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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 01-06-2009, 07:54 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexa Stott View Post
Now, they want to punish people like us who have worked through mistakes to make their robot better? [/i][/b]
Punish? I would change 'punish' with 'challenge'. They never said you cannot use previous knowledge/experience (for example, when faced with a problem now, you probably know how to approach it, unlike a rookie team). Instead they are forcing you to learn new/different knowledge.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 08:00 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

Quote:
t appears that FIRST is limiting on our creativity way too much ... Can the FIRST GDC come up with an interesting challenge in the future without destroying competitiveness and creativity.
Yes, I can see why you are upset because of all of the limitations we have been given this season. It definitely makes building an effective robot harder. But does it really limit our creativity? It may limit our options, but it most definitely does not limit our creativity. It may sound corny, but you can do whatever you put your mind to. No one can stop the power of your mind and your creativity.

Think about it in these terms... if it were legal to build a robot with a small base and a flap extending over the bumper zone to cover the trailer, would you see teams with robots that only did that? Certainly. Because we are prohibited from this simple solution, we are forced to stretch our creativity and push the limits of what we know. We have to be more creative to design an effective robot for this year's challenge. We have to be more creative in order to be competitive. We have to reevaluate both our strategies for defense and offense. Because we are being pushed out of our comfort zone with this year's rules, it is harder to achieve a competitive edge... and this is where our creativity comes in.

Make the best of what FIRST has handed you. Complaining isn't going to change anything.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 08:03 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

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Originally Posted by XaulZan11 View Post
Punish? I would change 'punish' with 'challenge'. They never said you cannot use previous knowledge/experience (for example, when faced with a problem now, you probably know how to approach it, unlike a rookie team). Instead they are forcing you to learn new/different knowledge.
They make our entire knowledge of effective drive trains and manipulators that extend beyond your bumper zone obsolete. That seems like some sort of punishment.

I simply don't understand why we need to make it "fair." Teams that build effective robots will succeed in the competition.

But hey, like everyone always says, it's not really about what happens on the field, right? So why not encourage creativity? Why does the on-the-field competition need to be fair if it doesn't really matter in the end?
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Unread 01-06-2009, 08:07 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

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Originally Posted by dtengineering View Post
Well, I'm glad to see someone has figured out exactly how to build the perfect robot for this game!

Rather than seeing the restrictions on the robot as destroying creativity, I see them as requiring creativity to gain a competitive advantage within a specific set of parameters.

Specifically I see this year as having the most creative drive trains ever... given that over the past 15 years pretty much everything that can be done on carpet has been done already. This year EVERY drive train will be different from previous years.

I also appreciate the way that this challenge accounts for the extra weight of the new control system by allowing for a lighter drive train (no advantage from extra torque) and places an emphasis on developing software for the new control system. Not all creativity is visible or mechanical!

Jason
I completely agree, The Veteran Teams, Have used a similar drive train for years, this forces all of us to step outside our comfort zone. If it was another game like last year with new kind of focus, i would not be nearly as excited as with this shaken up field.. This Year its a much more even playing field for all teams.
Furthermore, First always focuses on scoring, A descoring mechanism or blocking mechanism is Always discouraged as basically following the Gracious Professionalism idea. Last year we would've stolen both track balls and sat in a corner, but each year the focus is scoring rather than blocking.
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Last edited by Matthew2c4u : 01-06-2009 at 08:10 PM.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 08:13 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

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Originally Posted by Alexa Stott View Post
They make our entire knowledge of effective drive trains and manipulators that extend beyond your bumper zone obsolete. That seems like some sort of punishment.

I sure hope you haven't only learned about drivetrains and manipulators. If so, then FIRST has failed. I think the benifits of FIRST is that you learn the design process, the phsyics/science behind designs, problem solving, working with others, and creativity. If you are saying that your creativity and everything I just mentioned is the same as a rookie team with no experience, then what have you gotten out of FIRST? Knowing how to build the perfect 8 wheel drive to succeed in a FIRST competition won't get you too far in life. I think that FIRST is forcing experienced teams to reuse these skills instead of just coping last years drive.

I think you are underestimating the knowledge and skills veteran teams have and that advantage.

Last edited by XaulZan11 : 01-06-2009 at 08:15 PM.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 08:17 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexa Stott View Post
Isn't the idea behind FIRST to inspire students to pursue careers in science and technology? To give them real-world experiences in those fields?
Think about what you just said... real-world experience. It would seem that FIRST gives you a lot of that. The real world is filled with constraints. Hey, guess what, so is FIRST. Think about it:

- We have time constraints: 6 weeks to build and ship a functional robot
- Budget constraints: $3500 to spend on said robot
- Weight constraints for our final engineered object: 120 lbs not including battery or bumpers
- Size constraints for our final engineered object: 28"x38"x60" maximum, cannot extend beyond bumper zone
- Constraints because we must use standardized parts: think bumper requirement, motors, control system, etc.

The list could go on; I bet you can also list some other constraints that we're under as members of FRC teams, that you see in the real-world for engineering projects as well.



And as far as FIRST inspiring students to pursue careers in science and technology- actually just even to be interested in and to respect those fields- it's doing a really good job of that. Just look around you... you can find lots of stories of it on Chief Delphi, and I'm sure you can find it in your own community, and on your own team.

Sure, sometimes building a robot can be really frustrating, because it's never going to go perfectly. However, think about the sense of accomplishment that comes at the end of a season, or even before then- I built that. Or, look at what I've learned. There are always new moments to remember, especially when you're interacting with tons of people at competitions, and I think that's one of the places where people are most inspired.

Especially with the limitations on this year's game- which, yes, can be frustrating- a lot of creativity is going to be involved, both in building a robot, and in game strategy during matches. Walking into your first competition of the season, or even watching a webcast, you will look upon the sea of robots and go "hey, why didn't we think of that?", and "wow, I can't believe they actually got that to work". You will be amazed, possibly inspired by the things you see and the stories you hear.

Just because it feels tough to design well for this game, doesn't mean FIRST isn't still inspiring students, or reflecting the processes and type of thinking involved in solving real-world engineering problems. In fact, I think FIRST is doing a really good job of it.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 08:47 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

i think its a good thing it makes my team thing if any thing it force me to be more creative
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Unread 01-06-2009, 08:49 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexa Stott View Post
That seems like some sort of punishment.
I don't think it's punishment, I think it's forcing you to be creative. Why, you ask? Well, I explained it in this post which also answers your other complaint, below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexa Stott View Post
But hey, like everyone always says, it's not really about what happens on the field, right? So why not encourage creativity? Why does the on-the-field competition need to be fair if it doesn't really matter in the end?


Also, in response to:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexa Stott View Post
They make our entire knowledge of effective drive trains and manipulators that extend beyond your bumper zone obsolete. ... I simply don't understand why we need to make it "fair." Teams that build effective robots will succeed in the competition.
Your knowledge of effective drive trains and manipulators which extend beyond the bumper zone is most definitely not rendered obsolete by this game. More than anything else, it is the process of developing said effective devices that is the important thing for you to get out of FIRST. One drivetrain (manipulator, etc.) will probably not fit all... knowing how to design a working drivetrain (or any other engineered assembly) to fit your needs is a skill which you can apply throughout your life. FIRST is being realistic, and is teaching you skills which you can use in the real world. Cut-and-paste isn't always going to get you what you need to solve problems; sometimes you have to create an original work as the solution.

Furthermore, there will never be a game that is completely fair. Why? Well... all the stuff I mentioned in my previous paragraph, the skills and the knowledge of processes and thinking and designing carry over from year to year, game to game in FRC. Veteran teams and experienced team members have an advantage, no matter how you slice it. I don't think Lunacy was designed to "be fair" by "making us all rookies again", I think it was designed to bring us real-world engineering issues, and to push us out of our comfort zones to help us learn new things instead of relying on what we already know.
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Last edited by smurfgirl : 01-06-2009 at 08:50 PM. Reason: didn't end up being a double post like I was expecting, so I took out the apology (:
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Unread 01-06-2009, 09:16 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

I don't think FIRST has gone too far with the limitations at all. If anything they are promoting creative thinking by giving us so many rules and guidelines. This is like a real world situtation, you have budget constraints, things you can't change and laws that need to be followed.

In addition to that, FIRST is making it so that we have to rethink our whole approach to robot construction. Long gone are the days of the "universal drive train" and classic arms. If anything this is helping us learn by forcing us to design new drive trains and manipulators that stay within the footprint. In all seriousness we've been spoiled by FIRST for the last 10 years or so. The game field's surface never really changed from carpet so we could keep building on the experience we had with drive trains. Now the carpet's gone and so are our high-traction and omni wheels which just gives us an opportunity to learn.

But really, rules are rules and no matter how many people dislike them they probably won't be changed.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 09:18 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

One of my favorite episodes of tv of all time: Naruto epsiode 24.

There is a test. The test is very hard. Too hard. But they aren't being tested on the material of the test, they are tested on their ability to acquire the answers.(Yes, cheat). However, the room is full of ninja that are watching them. If you get caught, you fail. The point is that only an excellent ninja would be able to cheat in such a situation.

Just as only an excellent engineer can thrive in this situation. They burden us down with limitations to inspire creativity. Not to stifle it. Some of the rules will ruin some of the more colorful ideas but that just requires us to come up with yet another design. The only rule I could see that would take away from creativity is one that makes the work easier.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 09:19 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexa Stott View Post
They make our entire knowledge of effective drive trains and manipulators that extend beyond your bumper zone obsolete. That seems like some sort of punishment.

I simply don't understand why we need to make it "fair." Teams that build effective robots will succeed in the competition.
1> If your entire knowlege of drivetrains is obsolete in this game then you have not learned how to design a drivetrain ... only how to assemble the one you already have.
2> Many times, in industry, you'll need to learn how to create manipulators that stay within a framework (usually for safetys sake). Now is a good time to learn that skill as well.
3> While you look at it as punishment, I look at it as a challange. This game takes many people (Including us engineers) out of our comfort zone. I guess it's time to see who's adaptable and who isn't
4> Fair? Fair? I hardly see this game as fair. Those teams that understand the game, and the playing field, and their own teams capabilities will have a huge advantage. Personally I find it a waste of effort to complain about the game and instead put my efforts into figuring out how to best play this game.


Good luck to all (I think some of us will really need it )
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Unread 01-06-2009, 09:24 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

The limitations will work two-fold I guess.
Teams that have experience in building superior bots and drivetrains, will figure out how to do so in this year's games, separating themselves even further from the team's that build the common, average ones.
On the other hand, that will only be a handful, while the rest of the robots look very similar in concept and design...........
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Unread 01-06-2009, 09:33 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

I don't believe they are limiting our creativity. I'll admit that prohibiting us from going beyond the bumper zone is a bit far, but this is clearly what they intended with the origional rules. The game could have another dimension, but I don't think they are limiting our creativity by doing things like outlawing descoring devices. Teams are supposed to be creative with robot designs, not finding loopholes in the manual.

There are still a number of ways to drive, pick up, score, and play the game. Enjoy the freedom you have.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 10:05 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexa Stott View Post
It's similar in FIRST. As a senior programmer on my team, I have worked for the past 4 years to learn the best way to code certain functions on the robot. I have learned how to work with sensors, etc. The same goes for the members of our build team. They have worked over many years to try and build "the perfect drive train."

Now, they want to punish people like us who have worked through mistakes to make their robot better? Teams are good because they have experienced downfalls and failures; it's a part of the game. Nobody expects you to pick up the KOP as a rookie and build 1114 or 254-quality robots. Those teams have worked very hard to build their programs. Isn't the idea behind FIRST to inspire students to pursue careers in science and technology? To give them real-world experiences in those fields? A company is most certainly not going to start restricting their older employees just to let you, "the new guy," have an advantage.

Basically, it can all be summed up in the worn adage: Life isn't fair.

You got to use those "perfect drivetrains" other years. Its now time to try to try something new. They want people to step outside their comfort zones, not just do the same thing every year. You got your advantages in past years, now they are leveling the playing field a little bit. You say life isnt fair, and you are fine with it when you beat all the other teams, yet you complain when this goes against you. Seems a little contradicting to me.

Also, whats stopping you from using knowledge from past years? You need to change it up a bit, but you can use similar concepts.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 11:32 PM
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Re: Limitations too far?

In the real world we have to be able to work around constraints. Think of this as training until that time.
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