight of each of them? Do I weigh in with my spare batteries too? Some people are apparently still struggling with that little problem.

Read what I actually said about the rules not precluding that drill being considered a spare. And the potential problem with counting the weight of parts that can be installed in different places, thanks to a configurable robot. I doubt that you did either of those things, before jumping in with a weakly-reasoned position. (Or, rather, if you dispute the assertion that the second drill is a spare, you might consider actually explaining yourself.)

When attached to a legal functional weighed in part of your robot it is not a spare. If you attach after weigh in it becomes part of a functional part of the robot and must be weighed in. If you have 2 motors attached to parts of a legal weighed in robot then they must be counted. As soon as you place on the robot then Gracious Professionalism dictates that you take all parts to the weigh in and then re weigh. I am surprised that you of all people do not understand simplicity and stated rules. You are a smart guy. Tell me what you believe the intent of the rule to be. That being the fact that you weight in robot and ALL attachments.

JVN
12-15-2004, 12:12 AM
(Or, rather, if you dispute the assertion that the second drill is a spare, you might consider actually explaining yourself.)
I dispute the assertion that the second drill is a spare. Here is why:

As stated in the original question, the drill motor is a distinct part of the 2 assemblies. It does NOT reside on the general base and "reach up into" the assemblies in any way.

As per the 2004 rules, if a component is a piece of 2 distinct assemblies and NOT part of the robot "base" which these assemblies attach to, it must be present in both assemblies during check in.


Last year's rules were designed to discourage modularity of ANY sort. It makes sense that the rules would be aggresively designed to put teams in the "worst possible" weight scenario.

Think of it this way: "If it hurts you, it is probably the correct interpretation of the modularity rules."

All the arguments I've seen from the Lall side of things are this:
"There are multiple ways to interpret the rules, here is mine."

Yep, there are multiple ways to interpret a rule; correctly and incorrectly.
This is just so clear cut, (like Steve Warren previously said) I am shocked that you guys are unable to see it. Just because one interpretation "makes more sense" to you, doesn't mean it's the right one. FIRST went completely aginst what a lot of tems wanted. They killed modularity. We all got over it, and didn't look for a loophole.

Canadian Lawyers...
Now I understand why Dave has grey hair.

John

Tristan Lall
12-15-2004, 12:45 AM
Neither graciousness nor professionalism have anything to do with this problem--we can exemplify both to our hearts' content, but the fact is, there exist two reasonable interpretations of the rules, and the mere fact that one seems more altruistic doesn't excuse us from considering that the alternative is also a fair way of reading the rules. (Or maybe it isn't: that's the point we ought to be discussing.)

Steve you ask me to judge the intent of the rule. I seem to recall an issue a while back (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27634) where we discussed the pros and cons of judging intent. Dave Lavery mentioned that "If you don't know the intent of the rule-writer, then all you have to go on is the words of the rule itself." While I wouldn't personally mind some consideration of intent, I don't feel that the rules and customs of FIRST allow us the luxury of doing that--largely because our judgments of intent are really just educated guesses of often-dubious validity.

Now, with regard to JVN's post, Dave has explained the intent of the rule-writers in a recent post--that was not known during the competition season, and could not be expected to have been known to any random team, unless it were officially announced. We can't argue with the benefit of that knowledge, since it was acquired ex post facto, and never officially disseminated. As we all know, Dave's answers on this forum can't be considered binding to FIRST teams at large, correct (or incorrect) as they might be. If we were to add the sum of our musings to the rules, the answer would be clear-cut, and in your favour--but we can't, because FIRST didn't.

I know why the rules were written--this was explained, and makes sense. I don't think that the rules were quite comprehensive enough to limit the scope of the robots in the manner intended.

And John, the sentence you quoted was directed at Jack, who seemed to be content with a post-and-run flame, rather than a statement of his reasoning.

Al Skierkiewicz
12-15-2004, 07:20 AM
Guys,
This thread has drifted a little to a really good discussion on the rules. Many of you have brought up the lawyer card in reading and interpreting rules. That is an easy deduction to make but I prefer to look at the rules as a substitute for Mother Nature. In my mind, generally, the rules keep us safe or give us a false physical limit to use for design parameters and construction. I can tell you that if you went to NASA with two attachments to be put on a spacecraft and tried to make the argument that they meet weight with a motor installed in only one, you, at best, would be laughed at. You know that both motors need to be installed for that device to fly and the weight limit is there to get it off the ground. All those inventors, scientists and engineers came up with real solutions to real world problems and did not try to bend the rules to achieve them. The rule is clear and specifies only one battery and does not include spares.
<R06> The maximum allowed weight of all robot configuration components combined is 130.0 pounds (58.97kg). At the time of weigh in, the basic robot platform and any additional items that might be used in different configurations of the robot must be weighed together. Weight limit includes (one) 12V battery, control system, decorations, bumpers, and any other attached parts.

Rich Wong
12-15-2004, 06:05 PM
Guys,
I can tell you that if you went to NASA with two attachments to be put on a spacecraft and tried to make the argument that they meet weight with a motor installed in only one, you, at best, would be laughed at. You know that both motors need to be installed for that device to fly and the weight limit is there to get it off the ground.
*pause*
This is an excellent analogy! I wouldn’t be surprise if Dave or Woodie uses it in the next Kickoff intro.

please continue debate...... ;)

Tristan Lall
12-15-2004, 06:31 PM
I can tell you that if you went to NASA with two attachments to be put on a spacecraft and tried to make the argument that they meet weight with a motor installed in only one, you, at best, would be laughed at. You know that both motors need to be installed for that device to fly and the weight limit is there to get it off the ground. All those inventors, scientists and engineers came up with real solutions to real world problems and did not try to bend the rules to achieve them. The rule is clear and specifies only one battery and does not include spares.Since only one mechanism is on Redabot at a timeAl, I don't think the analogy quite captures the problem--as you've phrased it, doesn't it lend itself better to a scenario wherein the total weight of the as-launched vehicle is less than the limit? (That is to say, like 2003.) After all, NASA would itself be laughed at if it thought its vehicle overweight for apparatus that would not be flying with the vehicle on this trip, and which couldn't have been attached in combination with the attachment being used. In short, no, both motors do not have to be attached for the device to fly (or the robot to run), because there exists no configuration that uses both motors simultaneously--there's no place to fit it in.

Kevin Sevcik
12-15-2004, 07:17 PM
I think the point was that the rules as stated are an engineering constraint over the entire system, not just what you have on the field at any particular moment. Since this year's rules mandate weighing all attachments together, they are probably meant in this sense. The old modular rules were meant in your particular sense.

To better detail the analogy, NASA is asking for a system for astronauts to use in space to accomplish all these tasks. You wouldn't send them without one of the attachments, because then you'd never use it.

To me common sense dictates that "spare" parts are there to be swapped out when something is broken, worn out, scratched, etc. The reason that the second motor is no longer a spare is the fact that it's not being swapped out because it's already there bolted down and integrated to the assembly. No work is being done to swap it out, you're just using semantics and pretending it's being swapped for the other part without actually doing anything. So I guess my definition of a spare part includes the physical act of replacing something.

jonathan lall
12-15-2004, 08:36 PM
Okay, the two sides in this debate are clear-cut; my righteous brother, stick. The only way it's going to go forward is if people stop repeating themselves. Tristan has presented the exact same challenge I would have if I agreed with him (which is creepy), but it has gone largely unanswered because people can't get past other things. Here is something the other side needs to do if they are to beat Tristan through logic:

1) Don't factor in what the rulemakers intended to say, but rather what they did say, because intent of rulemkers is immaterial, especially with this rule. He quotes Dave Lavery, one of the 2004 rule writers, on this point to great effect from a different YMTC. It would seem that nearly everyone that disagrees with Tristan, including Dave, cite what Dave intended to say in the rules. JVN goes so far as to appeal to authority (since Dave said this, it must be done this way) as a reason he's right.

2) Explain to us why these two modules constitute "different configurations" as there exists no robot configuration in which both motors are used simultaneously. Here's a leading question for you: Isn't it true that enforcing/interpreting this rule here is nothing more than nitpicking, penalizing creative thinking that does not disadvantage other teams on the battlefield to even a small degree?

3) Stop invoking GP like it's the new Elvis. Whenever someone does the whole "Gracious Professionalism is on my side" routine, my body's natural reaction is to cringe. What, pray tell, makes GP on your side rather than Tristan's?

JamesCH95
12-15-2004, 08:41 PM
This issue is very simple:

The robot must be weighed in with ALL modular components.
The motor is merely another modular component, making 4 components in total (drive chassis, two functionality comonents, and one motor component)
The robot passes weight with all modular comoponets accounted for.
It's legal!

JVN
12-15-2004, 09:00 PM
JVN goes so far as to appeal to authority (since Dave said this, it must be done this way) as a reason he's right.

You guys both hit me for this one, and you were correct.
We can't use Dave's word as law. He wrote the rules, but we need to disregard his comments.

I have edited my original post.

John

Kevin Sevcik
12-15-2004, 09:05 PM
<R06> The maximum allowed weight of all robot configuration components combined is 130.0 pounds (58.97 kg). At the time of weigh in, the basic robot platform and any additional items that might be used in different configurations of the robot must be weighed together. Weight limit includes (one) 12V battery, control system, decorations, bumpers, and any other attached parts.

Example: A team has decided to design its robot such that, before any given match, it may quickly change the configuration of the robot based on perceived strengths or weaknesses of an opponent team's robot. The team accomplished this by constructing its robot as a basic drive train platform plus two versions of a ball gripper, each gripper being a quick attach / detach device such that either one or the other gripper may be part of the robot at the beginning of a match. Their robot's platform weighs 120 lb, version A of the gripper weighs 6 lb, and version B weighs 8 lb. Although only one version will be on the robot during a match, both must be on the weight scale along with the robot platform during weigh in. This would result in a rejection of
the robot because its total weight comes to 134 lb.

So here's the entire relevant section. Emphasis mine. The weight is all attached parts. If you've attached the other motor it's now and attached part. Period.

I've included the example because it gives some insight into the intent here. The rule makers were obviously expecting multiple configurations to be used strategically and before a match. Time is a definite factor here. By attaching the second motor, the team quite definitely gains a benefit. They save the time it would take to detach it and reattach it. If it takes even 5 minutes, it is important, because the time between the finals matches is very short anyways.

Intent does matter if you have something to base it on and some insight into it, I think.

EDIT: It also says all configuration components. Nothing about different configurations, etc. I'll also put out here that attaching the second drill motor to the 2nd assembly makes that motor a component of that system. and it's obviously a different component than the original motor.

Al Skierkiewicz
12-15-2004, 09:06 PM
" 2) Explain to us why these two modules constitute "different configurations" as there exists no robot configuration in which both motors are used simultaneously. Here's a leading question for you: Isn't it true that enforcing/interpreting this rule here is nothing more than nitpicking, penalizing creative thinking that does not disadvantage other teams on the battlefield to even a small degree?"

Tristan,
I am pretty sure you just agreed with me in that last sentence. Reread your post and think about it again.

Jonathon,
The two modules are different configurations because that is how the "what if" was presented. There is no configuration in which both motors are used just as there are no configurations in which both arms are used. Hence my support of the 2003 rules where only the most heavy configuration be weighed. Since the rule changed, my design strategy had to. Remember the "virtual team" in question brought two attachments to be inspected but only one of them was complete. Don't look at this from the standpoint that is your robot, instead look at it from the standpoint of all the other teams at the competition who weighed in with fully functional attachments and passed inspection at < or= to 130lb..

Marc P.
12-15-2004, 09:20 PM
1) Don't factor in what the rulemakers intended to say, but rather what they did say, because intent of rulemkers is immaterial, especially with this rule. He quotes Dave Lavery, one of the 2004 rule writers, on this point to great effect from a different YMTC. It would seem that nearly everyone that disagrees with Tristan, including Dave, cite what Dave intended to say in the rules. JVN goes so far as to appeal to authority (since Dave said this, it must be done this way) as a reason he's right.




For the purposes of this particular discussion, John was right in appealing to Dave's post. Dave does have a better understanding of the rules than any of us here, as he did have influence in writing the 2004 rules. To quote the original post of this thread, as is the case with all other YMTC threads: "Based on the 2004 Robot Rules, YOU MAKE THE CALL!"

Therefore, for all intents and purposes of this thread, Dave, as a 2004 rulemaker, would have the supreme authority in defining what the boundaries of the 2004 rules were, which in this particular case say "All configurations cumulatively must weigh less than 130.0 pounds."


2) Explain to us why these two modules constitute "different configurations" as there exists no robot configuration in which both motors are used simultaneously. Here's a leading question for you: Isn't it true that enforcing/interpreting this rule here is nothing more than nitpicking, penalizing creative thinking that does not disadvantage other teams on the battlefield to even a small degree?


Also for the purposes of this discussion, as presented in the original post, Jumpy is the mechanism to hang from the bar, while Grabby is the mechanism to pick up the balls. I'd certainly call them distinctly different functions, so clearly one mechanism is not a spare for the other. Nor would it be fair to call the drill motor between them a "spare," as ultimately when installed in each mechanism, it will clearly perform a different function.

I'll throw this thought out for all to munch on: A drill motor by itself is just that- a drill motor. By itself it has no function other than to spin itself until it's brushings wear out. However, couple the drill motor with another device to perform a function, and the potential use of the drill motor changes from merely spinning, to driving a mechanism. By extension and definition, the drill motor becomes whatever device it's coupled with. When the drill motor is seated in Jumpy, it's only function is to reach up and grab the bar. When the motor is mounted in Grabby, it's only function is to collect balls. Deductive reasoning tells me the drill motor is not defined as a drill motor by itself, but as the devices it drives. By that logic, there is no way it can be considered a spare part, because the functions it performs in each mechanism as totally different. The only legal way around the problem would be to lose enough weight to compensate for the presence of another drill motor, such that both mechanisms are operable at the time of weigh in.

Alex Golec
12-15-2004, 09:41 PM
A drill motor by itself is just that- a drill motor. By itself it has no function other than to spin itself until it's brushings wear out. However, couple the drill motor with another device to perform a function, and the potential use of the drill motor changes from merely spinning, to driving a mechanism. By extension and definition, the drill motor becomes whatever device it's coupled with. When the drill motor is seated in Jumpy, it's only function is to reach up and grab the bar. When the motor is mounted in Grabby, it's only function is to collect balls. Deductive reasoning tells me the drill motor is not defined as a drill motor by itself, but as the devices it drives. By that logic, there is no way it can be considered a spare part, because the functions it performs in each mechanism as totally different. The only legal way around the problem would be to lose enough weight to compensate for the presence of another drill motor, such that both mechanisms are operable at the time of weigh in.

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement.

A spare part is "an exact replacement for parts on the robot." - It cannot be a spare if the part was never in the component in the first place. [<R09> bullet four.]

Jumpy was weighed without a drill motor because the team believed that the drill motor mounted in Grabby was a spare replacement for Jumpy. By definition, replacing is the act of switching stuff out. The drill motor cannot be swapped into Jumpy because it is not being swapped- there is an empty spot in Jumpy and nothing can be put there.

Grabby's drill motor cannot be a 'replacement' into Jumpy's transmission because there was never a motor there to begin with.

_Alex

jonathan lall
12-15-2004, 09:44 PM
Okay, now we are actually getting somewhere. Though I love how everybody assumes that I am of the same opinion as Tristan even though I never stated my position on this. I just broke down the core of his argument for everyone to take shots at, and somehow (as I suspected might happen) I'm grouped with him due to a similarity in last names. I'm asking others to articulate why Tristan is wrong using written rules; as an inspector or mentor, there is no way I would let this go, but my bias means next to nothing, as does that of everybody else on this forum. That's why I asked for objective explanation. Luckily, I don't take offense to being labelled a lawyer; perhaps I take comfort in the fact that attorneys have much higher average IQs than professional engineers.

Marc, I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph, but you are simply wrong in your point about the appeal to authority. I was pointing out that it was a fallacy in logic (argumentum ad verecundiam) to use the rule writer's intent as an extension of the rules. Dave has the potential to have the exact same knowledge as you or I of what the rules say, which is what is important. You don't help yourself by quoting "Based on the 2004 Robot Rules, YOU MAKE THE CALL", since you're definitely not following your own advice here.

Tristan Lall
12-15-2004, 09:56 PM
The robot must be weighed in with ALL modular components.
The motor is merely another modular component, making 4 components in total (drive chassis, two functionality comonents, and one motor component)
The robot passes weight with all modular comoponets accounted for.
It's legal!I'll throw this thought out for all to munch on: A drill motor by itself is just that- a drill motor. By itself it has no function other than to spin itself until it's brushings wear out. However, couple the drill motor with another device to perform a function, and the potential use of the drill motor changes from merely spinning, to driving a mechanism. By extension and definition, the drill motor becomes whatever device it's coupled with. When the drill motor is seated in Jumpy, it's only function is to reach up and grab the bar. When the motor is mounted in Grabby, it's only function is to collect balls. Deductive reasoning tells me the drill motor is not defined as a drill motor by itself, but as the devices it drives. By that logic, there is no way it can be considered a spare part, because the functions it performs in each mechanism as totally different. The only legal way around the problem would be to lose enough weight to compensate for the presence of another drill motor, such that both mechanisms are operable at the time of weigh in.Remember what I said about parts of parts? (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=307927&postcount=4)

Steve W
12-15-2004, 10:05 PM
Thanks for highlighting those posts for me. When you see what is being weighed in, how many motors do you see? Exactly 1! Therefore you would need to attach only 1 motor to the attachments not two. You have answered your own question. This is also why I disagree with Al. Your attachments do not have to be in working order when weighed in. They must however be all present. You could add multiple attachments at any time as long as total weight of all is equal to or less than 130 lb.

Tristan you never really rebutted my earlier comment except about GP and intent. The first part stated the facts.

Kevin Sevcik
12-15-2004, 10:08 PM
That's a symptom of the real problem--a badly conceived rule. There's no universal way of determining whether their extra drill is a spare part, mounted on the mechanism for convenience (where it is legal) or a part of the mechanism (where it is illegal, due to weight). You could take the naïve approach, and say, "well, it's attached to the mechanism, so it mustn't be legal", but that comes down to a silly semantic argument as to when something is part of something else, and when it's a separate entity. Note that they (properly) pass the weigh-in, because they know that a mechanism or part need not be attached to the robot to be part of its official weight (e.g. the two function modules--which probably can't be attached at the same time).

I'll take that one up. I don't think it's a silly semantic argument. You can't say that the extra motor is a spare part mounted for convenience, because it's mounted and already hooked into the system. If you can put a battery across it and the whole assembly jumps, it's not really a spare part anymore.

Also, to say that it's a spare mounted for convenience is to be disingenuous at best. It's tantamount to pre-emptively swapping the original motor for its spare everytime you change assemblies. And then swapping right back to the old motor when you're done with that mechanism. And doing that several times per regional. It doesn't really sound like a spare anymore after that.

This is in contrast to, say, mounting a spare breaker or victor on the robot somewhere. That spare isn't in the system till you connect it. And you only swap it in when something breaks. Of course, it still counts against your weight. I think it still counts against your weight even if it is a spare, really. So long as it's attached to your robot.

EDIT: Swapped paragraphs for clarity.

Marc P.
12-15-2004, 10:58 PM
Remember what I said about parts of parts? (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=307927&postcount=4)

Not so fast. It's also a spare part, which doesn't count against the limit.

That's a symptom of the real problem--a badly conceived rule. There's no universal way of determining whether their extra drill is a spare part, mounted on the mechanism for convenience (where it is legal) or a part of the mechanism (where it is illegal, due to weight). You could take the naïve approach, and say, "well, it's attached to the mechanism, so it mustn't be legal", but that comes down to a silly semantic argument as to when something is part of something else, and when it's a separate entity. Note that they (properly) pass the weigh-in, because they know that a mechanism or part need not be attached to the robot to be part of its official weight (e.g. the two function modules--which probably can't be attached at the same time).


I don't think it's a badly conceived rule though. In my experience, there IS a way to tell whether a drill motor is a spare part. My team keeps our spare motors in their boxes until needed. These are kept aside in the event one of the pre-mounted motors burns out. Our intentions for this motor are clear- it's kept as a spare/replacement (the two words are interchangeable here) for a mechanism on the robot who's function is consistent upon changing the motor.

"There's no universal way of determining whether their extra drill is a spare part, mounted on the mechanism for convenience (where it is legal) or a part of the mechanism (where it is illegal, due to weight)."

This is more a matter of perception than anything else. As a referee/inspector, if a team claimed to have a "spare" drill motor already mounted on a mechanism for convenience, and it was clearly a different mechanism from one already mounted on the robot, I'd have to tell them to lose some weight if the total was over 130.0 (ideal solution, where everyone ends up happy and legal), or they can't use the extra arm (the apparent intention of the rule in question- to limit possible modular configurations).

The example of Redabot probably isn't the best way to illustrate the intention of the rule, where the weight is close enough where something can probably be chopped to make it legal. Rather, say the weight of Redabot by itself is 118.0, while Jumpy is 10.0. Grabby weighs 12.0 pounds. Clearly under the 2004 rules* only one mechanism would be legal, period. The total sum of all possible configurations would be 140. Under the 2003 rules, this would have been perfectly fine- the heaviest configuration would be with Grabby, and weigh in at 130.0.

Both mechanisms have parts in common. Both are made of aluminum, both have belts, and motors, and bolts, and rivets. Should we consider the aluminum itself a spare part, because it's common between the two? Would it then be fair to consider the drill motor a spare part because it's shared between the two? How about the bolts holding them both together?

I know the extremist argument doesn't usually work, but it's getting late and my brain is shutting down for the night, and I'm running out of fuel to debate. Hopefully you can see what I'm saying though.


*Jonathan correctly pointed out the purpose of this thread to be "YOU make the call" rather than going to the original source of the rules, but my intention was to highlight the "Based on the 2004 rules" part, and since an original source of the rules is conveniently handy around these parts, ultimately, the official FIRST ruling comes from his general direction, regardless of what the group decides here.

dlavery
12-15-2004, 11:57 PM
I seem to recall an issue a while back (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27634) where we discussed the pros and cons of judging intent. Dave Lavery mentioned that "If you don't know the intent of the rule-writer, then all you have to go on is the words of the rule itself." While I wouldn't personally mind some consideration of intent, I don't feel that the rules and customs of FIRST allow us the luxury of doing that--largely because our judgments of intent are really just educated guesses of often-dubious validity.

Now, with regard to JVN's post, Dave has explained the intent of the rule-writers in a recent post--that was not known during the competition season, and could not be expected to have been known to any random team, unless it were officially announced. We can't argue with the benefit of that knowledge, since it was acquired ex post facto, and never officially disseminated. As we all know, Dave's answers on this forum can't be considered binding to FIRST teams at large, correct (or incorrect) as they might be. If we were to add the sum of our musings to the rules, the answer would be clear-cut, and in your favour--but we can't, because FIRST didn't.

OK, a swing and a miss on the first one. Strike One. But you followed up with a drive to right field and you get a clean single. Man on base.

Good attempt to bring in the prior discussion regarding the necessity for referees to ignore "intent" when making their rulings, but I would postulate that it is irrelevant to this discussion. The referenced discussion had to do with the ability of referees to determine the "intent" of a team’s actions as they played the game. In that scenario, the referees are required to make instantaneous decisions based solely on what they can observe at that moment. With only a few rare exceptions, there is no opportunity for debate or deliberation. In such a situation, the only data that can be considered reliable is that directly observed by the referees. There is no ability to determine “intent,” therefore, it must be ignored by the referee. But in the case of determining the “intent” of a rule, the situation is different. When the rules are made public at the beginning of the season, there is ample opportunity to examine, discuss and review the rules. At the kick off, teams are invited to look at the rules and to strive for the simplest, most basic “non-lawyer-ish” interpretation possible. If there is still confusion you have many opportunities, through multiple channels, to seek clarification. There is time and means for discussion to understand the intent of the rules and the rule-makers. Unlike the former example, where there is no time to discover “intent,” this is a situation where you are explicitly invited by FIRST to investigate and understand the intent of the rules and how they may affect your robot design and game-playing strategy. Thus, the prior discussion really doesn’t have any bearing on this thread.

On the other hand, you are correct in the assertion that my comments in this forum can't be considered binding. As I have stated before, any comments I make here DO NOT represent any official positions by FIRST. I am not speaking for them, just for myself (and occasionally my team and/or NASA). While I do have some insights into some of the discussions that take place while the game and rules are being developed, I do not participate in all of them and I am not the only one in those discussions. There are many, many other opinions, positions and ideas that are contributed by the members of the Game Design Committee. At the end of that process, the consensus opinions and final determinations are represented and issued by FIRST (and only FIRST). So please just take my comments for what they are - slightly informed opinions that may offer partial insights and some modicum of clarification, but not words from The Oracle (for those, you have to talk to Woodie :) ).

You may now return to your previously scheduled arguing... :)

-dave

p.s. Now I understand why Dave has grey hair.
Hey!!

Tristan Lall
12-16-2004, 12:03 AM
I'll take that one up. I don't think it's a silly semantic argument. You can't say that the extra motor is a spare part mounted for convenience, because it's mounted and already hooked into the system. If you can put a battery across it and the whole assembly jumps, it's not really a spare part anymore.According to the initial scenario, the extra motor is sitting on the sidelines, possibly attached to the unused assembly; the robot is competing with one drill motor, attached to the other assembly ("one mechanism is on Redabot"). I don't think that we're looking at the same situation here--aren't you stating that the second motor is also present ("mounted and already hooked into the system")?
Also, to say that it's a spare mounted for convenience is to be disingenuous at best. It's tantamount to pre-emptively swapping the original motor for its spare everytime you change assemblies. And then swapping right back to the old motor when you're done with that mechanism. And doing that several times per regional. It doesn't really sound like a spare anymore after that.Would you have the same objection to a team that swapped identical components in this manner? How do you know when such a thing ceases to "sound like a spare"? And what would be wrong with pre-emptively swapping the motor between some matches? After all, how is that distinct from a preventative maintenance program?
This is in contrast to, say, mounting a spare breaker or victor on the robot somewhere. That spare isn't in the system till you connect it. And you only swap it in when something breaks. Of course, it still counts against your weight. I think it still counts against your weight even if it is a spare, really. So long as it's attached to your robot.I'm pretty certain, now, that we're looking at different scenarios. If it is on the robot during a match (as you seem to be describing with the above), it has to be counted--this is like having both assemblies on the robot at once. For the "second" assembly to be used as inspected, it needs a drill. But, I refer once again to this: "one mechanism is on Redabot". I would surmise that the other mechanism is elsewhere, and not participating in any match.



Thanks for highlighting those posts for me. When you see what is being weighed in, how many motors do you see? Exactly 1! Therefore you would need to attach only 1 motor to the attachments not two. You have answered your own question. This is also why I disagree with Al. Your attachments do not have to be in working order when weighed in. They must however be all present. You could add multiple attachments at any time as long as total weight of all is equal to or less than 130 lb.Steve, I think that it's agreed that only one drill motor can be on the robot which competes during any given match--a second drill would violate the weight rules; but since there is only one place that a single drill can be attached to the robot during a match (on one assembly or the other, but never both, because they are never present together), this is not significant--rather, it is impossible. (This may be a source of confusion, but I don't think I ever said otherwise--maybe I was ambiguous somewhere, or you misinterpreted my statements?) But--what's the difference between putting the second drill on the the loose assembly while the first one is still attached to the connected assembly, or waiting until the connected assembly's drill is removed before attaching the second drill to the loose assembly? Again, I wonder, is FIRST trying to regulate the timing of these events, between matches? And if they were, why didn't they just say so?



This is more a matter of perception than anything else.I agree.
The example of Redabot probably isn't the best way to illustrate the intention of the rule, where the weight is close enough where something can probably be chopped to make it legal. Rather, say the weight of Redabot by itself is 118.0, while Jumpy is 10.0. Grabby weighs 12.0 pounds. Clearly under the 2004 rules* only one mechanism would be legal, period. The total sum of all possible configurations would be 140. Under the 2003 rules, this would have been perfectly fine- the heaviest configuration would be with Grabby, and weigh in at 130.0.Thanks to this, I just had another one of my off-the-wall thoughts...since we're required to have our robots re-inspected whenever we make any substantial change, what prevents a team from choosing either of the above modules before a match, then going to get re-inspected with the new configuration? I would guess that only their last-inspected configuration is legal, but the team is effectively making the choice in exactly the same fashion as before--and the total weight in any last-inspected state is always no greater than 130 pounds. The fact that this renders all previous states unusable is not relevant; re-inspection is a blank slate--it needs to be, in order to accomodate modifications made at a competition.
Both mechanisms have parts in common. Both are made of aluminum, both have belts, and motors, and bolts, and rivets. Should we consider the aluminum itself a spare part, because it's common between the two? Would it then be fair to consider the drill motor a spare part because it's shared between the two? How about the bolts holding them both together?You see the problem with easily defining parts and related terminology--the implications of your questions are what I was concerned about, when I noted that a silly semantic argument with no clear-cut resolution could result.

Tristan Lall
12-16-2004, 12:43 AM
Good attempt to bring in the prior discussion regarding the necessity for referees to ignore "intent" when making their rulings, but I would postulate that it is irrelevant to this discussion. The referenced discussion had to do with the ability of referees to determine the "intent" of a team’s actions as they played the game. In that scenario, the referees are required to make instantaneous decisions based solely on what they can observe at that moment. With only a few rare exceptions, there is no opportunity for debate or deliberation. In such a situation, the only data that can be considered reliable is that directly observed by the referees. There is no ability to determine “intent,” therefore, it must be ignored by the referee. But in the case of determining the “intent” of a rule, the situation is different. When the rules are made public at the beginning of the season, there is ample opportunity to examine, discuss and review the rules. At the kick off, teams are invited to look at the rules and to strive for the simplest, most basic “non-lawyer-ish” interpretation possible. If there is still confusion you have many opportunities, through multiple channels, to seek clarification. There is time and means for discussion to understand the intent of the rules and the rule-makers. Unlike the former example, where there is no time to discover “intent,” this is a situation where you are explicitly invited by FIRST to investigate and understand the intent of the rules and how they may affect your robot design and game-playing strategy. Thus, the prior discussion really doesn’t have any bearing on this thread.Dave, I certainly don't contest the primary purpose of the linked thread, but I do think that there is merit to the notion that a random FIRST team, like an inexperienced referee, may not be as well-versed in nuances of intent as we veterans are. We need to make sure that the rules are clear-cut for the hypothetical lone rookie team in deepest, darkest Utah, whose only source of communication with FIRST comes in the form of rules, updates and the official (and often inconsistent) Q&A forum. When they, as laypeople, listen to Dean and Woodie at the kickoff, they may hear motivational speeches and little more, because they do not yet have the context to understand the underlying "spirit of FIRST" that Dean and Woodie exude. It's like a Catholic visiting a Baptist church--they understand, but they don't understand it all. The rules and their kin are dry, technical documents, which, once again, provide precious little context for these people. Just as new students often don't "get it" until they are present at their first FIRST regional, a new team may not understand that which we take for granted, until they show up at a regional and find themselves in violation not of an explicit rule, but a convention that has gained the force and effect of one. We can fault them for not doing enough to educate themselves, and to an extent, that is fair; but that doesn't absolve us of the need to try to make it as unambiguous for them as possible, while still balancing the other concerns that obviously affect the rule-makers' choices. While a new referee will have but a day or so to learn the nuances, I would submit that a new team, in the absence of guidance from the FIRST community, might well develop its own concept of the competition in a similarly short time, and will continue to exhibit that mindset until it is confronted with the reality of an event, several months later. Though hypothetical, I don't think that scenario is unreasonalble; since we would probably consider that undesirable, we should guard against it as well as we can, by offering guidance to the team, writing rules that do not lend themselves misinterpretation due to a rookie's mistaken impressions, and being empathetic to the fact that ultimately, we do seek growth for FIRST--why not aspire to make it simple for the layman to understand, but not so simple as to lose the precise concepts that we wish to convey?

Indeed, I know that Dave and the others who discuss game design seek to understand and cater to the needs of the community, and while I may disagree with them or others on certain specifics (like those littered throughout this thread) I just want to argue don't question the good intentions of those productively involved. I merely try to approach the question from an unconventional, but reasoned perspective.

Steve W
12-16-2004, 08:33 AM
Steve, I think that it's agreed that only one drill motor can be on the robot which competes during any given match--a second drill would violate the weight rules; but since there is only one place that a single drill can be attached to the robot during a match (on one assembly or the other, but never both, because they are never present together), this is not significant--rather, it is impossible. (This may be a source of confusion, but I don't think I ever said otherwise--maybe I was ambiguous somewhere, or you misinterpreted my statements?) But--what's the difference between putting the second drill on the the loose assembly while the first one is still attached to the connected assembly, or waiting until the connected assembly's drill is removed before attaching the second drill to the loose assembly? Again, I wonder, is FIRST trying to regulate the timing of these events, between matches? And if they were, why didn't they just say so?



This is significant. The fact that as soon as you add the motor to the arm you are required to re weigh the robot AND any attachments. That IS the rule. If there are motors on both assembles at the same time then both must be weighed. I am not arguing the running weight of the robot nor am I arguing that the second function is not being used. KISS states that both the robot and all configurations MUST be weighed in before competing and after ANY modifications that could add weight to the robot. A good debater always tries to take the subject slightly off topic to confuse those being debated with. I however will not allow you to change the fact of what the rules STATES. You have broght this issue up with many about the wording. KISS dictates that the rule be read in it's entire form, not modified or interpreted, not pushed to the boundaries or over them.

Kevin Sevcik
12-16-2004, 08:46 AM
According to the initial scenario, the extra motor is sitting on the sidelines, possibly attached to the unused assembly; the robot is competing with one drill motor, attached to the other assembly ("one mechanism is on Redabot"). I don't think that we're looking at the same situation here--aren't you stating that the second motor is also present ("mounted and already hooked into the system")?

You're right. We are looking at different scenarios. As described, during inspection, the extra drill motor is nowhere to be found on either mechanism; it's back in the pit somewhere. The team shows up at the inspection station with the base, Jumpy, Grabby, and one drill motor to swap between them. The drill motor is swapped to whichever mechanism is in play. This sounds mostly legal to me.

The issue is that later, the team installs an extra drill motor into the other mechanism so that now there is no more swapping a drill motor back and forth between mechanisms. Ever.

Presumably, if you weighed in now, you'd weigh in the base, Jumpy, Grabby, and two drill motors. The extra drill motor would put you over weight, because it's sitting there attached to the other mechanism and is being counted on weight now. To make weight, you would have to look the inspector in the eye and tell him/her that the other drill motor there is just a spare and shouldn't count against you. Yes, it's attached to the part and fully integrated and all, but it's just a spare. This is the problem we "illegal" types have, because at this point we see that the robot is clearly over weight because the new motor is now attached and we can't understand how it could possibly be considered a spare now.

Al Skierkiewicz
12-16-2004, 10:14 AM
To make weight, you would have to look the inspector in the eye and tell him/her that the other drill motor there is just a spare and shouldn't count against you. Yes, it's attached to the part and fully integrated and all, but it's just a spare.

Kevin,
Not to confuse the issue... We call this "passing the red face test". If you can stand in front of someone and state your case without geting red in the face, then you pass the test. I don't think anyone could pass the test, as you state it above, without getting red.

Steve W
12-16-2004, 10:24 AM
Kevin,
Not to confuse the issue... We call this "passing the red face test". If you can stand in front of someone and state your case without geting red in the face, then you pass the test. I don't think anyone could pass the test, as you state it above, without getting red.

Those with no scruples.

Marc P.
12-16-2004, 12:13 PM
Thanks to this, I just had another one of my off-the-wall thoughts...since we're required to have our robots re-inspected whenever we make any substantial change, what prevents a team from choosing either of the above modules before a match, then going to get re-inspected with the new configuration? I would guess that only their last-inspected configuration is legal, but the team is effectively making the choice in exactly the same fashion as before--and the total weight in any last-inspected state is always no greater than 130 pounds. The fact that this renders all previous states unusable is not relevant; re-inspection is a blank slate--it needs to be, in order to accomodate modifications made at a competition.

But that's just it, this discussion was intended to be "Based on the 2004 rules," which again, state the weight of the robot with all functions combined (whether or not attached, all modules must be present on the weight platform) to be no more than 130 pounds. It wouldn't matter when or why a robot would be reinspected, or whether or not the configuration changes- the robot must still be weighed with all modules and attachments on the scale at the same time. Re-inspection is indeed a blank slate- however, under the 2004 rules, it must still include all modular states the team intends to use during the course of competition. Any module usage whos components were not weighed in at the time of initial inspection would be illegal until officially weighed in with all other components. I know it sounds repetative, but it is my main argument. Everything Tristan has been saying is correct, provided we were governed by the 2003 rules. But the 2004 rules are such as they are for the purpose of preventing or "making difficult" the type of scenario this thread is discussing- the usage of multiple modules for multiple purposes. I'm inclined to agree with what Al said a number of posts back- the mechanism lacking the drill motor would be considered incomplete, invalidating it's status as an alternate configuration.


You see the problem with easily defining parts and related terminology--the implications of your questions are what I was concerned about, when I noted that a silly semantic argument with no clear-cut resolution could result.

I agree.

BillCloyes
12-16-2004, 04:43 PM
This thread is a deceivingly good discussion. When I happened on to it, I was rather indifferent to the poll question but wanted to see where the consensus of the FIRST community stood. Admittedly, while reading the through it, I have been swayed toward legal and,to illegal, and back again, and so on....

After taking in the thread thus far, I think that...

The swapping of the drill motor lends itself to swapping of other common parts between the modular components: Jumpy and Grabby. With this line of reasoning, all the bolts (inherently heavy), for example, could be exchanged from Jumpy to Grabby and back again. For inspection Jumpy could be on the robot, and Grabby would be just a pile of aluminum waiting to be assembled. This even goes so far as give the team the benefit of the doubt that no "spares" were used and that parts were actually swapped out each time. I think common sense tells us that this example is a bit far down on a slippery slope of what is technically considered legal. (i.e. it doesn't pass the "spirit of the rules" test, particularly the pile of aluminum being a mechanism)

The rules have got to be more than just unverifiable proclamations of legal verses illegal. There must be a way to clearly define what is legal and what is not; an ability to check that the rules are being followed (not to give up on gracious professionalism, but as a way to spot check and ensure the integrity of the game.

I think the heart of this is not about swapping parts between the modular components, but rather if modular components need to be complete (ALL pieces/parts present to function) to pass inspection (for 2004).

With this focus, it gets the scenario away from the uncheckable grey area of whether or not they actually swap the motor between the two components, and back into a hands of the inspectors where a consistent ruling can be made and rules can clearly interpreted by all teams.

..and isn't consistency in the rules all we really want each year :) ...consistency from kickoff to the ship date...consistency from match to match, competition to competition...

-Bill

Kevin Sevcik
12-16-2004, 05:02 PM
I'll agree that specifying that all additional assemblies need to be complete, or as complete as possible. There are probably other weird gray area scenarios that you could think up for that, of course. For instance, you could have two different length arms or something. They attach to the same pivot on the base at one end and use the same grabber mechanism at the other end. So it's kinda questionable how complete it really is since you wouldn't be swapping out the grabber. So there's always gray areas, they just get resized and shifted around.

Back on topic, though... The current discussion is about the rules as written last year, and I think they're quite a bit more vague on how complete the extra assemblies need to be. So I'll continue to say that as of last year, swapping the motor was probably legal. It'd just be nice if that issue were cleared up for this year.

Think the current rulemakers are reading these YMTC threads as well as last year's Q&A to see where confusion points can crop up in the rules?

Dan Richardson
12-16-2004, 05:15 PM
This is seemingly very complicated but a very easy solution to the problem.. Team redabot could use the 2 seperate drill motors siting 1 as a replacement.. however every time that they switched between the 2 motors.. all that is needed to do is unscrew the motor from the chasis.

Even if you switched back and forth between the motors it would be a replacement part as long as you just took it off all that would have to be accounted for is the mount.

Maybe this is twisting the question a little, but you could use 2 seperate motors as long as you detatch it from the other mechanism. Because something doesn't have to be broken to be replaced.

Alex Golec
12-16-2004, 05:22 PM
A legal loophole to this would be: The drill is attached through wires to the main base of the robot, so it is part of the base. The point at which it disconnects would be the screws that hold it into the optional functions.

So what I've boiled all this down to is: the rules have no definition for what is a 'system' or 'function,' nor for determining what is a point of detachment and where that point is.

My opinion is that the drills should be connected to the functions, because the connection between the drills and metal is stronger than that of the drills and wires. I stick to this opinion, but I understand how it could be viewed otherwise.

_Alex

Al Skierkiewicz
12-16-2004, 10:05 PM
OK, I will make a stab at this again. I like using real world examples so here is one I am very familiar with. Wildstang has modular, crab steering as everyone knows. Each of four drive modules can be swapped out (four bolts and an electrical connector) at anytime so therefore one can consider them "attachments". Two of the modules use drill motors and two use FP motors. The robot shows up for inspection and all four modules are separate from the robot and sitting on the cart. All of the modules have motor mounts but only three of the modules actually have motors. A drill motor is missing. Of course there are plenty of spare motors and spare drive modules with motors already mounted. We put the robot, and "attachments" on the scale and are logged in at 129.8 lb. Back in the pit as the robot is reassembled, all four modules are fitted with motors in place and out to the competition field.

To make a few statements before you get excited...Both the Wildstang robot and the virtual robot have attachments that need motors to be functional. Both robots mount the motors on the attachments to play. Both robots weighed in with all attachments on the scale as outlined in <R06> under 5.2.3 of the robot rules. Both robots weighed in without a motor mounted in an attachment that is used during competition and passed inspection. Now as it stands, the only difference is that the virtual robot has an attachment left in the pit (making it considerably less than 130 lb.) and Wildstang has left nothing in the pit. Of course you are going to cry foul, but on what basis? Wildstang weighed in under the same interpretation of the rule as virtual robot. It weighed in with all attachments and the basic robot on the scale at the same time, same as virtual. It left one drill motor behind, same as virtual. Check the rule and the example and pass the red face test by telling me a rookie could make this error with just the rule book in front of them. The rule is clear and the example is clearer.

"Luckily, I don't take offense to being labelled a lawyer; perhaps I take comfort in the fact that attorneys have much higher average IQs than professional engineers."
Jonathon, I challenge this. You need to come up with some hard evidence in support of this claim.
Tristan, although I disagree with you I do need to give you some encouragement. You have an outstanding command of the English language, written at least. I would expect no less of your spoken language as well. It is rare to come across such well written paragraphs in modern literature let alone in technical text such as these forums. Please make good use of this gift, do not waste it.

jonathan lall
12-16-2004, 11:20 PM
Okay, time out on the topic. If you feel the urge to slap me (and I know you do), do it in a Private Message, because I don’t want to kill this rather enjoyable thread.

Luckily, I don't take offense to being labelled a lawyer; perhaps I take comfort in the fact that attorneys have much higher average IQs than professional engineers.Jonathon, I challenge this. You need to come up with some hard evidence in support of this claim. I was wondering how long it would take for someone to take issue with that comment. It's in direct response to another comment (also in jest) made earlier. After all, I have to keep my image as a ‘public defender’ of lawyers everywhere on this forum, because in general, FIRST is taught to hate them in a dazzling display of biased ignorance (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27743). That being said, I actually did my research before I made that little parting remark. I would have been content to not disclose any sources, but since you asked…

Know Your Child’s IQ, by Glen Wilson and Diana Grylls lists occupations that they maintain are typified by various IQ levels. It is unclear where they got this information or whether it is based on empirical data at all however to your credit, engineers are placed in the same IQ category as lawyers; that is the ~130 mark.

But.

CNN did a story on this very recently and mentioned attorneys scored higher than all other professional disciplines, including "doctors" (as in MDs), and engineers. Professional disciplines are by far the cream of the crop in this regard. However, it should also be noted that years of schooling and IQ are proportional. In order to become an engineer, one can take half the schooling the average lawyer or doctor has to endure. I am guessing (though I have no proof of this) that engineers have higher IQs than MDs on average for the simple fact that the IQ system places a high emphasis on mathematical prowess, but the years of schooling proportionality is evidenced in the table here (http://www.geocities.com/rnseitz/Definition_of_IQ.html) (engineers are notably not mentioned in that table) for those interested.

Unfortunately, I could only find one set of IQ ratings of both attorneys and professional engineers here (http://www.maxpages.com/raindrops/IQ_score/), but the lowest mean IQ I could find with Google for “attorneys” or “lawyers” was 127, whereas according to this (http://hem.bredband.net/b153434/Q&A/Q&A_2.htm), the mean IQ of engineers (who have not gone back for another three or four years of school--remember again the years of school propotionality I discussed earlier) is 111. This is the also the lowest average IQ for engineers I could find. I did not find any source that put engineers’ average IQ above that of lawyers, but if you find one, point me in its direction by all means. The point is that an analysis of numerical data puts the average lawyer at least three points ahead of the average engineer.

Flame away everyone, but in a PM. Quickly back on topic, while I would really prefer to stay out of this part of the discussion, I'd just like to note that Al's example of four crab steering devices could be logically interpreted as one device or module; one could argue that the mobility of this hypothetical Wildstang consists of four tangible objects, and thus the fact that they are not physically attached is a side issue. Run with that if you like.

Tristan Lall
12-16-2004, 11:56 PM
Aside: Well, that's why I keep telling myself to type posts in Notepad and save frequently. A brief power outage just engulfed a rather lengthy post. I don't think I have time to type it out again tonight, but maybe I'll regain enough stamina tomorrow afternoon to go through and type it again. Just as a brief summary of the main thing that I was trying to say, I'll provide this position with regrettably insufficient corroborating explanation:

I think that Al's last situation differs in that the excess weight is being used on the field, rather than as a part of something going on in the pits. I submit that a team is given leave to configure the robot however they want during the time that it is in the pits, simply because maintenance often creates temporary, intentional situations where the robot is not legally operable, and as such, it is impossible to apply the rules. To add the motor to the second assembly while that assembly is in the pits is simply a reasonable interpretation of that privilege; to deny a team the liberty to take this action is to also cause a great number of supposedly legitimate maintenance tasks to become illegal. For example, if the team with the multi-bolted robot needed to install all bolts to debug their programming, would it be illegal? Their robot is overweight during that activity, but rest assured that the robot would never compete in a configuration that would cause it to be overweight; I say that Redabot is similar, and that neither of these teams would need to install their extra components during inspection, because they would not be used in a match--merely used to configure the robot in the pits.

That might not be brief by anyone else's standards. So be it.

And by the way, thanks for the compliment, Al.

gburlison
12-17-2004, 01:07 AM
I have lurked in this thread for a couple of days now and to me the simplest answer is that you inspect the way you compete.

If you are going to inspect with one motor, than you should compete with one motor. If swapping the motor is not convenient, than you should change the design to make it convenient, or inspect with two motors and change the design to meet the weight requirements.

While reading the responses I thought of a subtle variation on this question. What if the main part of the robot already has one drill motor?
At inspection time Jumpy has one motor and Grabby has one motor. So now you are trying to pass inspection with 3 drill motors, however the rules state that you can only have 2. YMTC

Al Skierkiewicz
12-17-2004, 07:16 AM
Flame away everyone, but in a PM. Quickly back on topic, while I would really prefer to stay out of this part of the discussion, I'd just like to note that Al's example of four crab steering devices could be logically interpreted as one device or module; one could argue that the mobility of this hypothetical Wildstang consists of four tangible objects, and thus the fact that they are not physically attached is a side issue. Run with that if you like.

Jonathon,
The point is that this is not a "hypothetical" Wildstang robot. It is the robot we used this year, fit into the example under discussion. (We weighed in at 130.00 BTW, it was more humid in Atlanta than in Chicago) Everything being equal to the virtual robot except the configuration when it hit the field. When the robot (under discussion) was weighed in, did it violate any rules?

Kevin Sevcik
12-17-2004, 09:14 AM
I think that Al's last situation differs in that the excess weight is being used on the field, rather than as a part of something going on in the pits. I submit that a team is given leave to configure the robot however they want during the time that it is in the pits, simply because maintenance often creates temporary, intentional situations where the robot is not legally operable, and as such, it is impossible to apply the rules. To add the motor to the second assembly while that assembly is in the pits is simply a reasonable interpretation of that privilege; to deny a team the liberty to take this action is to also cause a great number of supposedly legitimate maintenance tasks to become illegal. For example, if the team with the multi-bolted robot needed to install all bolts to debug their programming, would it be illegal? Their robot is overweight during that activity, but rest assured that the robot would never compete in a configuration that would cause it to be overweight; I say that Redabot is similar, and that neither of these teams would need to install their extra components during inspection, because they would not be used in a match--merely used to configure the robot in the pits.

I think the trick is that in the original situation, the extra motor isn't necessarily installed just in the pit and just for maintenence. Presumably, for the modular system to be truly useful, you should be able to make the change just before the match based on the opposing team's percieved strategy. So you would probably be bringing both assemblies out into the arena to make a quick swap. So it's not really a maintenence kind of thing, especially if you're leaving it that way and competing with it that way.

dlavery
12-17-2004, 11:54 AM
Okay, time out on the topic. If you feel the urge to slap me (and I know you do), do it in a Private Message, because I don’t want to kill this rather enjoyable thread.

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to take issue with that comment. It's in direct response to another comment (also in jest) made earlier. After all, I have to keep my image as a ‘public defender’ of lawyers everywhere on this forum, because in general, FIRST is taught to hate them in a dazzling display of biased ignorance (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27743). That being said, I actually did my research before I made that little parting remark. I would have been content to not disclose any sources, but since you asked…

Know Your Child’s IQ, by Glen Wilson and Diana Grylls lists occupations that they maintain are typified by various IQ levels. It is unclear where they got this information or whether it is based on empirical data at all however to your credit, engineers are placed in the same IQ category as lawyers; that is the ~130 mark.

But.

CNN did a story on this very recently and mentioned attorneys scored higher than all other professional disciplines, including "doctors" (as in MDs), and engineers. Professional disciplines are by far the cream of the crop in this regard. However, it should also be noted that years of schooling and IQ are proportional. In order to become an engineer, one can take half the schooling the average lawyer or doctor has to endure. I am guessing (though I have no proof of this) that engineers have higher IQs than MDs on average for the simple fact that the IQ system places a high emphasis on mathematical prowess, but the years of schooling proportionality is evidenced in the table here (http://www.geocities.com/rnseitz/Definition_of_IQ.html) (engineers are notably not mentioned in that table) for those interested.

Unfortunately, I could only find one set of IQ ratings of both attorneys and professional engineers here (http://www.maxpages.com/raindrops/IQ_score/), but the lowest mean IQ I could find with Google for “attorneys” or “lawyers” was 127, whereas according to this (http://hem.bredband.net/b153434/Q&A/Q&A_2.htm), the mean IQ of engineers (who have not gone back for another three or four years of school--remember again the years of school propotionality I discussed earlier) is 111. This is the also the lowest average IQ for engineers I could find. I did not find any source that put engineers’ average IQ above that of lawyers, but if you find one, point me in its direction by all means. The point is that an analysis of numerical data puts the average lawyer at least three points ahead of the average engineer.

Flame away everyone, but in a PM. Quickly back on topic, while I would really prefer to stay out of this part of the discussion, I'd just like to note that Al's example of four crab steering devices could be logically interpreted as one device or module; one could argue that the mobility of this hypothetical Wildstang consists of four tangible objects, and thus the fact that they are not physically attached is a side issue. Run with that if you like.

Pitcher does a fast throw to third trying to snag the runner, but doesn't set for the pitch. Tweet! Umpire calls a balk. Opposing batter advances to first base. **

You can't post a diatribe like this in a public forum, and then insist that all those that want to respond must do so only via PM. Sorry, but those sorts of double standards are inappropriate. Whenever anyone makes a public post on this (or any other forum), you must expect and even welcome a public response. To do otherwise is to say "my words are worthy of public scrutiny and acceptance, but if you disagree with me then by definition your words do not meet the same standards." This is disingenuous and demeaning to those who see things in a different - and possibly more correct - way than you do. This is particularly true when the post is based on facts of questionable validity (i.e. the only references are opinion essay web sites that do not list any verified, peer reviewed data sources).

You publicly opened the door on this side-topic, so you need to be prepared for a public discussion that may follow. If it is too divergent from the original discussion and you feel it deserves a seperate thread, then fine. Make a new thread and move the discussion there. But to limit public discourse to just one side of the discussion is intellectually dishonest.

-dave

**<edit>Natchez caught me on this one. He says the third base runner comes home on a balk. Turns out we were both right. According to The Baseball Almanac and Official Major League Rules Book in Section 8.05 - The Pitcher, all runners advance one base on a balk, not just the batter. The batter will go to first and the third base runner will come home.</edit>

jonathan lall
12-17-2004, 12:55 PM
Ack, this baseball extended metaphor is starting to hurt my head. I'm not sure I get it anymore. But that's okay, because people in Toronto have had no inclination to be baseball fans for a good decade.

I question whether there's enough demand, but if there is, we can all discuss this in a split thread (which a moderator can do to certain posts in this thread). Let me know and I'll ask. But Dave, you are mistaking the reasoning behind my posting this publically. I am by no means trying to squash any criticisms; after all, I am confident I can respond to anything someone can bring to it--No I want to. My reasoning is based on evidence, and data has been one-sided (I admitted originally that some sources were of questionable credibility, but that doesn't change the fact that no source gives engineers the advantage). My reasoning behind that last public post is actually very simple and comes in three parts:

a) it is in response to one comment in particular (yes in jest, but that's not the point), made in public

b) it was challenged in public forum by a seperate individual

c) if I were to PM one or both of these individuals it would not preclude my being challenged by other people such as yourself who haven't received this PM, in which case I'd have to take the time to write each and every such person a letter, which I don't have the inclination to do (ask yourself if you or someone like you would have let a comment like that slide had I not made that reply; I certainly wouldn't have :D)

I wasn't aware that some people held public discourse of a joke topic in such high regard. But if that's the case, I'm willing to go. I refuse to be called names like "intellectually dishonest" under mistaken premises.

Tristan Lall
12-18-2004, 12:19 AM
I think the trick is that in the original situation, the extra motor isn't necessarily installed just in the pit and just for maintenence. Presumably, for the modular system to be truly useful, you should be able to make the change just before the match based on the opposing team's percieved strategy. So you would probably be bringing both assemblies out into the arena to make a quick swap. So it's not really a maintenence kind of thing, especially if you're leaving it that way and competing with it that way.That is a very sensible point. The problem we're all facing with these hypothetical systems is that we don't quite know what their capabilities are; can that change of function be pulled off in the seconds preceding an elimination match? Maybe--and if so, I understand the reasoning that this isn't so much a convenience issue as it is a strategic one. If, on the other hand, it takes several minutes to change modules, maybe the element of surprise is lost--your opponents have five minutes to watch you adjust and reconfigure, and to reconsider their strategy. In that sense, the primary advantage that you gain (beyond the change of assembly) is the introduction of a fresh motor--in other words, a maintenance issue.

Wetzel
12-18-2004, 11:31 AM
<R76> The costs of "spare" parts are excluded from this rule. A spare part is defined as a part that a team has obtained as a direct replacement for a failed or defective Robot part (Kit part or non-kit part)

If one reads all the rules, a spare part is defined as a direct replacement for a failed or defective Robot part. Swapping a functional motor between two different functional modules does not meet this definition.


Wetzel