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Unread 07-31-2012, 01:46 PM
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Robotics in the Olympics (theoretical)

Since the 2012 London Olympics are in course, one thought that has been running through my head is "Could competitive robotics become an Olympic event"? Not necessarily FIRST, any competitive robotics.

A few questions I've been thinking of:

What would we need to get competitive robotics in the Olympics?
What kind of competitive robotics would be featured? (FIRST, etc.)
How would the teams be chosen?
Would the teams practice for four years, or would they just play the game from that year's challenge?
High School robotics? College? Professional?

What are your thoughts and questions?
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Unread 07-31-2012, 02:15 PM
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Re: Robotics in the Olympics (theoretical)

Let me start by saying I know Robots cannot be in the olympics (at the moment who knows what will happen when they take over the world)...

That being said. I think it would be cool if it was like a decathlon of robot skills... think ball shooting, vision control, speed, maneuvering, climbing obstacles. The tasks would remain the same and you would see teams from all sorts of different leagues come together to play.

Their knowledge of each aspect would be honed over the years while they compete in their respective competitions (be it FRC, BEST, VEX etc.) and every four years they would build a robot (maybe built from the same KOP) to compete in the decathlon event at the Olympics. So you have four years to build your robot and learn all you can, and then compete like crazy.

To throw in some qualifications why not have the winners of each competition qualify for the olympics.

When you think about it the FLL World Festival is a lot like the Olympics, you see thousands of fans wearing their country's colors and cheering on their teams in hopes of taking home medals. From now on I might just call the FLL World Festival the LEGOlympics every four years.
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Unread 07-31-2012, 02:24 PM
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Re: Robotics in the Olympics (theoretical)

You'd need a worldwide competition, first. You don't get a sport into the Olympics without that, assuming there's a spot for a new event. And, at FRC scale, that's a little harder to pull off due to funding, transport to current competitions, etc., at least at this time. See FLL, FTC, VRC.


Now, if robotics were to be a serious Olympic event, here's the way I'd do it.

First, worldwide competition with something like the VEX kits or LEGO Mindstorms. Doesn't have to be those kits per se, but something like them, at least the original kits. FTC could also work. Get that set up, with various groups in various countries. Why those kits? You'll see...

Second, each country picks its team in its own way: All-Star, country champions, however. A team of no more than X can be sent, with Y alternates. Minimum/maximum ages TBD; it might be possible to send 2-3 teams in different levels. However, qualifying a country to the Olympics in the event may need the use of some multi-country qualifiers.

Now, here's the twist. Teams go in with no idea of what they'll be playing. That's right, the Olympics start and that's when "Kickoff" is. Build time, one week. That's why I'm proposing something on the order of VEX/FTC--you can do that practically overnight if necessary. Practice time, one day. Compete for 2-3 days. Changes unlimited, but you do need to make all your matches to go on. If alliances are used, then they're same-country alliances, AKA build-your-own-partner; otherwise, it's 1-on-1. (Or, every team plays with and against every other country at least once.)

At least, that's how I'd do it. Call me crazy if you like.
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Unread 07-31-2012, 03:13 PM
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Re: Robotics in the Olympics (theoretical)

Simple- each country builds a team of Gundams and realizes my childhood dream.

Then we battle, obviously.
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Unread 07-31-2012, 06:10 PM
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Re: Robotics in the Olympics (theoretical)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
Simple- each country builds a team of Gundams and realizes my childhood dream.

Then we battle, obviously.
Nice =P

It would be nice if there was an offseason event running beside the Olymics in the host city, though. Just so that we get a little bit of coverage =)
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Unread 07-31-2012, 06:34 PM
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Re: Robotics in the Olympics (theoretical)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
Simple- each country builds a team of Gundams and realizes my childhood dream.

Then we battle, obviously.
Well Japan is off to a good start.
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Unread 07-31-2012, 06:45 PM
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Re: Robotics in the Olympics (theoretical)

From the IOC:
Quote:
How does a sport become Olympic?
To make it onto the Olympic programme, a sport first has to be recognised: it must be administered by an International Federation which ensures that the sport's activities follow the Olympic Charter. If it is widely practised around the world and meets a number of criteria established by the IOC session, a recognised sport may be added to the Olympic programme on the recommendation of the IOC's Olympic Programme Commission.
and
http://www.olympic.org/Documents/Rep...report_813.pdf

I think that since robotics isn't an athletic event, that is, it doesn't depend on the strength and/or speed of the competitors, the IOC will most likely be reluctant to add it for the foreseeable future.
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Unread 07-31-2012, 07:02 PM
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Re: Robotics in the Olympics (theoretical)

For the record I love the idea of Gundams fighting it out as an olympic event.

At its core this is really a debate on how do you define a sport. My personal feeling on the matter is that a sport is any competition used to quantitatively and/or qualitatively measure and rank human performance. This definition is quite broad but comes from my feeling that if Equestrian is allowed to be in the Olympics I don't understand why car racing isn't. But before I venture off too far from the original question, here is my vision on how robotics could be an Olympic event ignoring the ability to get the actual competition started...

The majority of the argument I would use to say robotics is a sport happens during build season so that essentially forces build to be part of the Olympics. In this regard I completely agree with EricH. Kickoff is the morning after opening ceremonies and teams retreat to their shops to start the game.

The shops are a pre defined area of covered space where teams are allowed to work(Their pit). Waiting for them in their pit is a kit, rule book, and electrical power and a pallet of stuff sent by the team. The pallet contains everything the team decided before competition they wanted to build the robot. And thats all you get. There's no machine shop, no internet connection allowed in the pits, and no help.

The Olympics in London this year are just over 2 weeks long. Assuming this stays relatively constant then thats the time frame the competition in its entirety has to fit into. So if "kickoff" is the morning after opening ceremonies then I would say pool play starts on the second friday. I'm using pool play because its the easiest way to give a large number of teams a fair chance to qualify, its common in many other olympic events, and you can run multiple fields at the same time. Pool play runs all friday and at the end of the day the top 2 or 4 teams (depending on the size of the tournament move on to the elimination tournament which is the following day. The elimination tournament runs all day long saturday with teams pitted against one another playing best 2 of 3.

The genius of my plan is in the team break down. Since robots working together and being designed to do so is such a large portion of robotics there should be more then 1 on 1 robots in matches. Thus each team builds 3 robots designed to play the game as a team. I think having to design the best combination of robots to deal with any situation on the field is what makes the game the most interesting.

Thats my dream for robotics in the olympics at least. Its a sport that tests the skill of multiple drivers, designers, and builders, by providing an extremely limited selection of materials. Plus by having one kit for multiple robots you have to decide which motors need to go to each robot as power is needed.

In the interest of full disclosure this was a thought based on talking to a friend from team 177 about how it was technically legal by first rules to bring in enough raw material and upgrade parts into your pit that if you shipped only your control system and some basic components you could keep your competition robot at your shop and assemble and build the entire robot in the pits on thursday.
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Unread 08-01-2012, 04:41 PM
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Re: Robotics in the Olympics (theoretical)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koko Ed View Post
Well Japan is off to a good start.
Well then just cause Japan has a good lead doesn't mean America won't win like usually. Maybe we should have a robotic olympics see whos the best
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