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The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

By: Karthik
New: 02-26-2006 11:12 PM
Updated: 02-26-2006 11:12 PM
Views: 4423 times


The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Coming to GLR, Waterloo, GTR and The Championship...

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02-26-2006 11:20 PM

Jay Trzaskos


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Looking great guys, I personally cannot wait to compete with and against you at GTR. Also, I like the use of the dewalts transmissions.

JT
229



02-26-2006 11:24 PM

Adam Richards


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Trzaskos
Looking great guys, I personally cannot wait to compete with and against you at GTR. Also, I like the use of the dewalts transmissions.

JT
229
Too bad I won't see any of these three awesome bots at regionals... Championships perhaps?



02-26-2006 11:25 PM

Mike Schroeder


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

awww look at the cute wittle babies


in their matching outfits....


*pinches their cheeks...erm dewalts*



02-26-2006 11:31 PM

Alex Cormier


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

YES! Great job Niagara FIRST. Totally impressive! See ya at GTR.



02-26-2006 11:31 PM

Stephen Kowski


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

wow....just wow, i love it....



02-26-2006 11:38 PM

team222badbrad


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

It looks like one is missing a Dewalt, is there a specific reason for this?



02-26-2006 11:40 PM

Laura 1547


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

They look so good!!!! I can't wait until GTR



02-26-2006 11:40 PM

Richard Wallace


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Karthik, that is a very impressive family photo!

I'm glad that 931 decided to go to Waterloo this year -- can't wait to see those triplets in action.



02-26-2006 11:40 PM

Arkorobotics


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Woah! I thought 1 was challenging! This Is Amazing!



02-26-2006 11:41 PM

Chris


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Congrats to Niagara FIRST,

They look great, as if I wasn't having enough nightmares about GTR. :-)

Best of luck to all
Chris C.
Team 229



02-26-2006 11:44 PM

Karthik


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by team222badbrad
It looks like one is missing a Dewalt, is there a specific reason for this?
Yup, that Dewalt was being tuned at the time of the photo. We thought it was a big problem, but it turned out the clutch was in the wrong setting... The assembly was re-mounted before the robot was crated up.



02-27-2006 12:03 AM

Tim Delles


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Great job NiagaraFIRST. Once again you have some great looking bots. Can't wait to see you guys in action at GTR.

Good luck
Tim



02-27-2006 02:06 AM

Michael Corsetto


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Wow, that is simply amazing. Great job to all three teams in this amazing group!

Could you explain how you worked together to create these awsome robots. Did one team focus on drivetrain, while another designed the shooter? Or did you divide each team into diferent groups, and pair up those groups with the corresponding groups from the other teams? I am really interested in how you get that many students and mentors to stay on the same page throughout the build season.

Once again great job and good luck all!



02-27-2006 02:24 AM

Joel J


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Wow!



02-27-2006 06:45 AM

Bharat Nain


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Um, WOW! Nice job NiagaraFIRST. I really like the design.



02-27-2006 07:34 AM

Swan217


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Aww Karthik, they look just like you...

Watch out for sibling rivalry.



02-27-2006 08:32 AM

Rich Kressly


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Congrats to the crew North of the border.



02-27-2006 09:23 AM

Conor Ryan


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

So...who gets to practice with the practice robot first?



02-27-2006 09:34 AM

Tom Bottiglieri


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

What's the thickeness of the plastic guarding the shooter and for the hopper?



02-27-2006 10:43 AM

Matt


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Great job guys they look amazing.



02-27-2006 10:46 AM

KenWittlief


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Now I have to drive all the way from rochester NY to the toronto regional to see this for myself.

Excellent multi-team effort!



02-27-2006 12:57 PM

Elgin Clock


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

OK, fine.. I have no problem being the first one to say this.

Why are 3 teams still (in their 2nd year in FIRST) making one of the same robot.

I can see doing this your first year (a whole 3 team learning process, and what not, strange as it may be) but to continue this tradition in your second year??

When do you say it's enough, and let each team branch out on their own and make a different robot.

I once hear either Dean or Woodie say of the FIRST competition a while back something to the effect of "It's amazing; we have (x amount) of teams competing and no 2 robots are exactly alike."

I think that was (at one time) the key to the whole competition. You can see the uniqeness in everybody's design.

Now, we have "stock" robots which will add a bit of genericness to the overall competition.

Sure, you may win a teamwork award or something, and sure, you may be inspiring to some extent, but I don't think these teams are reaching their full potential to create future engineers, and "outside the box" thinkers.

Idk.. maybe I'm off base here, but that's just my opinion.

As for the design(s) I like it. It's simple, and to the point.
Albeit the same design for 3 teams, good luck to each of you individually at your events.



02-27-2006 01:03 PM

Rick TYler


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elgin Clock
I once hear either Dean or Woodie say of the FIRST competition a while back something to the effect of "It's amazing; we have (x amount) of teams competing and no 2 robots are exactly alike."(...)

Sure, you may win a teamwork award or something, and sure, you may be inspiring to some extent, but I don't think these teams are reaching their full potential to create future engineers, and "outside the box" thinkers.
We started the year with about 40 interested students, and ended up with about 20 active. Most of the students who left were more interested in building robots than in doing other things like PR, fund-raising, or the animation competition. With so many hands and so few design-and-build tasks available, they were bored. We have discussed starting a new team just so more students can be hands-on in the design and building process. I don't see students being happy building carbon-copy robots, and am curious as to how it worked in the Niagara teams.



02-27-2006 01:16 PM

Joe J.


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

I was thinking what Elgin and Rick said. I mean, I can see the advantages of having carbon copy robots; spare parts are easy to come by if your in a pinch.

But as for the robots themselves they look great.



02-27-2006 01:29 PM

Ryan Dognaux


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

The robots look great. If they're anything like last years then all of them will be great competitors.

The issue about collaboration and building copies of robots has been debated and really there isn't a right answer to any of it. There are advantages and disadvantages. 3 teams will have bonded and formed a close knit relationship among each other. They'll all have the same robot and so they can all troubleshoot them for problems. 3 teams = 3 times the power working on one robot.

However, they do lose that sort of robot individualism that makes each team unique. Either way, I'm glad to see them as a part of FIRST and a part of this year's competition. Good luck to all three teams!



02-27-2006 01:54 PM

Ryan Dognaux


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
For everyone saying that this is an "awesome" and great idea, and how great their robots are, I think you're out of your mind. First is about high-schoolers, and kids getting involved in engineering by designing and building their robots. I guarantee that the students and kids on these teams didn't build those robots. And building is not simple assembling parts that NiagaraFIRST sent them. 3 teams having the exact same robot sponsored by NiagaraFIRST, I'm sure we can tell who actually built the robot here.


You can find this right on the "About FIRST" page on the usfirst.org site. Teams are supposed to consist of students and kids building the robot assisted by mentors. Not assembling a box of parts sent by their sponsor that's already been duplicated and built by 2 other teams.

I don't see how this is a good idea at all. It completely ruins the FIRST spirit, and takes all the creativity out of the largest part in the Robot season, build phase. This is probably one of the worst examples of gracious professionalism I've seen in my few years involved in FIRST.

Stop selling out to your sponsors, and try creating your own robot for once.
You're beating a dead horse to be honest. This subject has been debated over and over again, this isn't the time or place to bring it up again.

And I will reiterate - Just because a robot looks good and just because it is very well made does not mean that students were not involved in creating it. It makes me SICK when people go ahead and judge a team - in this case, 3 teams - without even the slightest clue as to how that team(s) runs and operates.

Stop judging teams at the first sight of their robot and try have a little decency for once.



02-27-2006 01:54 PM

Don Wright


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
And building is not simple assembling parts that NiagaraFIRST sent them. 3 teams having the exact same robot sponsored by NiagaraFIRST, I'm sure we can tell who actually built the robot here.
Do you know that this is what happened?



02-27-2006 01:58 PM



Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Tight Bots! I was wondering, when did you guys finish building your bots? We were in a bit of a rush!



02-27-2006 01:59 PM

jgannon


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
For everyone saying that this is an "awesome" and great idea, and how great their robots are, I think you're out of your mind. First is about high-schoolers, and kids getting involved in engineering by designing and building their robots. I guarantee that the students and kids on these teams didn't build those robots. And building is not simple assembling parts that NiagaraFIRST sent them. 3 teams having the exact same robot sponsored by NiagaraFIRST, I'm sure we can tell who actually built the robot here.


You can find this right on the "About FIRST" page on the usfirst.org site. Teams are supposed to consist of students and kids building the robot assisted by mentors. Not assembling a box of parts sent by their sponsor that's already been duplicated and built by 2 other teams.

I don't see how this is a good idea at all. It completely ruins the FIRST spirit, and takes all the creativity out of the largest part in the Robot season, build phase. This is probably one of the worst examples of gracious professionalism I've seen in my few years involved in FIRST.

Stop selling out to your sponsors, and try creating your own robot for once.
Before things get too far out of hand here, how can you make the assumption that these robots are not student-built? My understanding is that NiagaraFIRST is not a company, but rather a name for a group of three high school teams. So, if NiagaraFIRST is making parts and building robots, then that would be a good thing. Would you make the same accusation of 217/229, or 254/22, or 254/60? Using the same jointly-designed plans doesn't mean that everyone isn't making their own parts. I don't know any better than you do what the actual situation is, but it would probably be better to not make assumptions.

(2c)



02-27-2006 02:21 PM

Jay Trzaskos


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Karthik, do all three teams share the same engineers and machining capabilities? can you give us some insight before this gets out of hand? Thanks.



02-27-2006 02:24 PM

Don Wright


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Personally, I don't care about this assumptionative (made up word by me) discussion going on here. It's quite silly.

What I do want are some specifics!!! Come on Karthik! Spill the beans on the designs. I want to know what we are up against (or with) at GLR in a week and two days!!!



02-27-2006 02:40 PM

DjAlamose


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Rothy,
Let me begin by saying you are making way too many assumptions.

1) Before you post please get your facts straight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
Well it's pretty obvious. All sponsored by the same sponsor, all the same robot? Gee, look where the evidence points. 3 Teams, 1 robot. So you're saying these 3 teams came together, the students designed the robot, and they produced it for those 3 teams? I dont think so.
Niagara FIRST is not a sponsor, it is a collection of three teams (1114. 1503, 1680) that decided to get together and build their robots with each other.

2) Saying that a robot was not student designed is not a good idea.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
I guarantee that the students and kids on these teams didn't build those robots. And building is not simple assembling parts that NiagaraFIRST sent them.
You do not know what happened on that team. I agree with you that FIRST is all about students learning about engineering. BUT you cannot make assumptions and then go say that you didnít.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
The argument is not about sponsors building their robot
It sure looked like itÖ

3) Your whole schpeal about their design getting recognition is invalid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
What if one of these robots gets top 8, and they get to pick alliance. Odds are they're going to pick the same design'd robot if it's capiable of getting in top 8. This is just creating an unfair advantage for your design of winning.
Itís not about getting recognition for your design. It is about joining with other teams to get more ideas to have a better design to begin with. Yes it is nice to get recognition for your design, but thatís not the whole point. It is very hard to keep a single team organized, let alone a culmination of three teams. The design process is all about finding the best design before you go out and make it. If you have more people working on the design, and separate designs, then you are bound to find the best deign possible. More hands equals more work.
Also it is not just the design that makes a team win. It also has to do with the drivers and their alliance. Strategy, luck, programming, driver skill, human player; these are all things that affect the outcome of a match, not just the robot design.

4) Bad for creativity? I beg to differ.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
Okay, so I get the point the 3 teams came together and designed the robot, and produced exact copies for all 3 teams. I still think that's a horrible example of creativity and representing the FIRST spirit.
The fact that a team, or three teams for that matter, decided to get together is a good example of creativity. We have never thought of doing this. In the real world there are many times when people seek help with designing things. Especially in the industrial world were there are many design firms. If a company has a part they want to make in an automated fashion, they send out a bid to design firms and the firms all come up with their own way to solve the problem. But in the end the company only chooses one. This is the same scenario.

5) I must be out of my mind.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
For everyone saying that this is an "awesome" and great idea, and how great their robots are, I think you're out of your mind.
I see a really good set of robots that look like they could do very well at competition. The design looks simple and effective with a lot of capability. Attention was paid during the design process because these robots have a high shooting height, probably to clear the top of other robots. I would be scared if I was against all three of these robots. They look like formidable fighting machines.


If you want to go and slander other teams on information you canít be certain of, then fine, be the person that is always there nagging and saying negative things. But you must learn to look past a picture and see how this has changed people. I bet every kid on those three teams now knows more about engineering than they ever did. Even sitting there looking at what is going on you learn things. Humans and animals learn through imitation and imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I see nothing wrong with what is going on and I applaud Karthik for what he has done with Niagara FIRST.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Wright
Personally, I don't care about this assumptionative (made up word by me) discussion going on here. It's quite silly.

What I do want are some specifics!!! Come on Karthik! Spill the beans on the designs. I want to know what we are up against (or with) at GLR in a week and two days!!!
And yes come on I want to know all about these bad boys (or are they girls?)



02-27-2006 02:50 PM

Swan217


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
All
FYI - http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...=collaboration
Thread beating to death Collaboration.

I am quite interested in hearing from Karthik (or anyone else, for that matter) on how collaboration works between three teams, and how they all came up with the same design. In contrast, when 217 and 229 collaborated, it was only partially (Only the towers/arms were the same). 60/254 made the same robot, but from the discussion surrounding it, I gathered that individual components were designed/manufactured between the two due to lack of resources. I assume that the Niagara triplets all use the same manufacturing area? In which case, how was design split up?

Having been involved in this argument before, I am reserving judgement until I hear the entire story from the horse's mouth (Not to imply that anyone in Canada is a horse )



02-27-2006 03:24 PM

Chris Sturrock


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Guys Guys Guys! Calm down! I can offer my best explanation.

We are all sponsored by GM, and we all share engineers, but we also have our own sponsors as well.

for example, Fort Erie had a sponsor who has a great CNC setup with a 16 foot bed. they got us our towers made. they also got us our drivetrain materials. We worked on all the little things, shafts, spacers, and all the little important things, because we have a good shop. Simcoe worked on the shooter and making the machine work. We all got together and put our robots together and helped each other.

I dont know where you guys get the idea that we are all mentor built, we are about 50/50 and we believe thats the way it should be.

and to CatchRothy22: NiagaraFIRST is just the name we have given ourselves. not a company.



02-27-2006 04:17 PM

Karthik1


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
Apologies about the assumptions on Engineer built robots, but I still think it's unfair how 3 teams have the same robot design. It's a good idea for you guys, but on the other end I think it's alittle unfair.

Good luck on the 2006 robot season.
How is it unfair? Everyone has the option to collaborate with other teams. If you want to build three identical robots, then you can, no one is stopping you.



02-27-2006 04:21 PM

Alex Cormier


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karthik1
How is it unfair? Everyone has the option to collaborate with other teams. If you want to build three identical robots, then you can, no one is stopping you.
correct, just imagine all NY teams have one bot and all MI teams have another. that'd be crazy!

/back to the point of the thread.



02-27-2006 04:25 PM

meaubry


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Okay - with respect to everyone that has posted - take a deep breath and slow down the argument a bit.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (and that is all they have at this point) and we hope that they can be presented in a manner in which doesn't incite problems.
As pointed out by others - this topic has been discussed in depth on other threads from other years. Let's not re-hash that all over again here.
Please respond respectfully to each other and as "grandma said - if you don't have anything nice to say - don't say anything!
Thanks -
Mike Aubry



02-27-2006 04:57 PM

Kate00


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

I read through this thread with incredulity. How could a community such as FIRST which preaches such values of gracious professionalism just jump on NiagaraFIRST like this? Not only are they powerhouse teams who do a LOT of work to get to where they do, they are the epitomy of gracious professionalism and dignity. What they have done for FIRST in Canada, and for other teams is incredible.

Earlier in the season, my team was having problems finding parts, and some of the ones we ordered got held up at the border. We asked team 1114 for help, and they donated tread and wheel sprockets to us, driving all the way from St. Catherines to Oakville to drop it off. For this I thank them. I know that we are not the only team they have helped out. At competition, they are always incredibly graciously professional, and always follow the rules to the letter.

I have no idea how the internal workings of these teams work, but they seem to have had no problem in INSPIRING their students and getting RECOGNITION for the program. Isn't that the point, not whose robot preforms well on the field or what they look like or how many teams are involved? Isn't it not about the robot? These are incredible machines, Karthik, congratulations, and I hope to see you at Waterloo and Greater Toronto.



02-27-2006 04:57 PM

Mike Nawrot


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

On behalf of Phill (catchrothy) I apologize, he made too many assumptions. I personally am a little disgraced by the Co-op between these three teams, because here on team 11, we believe that a bad robot with no adult design input is much better than a good robot with no student input. I am not saying niagraFIRST students had no input, because they clearly had some form, but i believe that the mentors are there to challenge the students mind by asking questions the students must think about hard and long before giving an answer. Our leadership always wants a good robot, but they ask us what we want our robot to do, and then ask us why we think that, and when the students come to a majority for a single strategy, we keep it. Afterwords, it is in our hands to design the robot. The mentors work FOR us, when we come up with a design, they help us solve details by offering ideas. They help us learn HOW to make the parts of the robot, not how to DESIGN it. I am not accusing these three teams of not designing their own robots. We CADD our own things, all CADD'd by students, then send the drawings to our local county college, or one of our teammate's basements to have it CNC'd. We then assemble it, and if there is a part that is not made, our mentors point it out and we make it. Not to say these three teams don't do so. Its about time i get to the point: disagreements are unavoidable. there is no such thing as the perfect robot. Everyone has a different view on how to do things. I personally think that the Co-op could've resulted in similar ideas (IE high shooter, same abilities) but i think that every robot should have a different solution.... seriously.. if you have to design something.. and its the same amount of material as the other robot..... then you can easily CAD something different and send the CAD over to the source of all your heavy machining. The robots would do the same things in the end, but the way they do them may be different. Essentially, it's like one giant team, which is great, because we have a fairly large team ourselves, but everyone wants to build a robot. It'd get crowded, sure, but thats the point where i think that they should go in the direction that RAGE went. Two robots (or in this case 3) for one team, using them as spares. Its all one team in the long run, but if something breaks they have a back up. Its not three teams competing with the same robot that way. its one team with two spare robots, which would not call any attention to it. But having the idea of having three teams with the same exact potential is... its just unfathomable. I'm not saying the design of these robots was easy. Honestly, i think the robots themselves a very impressive. But i want to compare this to the real world. Take any industry you want. Three companies/firms need to come up with a product to do the same thing. They work together and come up with the same result. they market the end product under a different name, but they go for the same price and work exactly the same. which one do you buy? i think that the idea of three teams with the same robot isn't bad when it comes to learning how to construct it and design it.... its just a bad end result..... and after all this rambling (which is all it really comes down to) I'd just like to state that i have no stance on this. i like the robot, and i know students took part in it. But the fact that they acted as one team and want to compete as three others goes against my FIRST morals. What's done is done, but i recommend forming one team with three robots next year. Our team founder/current mentor found this picture... and the look on his face could only be described as the deepest disappointment. As a team that worked with another school to help them get started, we know that cooperation between teams really helps, and we've helped that team when they had problems, but we never designed their robot with them. There is a fine line between one team helping and three separate teams. i think you blurred it to make something no one has ever seen. My point is really just to let people have their opinions, and that there were better ways to go about this. Nice robots, good luck, and i hope that we see more great robots in the future.

Sincerely,
Mike

note: I know the people involved in the NiagraFIRSTteams are amazing people.... but three teams may be a little excessive for what they need to do.



02-27-2006 05:09 PM

Rich Kressly


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
....I guarantee that the students and kids on these teams didn't build those robots. And building is not simple assembling parts that NiagaraFIRST sent them. 3 teams having the exact same robot sponsored by NiagaraFIRST, I'm sure we can tell who actually built the robot here. I don't see how this is a good idea at all. It completely ruins the FIRST spirit ... This is probably one of the worst examples of gracious professionalism I've seen in my few years involved in FIRST. Stop selling out to your sponsors, and try creating your own robot for once.
Well PJ, since you're so sure of yourself, I'd like you to meet Peter Diakow, Grade 12, from Team 1114 and NiagaraFIRST. He's actually building the hopper of a 2006 NiagaraFIRST robot.

Oh, why does some rookie team mentor from PA give a crap about this? Well, it seems as though Team 1712 was having difficulty figuring out how to marry that big CIM with a roller system because of limited resources. So I'm discussing this online with Karthik and he says, "Dude, why don't we make you a shaft adapter." So NiagaraFIRST's and 1114's own Peter Diakow took time out from BUILDING their robot(s) about 8 pm one night, so he could help 1712 in PA. Then Karthik brought the STUDENT-done work to us in DE where we met up at a Vex event. The kids on 1712 were so elated, they wrote 1114 a long letter for the incredible act of gracious professionalism. See 1712's tribute here: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=44048

Just because this isn't how you do business, don't make assumptions about others - EVER. Would my team collaborate like this? Probably not, but that's a team decision. In this case, when you talk about collaboration you are taking shots at 229, 217, 60, 254, the Niagara teams and some of the most storied names in FIRST that go along with these numbers. You know, these are the same names that brought us the kit gearbox and other incredible acts of gracious professionalism.

Take a step back and decide how gracious it is to accuse someone in a public forum without knowing all of the facts. You now have a chance to make things right. Take the opportunity. Namaste.



02-27-2006 05:19 PM

Mike Nawrot


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

In response to this..... i'd like to say that Phill has jumped to conclusions. and he is in his place to apologize..... so, from a teammate/friend, phill, you have already apologized once, but i think you need to apologize to a greater extent.... these teams worked hard, whether or not we like the fact that the robots are the same.



02-27-2006 05:19 PM

Amanda Morrison


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Nawrot
here on team 11
That's great for Team 11, but this thread isn't about you. I'd venture to say that (GASP!) every FIRST team is run differently.

Furthermore, I was actually impressed this year with the amount of GP on these boards, the encouragement given to designs and teams, and the questions some of the students are asking about other bots to learn more about them... until I read this thread. Is this really an argument worth getting worked up? Don't you think the kids on these teams would be hurt by you making assumptions about their sponsors, mentors, and the students themselves?

Are we really that close-minded that we have to insult other teams that deviate from what we percieve to be right? Giving an opinion and insulting someone are far from each other. Graciousness isn't just sharing your crayons in kindergarten. It's also about encouragement and growth, especially in this program.

A little note for everyone: If you want to rant collaboration, mentor involvement, or any other topic on here, don't disgrace one team by attempting to call them out. There's a handful of collaboration (or mentor involvement, or whatever) threads that serve the same purpose. If you aren't familiar with the ChiefDelphi boards, I'm sure a moderator would be happy to show you around.



02-27-2006 05:19 PM

Lisa Perez


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

At any rate, those are some very nicely designed 'bots... 10 days 'til we meet...



02-27-2006 05:30 PM

David Kelly


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Thread is closed and may reopen tomorrow in the moderated forum, collect your thoughts.



02-27-2006 05:33 PM

Karthik


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
I guarantee that the students and kids on these teams didn't build those robots. And building is not simple assembling parts that NiagaraFIRST sent them.
Rothy, what exactly are you basing your guarantee on? Part of the design process is about making educated decisions based on unknown outcomes. What exactly is your "guarantee" based on. I spent the last 6 weeks in the shop with my students, and I can guarantee you this, this robot was built by them. Was it 100% student built? No, that's not how this team operates. We have established a happy medium of student/adult involvement.

NiagaraFIRST is not a company by any means. If it is, I'm going to be complaining, because I know I haven't gotten my pay cheque yet. Here's a description of what NiagaraFIRST is, taken from our 2006 Chairman's submission. (Thanks to Emerald and the Chairman's team for this)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Team 1114 Chairman's Submission
Team 1114 is a partnership between Governor Simcoe Secondary School, the first school in the Niagara Region to become involved with FIRST, and General Motors Powertrain St. Catharines. The two came together in the fall of 2002 to form Simbotics. The program was a huge success in its first two years, with 90% of graduating team members pursuing higher education in science and technology. Unfortunately, there were thousands of individuals in the Niagara Region who had had no exposure to FIRST and were missing out on all the wonderful benefits and opportunities that the program provides. Team 1114, seeing the potential to inspire, wanted to pass on the joys of FIRST to other Niagara area students. With limited resources, the team knew expansion would be difficult. A creative strategy was needed. From this line of thinking, NiagaraFIRST was born.



NiagaraFIRST is an organization that supports and funds all levels of FIRST teams in the Niagara Region. Founded by Team 1114 Executive Sponsor Stephen Rourke, Director of Engineering for GM St. Catharines, NiagaraFIRST uses creative and collaborative strategies to minimize development, manufacturing, and travel expenses, allowing for smaller allocation of resources to support a greater number of FIRST teams. By uniquely managing mentor support and financial resources, NiagaraFIRST is able to support multiple FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and FIRST Vex Challenge (FVC) teams in the region.



Since the creation of NiagaraFIRST in the summer of 2004, the growth of FIRST in the region has been proceeding at a torrid pace. In the initial year of the organization the number of FRC teams grew from 1 to 3, with the addition of our sister teams at Westlane SS (Team 1503) and Fort Erie SS (Team 1680). At the elementary level, 2 FLL teams were created at our feeder school, Dalewood ES. With NiagaraFIRST now in its second year, we currently stand at 14 FLL teams and a newly created FLL regional in our community. The creation of NiagaraFIRST has it much easier for Team 1114 to spread the word of FIRST. This was most obvious with the vast increase of students exposed to FIRST. Opportunities to participate in the FIRST experience were made available for more than 300 Niagara area students Ė an increase by a factor of 10 in the Niagara Region student participation in FIRST.
You see, the reason we collaborate is not to build a better robot. Trust me, we'd be better off build a single bot. The reason we collaborate, is because it's the most efficient way to get more students exposed to FIRST. We simply don't have the resources, sponsors and mentors to support 3 seperate FRC teams in our area. This is where NiagaraFIRST was born. Collaborating gave us the opportunity that bring FIRST to more students, and more communities. Since the creation of NiagaraFIRST, we've exposed our community to the values of FIRST. You may claim that what we've done is against the spirit of FIRST, but I wholeheartedly disagree. As a result of our efforts we've been able to spread the word of FIRST across the Niagara Peninsula. Elementary students across the region are flocking to our high schools, because of FIRST. These kids are the next generation of engineers. You have to remember, we're not here to build robots. We're here to inspire future science and technology heroes. If building three identical robots is the most efficient way to do this, then that's what we're going to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
What if one of these robots gets top 8, and they get to pick alliance. Odds are they're going to pick the same design'd robot if it's capiable of getting in top 8. This is just creating an unfair advantage for your design of winning.
You really need to stop making unfounded assumptions. At last year's Greater Toronto Regional, Team 1114 was the number one seed. Did we pick Team 1503 or 1680? No, we picked Team 1305. In the second round Team 1680 was still available, did we pick them? No, we picked Team 1511. Like I said earlier, if we participated as one team, and built only one robot we would be a much stronger team. By building three seperate robots, we were able to reduce the design phase, and have three times as much opportunity for students to get a hands on impact. (Oh wait, according to you our students don't build anything...)

As for how the details of how this collaboration proceeded. The day after kickoff, a joint brainstorming session was held between all three teams. 75 students got together and hashed out many designs. The mentors then evaluated them for engineering soundness, and together a consensus was achieved. From here, our mentors firmed up the design using their years of engineering experience. Students watched and learned during this process. Once the drawings were complete, each school was assigned various manufacturing tasks. If tasks were beyond our capabilities, local machining sponsors picked up the slack. Once all parts were built, the teams came together in 1114's shop, and the robots were assembled. The entire process illustrated our team's greatest strength, partnership.

I'd like to thank all of the people here who kept calm heads and didn't rush to make assumptions. It happens every year when people publicly make claims that they can't back up. We need to stop letting this happen. No one knows what goes on in someone elses shop. You can make unfounded guesses, but chances are you'll come off looking like a moron. Let's try and avoid that

If anyone as any more questions, feel free to ask.

P.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Sturrock
We are all sponsored by GM, and we all share engineers, but we also have our own sponsors as well.
Actually, only 1114 and 1503 are sponsored by GM. 1680 is sponsored by EDS Canada.



02-27-2006 05:33 PM

Mike Nawrot


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanda Morrison
That's great for Team 11, but this thread isn't about you. I'd venture to say that (GASP!) every FIRST team is run differently.

Furthermore, I was actually impressed this year with the amount of GP on these boards, the encouragement given to designs and teams, and the questions some of the students are asking about other bots to learn more about them... until I read this thread. Is this really an argument worth getting worked up? Don't you think the kids on these teams would be hurt by you making assumptions about their sponsors, mentors, and the students themselves?

Are we really that close-minded that we have to insult other teams that deviate from what we percieve to be right? Giving an opinion and insulting someone are far from each other. Graciousness isn't just sharing your crayons in kindergarten. It's also about encouragement and growth, especially in this program.

A little note for everyone: If you want to rant collaboration, mentor involvement, or any other topic on here, don't disgrace one team by attempting to call them out. There's a handful of collaboration (or mentor involvement, or whatever) threads that serve the same purpose. If you aren't familiar with the ChiefDelphi boards, I'm sure a moderator would be happy to show you around.
i do not want to start an argument, and I'm approaching this with no bias toward any team. I would like to reiterate that i realize the hard work these student put into the robot. If you read my entire post, through the excessive rambling that occurred, you will, in fact, notice that i had quite a few positive views on this whole situation. I am not taking sides, and I believe (yes, I, as in my personal opinion, not necessarily correct) that these STUDENTS (yes, these are student built robots) did an amazing job this year, but the three way Co-op COULD"VE been settled with one large team. Notice, the could've, not should've. if i said should've, I'm sorry, i can be pretty stupid sometimes. If anything, i was trying to provide a slightly more relaxed view on this, and the point of stating how our team operates was merely an attempt at showing that there is no right or wrong way. the only wrong way is sponsor designed, which is not what these robots are, so i think there is nothing to say about this. I was never trying to make this about us, by the way, but that is not the point. I am agreeing with what Ms. Morrison said, every team is run differently. We should let these teams be, we've all stated our opinions, and we should not start personal vendettas. This should be a friendly environment. We all learned something this year, and it doesn't really matter what everyone else learned, considering we all pretty much learned the same concepts. And I'm sure that we will all gain some sort of technical knowledge when we look at either one of these robots. thats the reason we're here.



02-27-2006 06:33 PM

Brandon Martus


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

This thread is now open, but moderated.

For those of you who are not familiar with our moderated forums: all replies by non-moderators must be approved by a moderator, and could take up to 24 hours to appear. Please make sure your reply makes a positive contribution to the thread, so that your time and our moderators time is not wasted.

Thank you.



02-27-2006 06:50 PM

Conor Ryan


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Martus
This thread is now open, but moderated.

For those of you who are not familiar with our moderated forums: all replies by non-moderators must be approved by a moderator, and could take up to 24 hours to appear. Please make sure your reply makes a positive contribution to the thread, so that your time and our moderators time is not wasted.

Thank you.
Thanks Brandon, there are some great robots here and now we can get our questions answered.

Wow, collaborative design really pays off, hopefully it'll motivate some people around here to attempt it. I really love the idea, 3 teams are better than one (thats why we have alliances)
  • Look at the PVC on the hoppers! Thats pretty cool I like how you guys can both pick balls up off the ground and throw them in. But could you enlighten us how the balls get from inside the robot up into the shooter?
  • Are those FP's in dewalt's on the shooters?
  • Are specs on the drive train available? By the look of it treads are used on all of them, but I'd like to know the speeds and gearbox specs you used.
  • Anyone besides 1680 using the camera?
  • When did you take this picture, and how long was it until you had your first robot built and working?
  • Does collaborative build take longer than a single team's build?



02-27-2006 07:02 PM

Beth Sweet


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

When this discussion came up last year, I wrote this thread. I hoped that people would read it and take it to heart. Apparently I was sadly mistaken. Karthik, those robots are gorgeous, your kids should be exceedingly proud of the fantastic job that they did this year.



02-27-2006 07:25 PM

techtiger1


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Regardless of what you people think there still very good looking robots. Nice job to Niagara FIRST keeping things simple and elegant with the design. I really them. Love the application of the DeWalt transmissions looks great keep up the good work you three teams. Good luck to each one of the teams. :roll eyes:

- Drew



02-27-2006 07:30 PM

Jonathan Norris


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

I agree with the two MORT team members in saying that to an outsider the first impression will usually be that how these 3 teams operate can seem unfair. Even though Niagara FIRST builds great robots my personal first impressions was this. Many people I know have had this same impression when first seeing these 3 same robots last year, even my father had the same impression when he learned about these robots. However, throughout this past year I have warmed up to these 3 teams, and have come to admire many aspects about them. They have been able to do to Canada FIRST what none of the larger older Canadian FIRST teams have done. They are able to build robots of the highest quality in the FIRST competition, these three robots I saw at the Greater Toronto Regional last year were by far the best built Canadian robots in that competition, and look to have great robots again. Even though their collaboration will always bring skeptics, it will fuel the rest of the Canadian teams to work harder to build much better robots to truly compete with these three. They have raised the bar for robotics in Canada, and us at 610 have built our strongest robot to date and strive to compete at the same level and defeat these three strong teams. Just as many American teams always strive to beat the great teams such as HOT or Wildstang.

Their accomplishments do a lot for building FIRST, especially in Canada, however the thought of building 3 of the same robots can be seen as hindering creativity and originality in robot design. If these three teams can build 3 great robots with the same original design, I would love to see what 3 original designs they can come up with for three different robots while working together. Am I implying that the 3 teams should not share GM Engineers or share resources to build 3 great robots, in no way. However, I do believe that building 3 exactly the same robots for the same competition, who usually all compete in the same regionals, can be unfair to the rest of the teams in the competition. Because of the robots impeccable quality, competing in a regional with these teams can feel like facing 3 HOT or Wildstang teams, which is a challenge on to itself. I am not trying to say that these three teams should not work together, which should be applauded, but I would wish to see 3 individual robots of the same great quality but each with unique original designs. With the resources to build these 3 same robots, I do not see why they cannot build 3 unique individual robots, while continuing to work together and share resources. Us here at 610 have been sharing our resources for a while, in a much different manner. We have 'sponsored' a team in the past, St. Clemens School, when they worked in the same shop as us for the whole build season, we shared much knowledge and resources. But ended up building very different robots, of different capability due to different levels of experience. I am not trying to imply that our method is better in any way, we did not produce robots of the same quality, but I believe, as do others, that this method of joint work is closer to the method FIRST wished us to follow.

Anyway sorry for ranting, for a while, try not to read into my words too much as they are just a single persons opinion.



02-27-2006 07:30 PM

Billfred


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

If you can pull off the challenge of coordinating a collaboration (especially a three-way collaboration), I don't care whether your teams wind up in the bottom three spots of the rankings--you've pulled off a task that 99% of teams can't or won't be able to do.

I don't think, however, that you'll have to worry about being at the bottom of the rankings. I see three competing robots, so...



02-27-2006 07:35 PM

Andrew Blair


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Wow. I had not heard of collaboration before, and now seeing the concept, I am thouroughly impressed. This is not another Canadian scam to monopolize America ( ), but really an amazing idea. I would love, and also hate working with another team, but I'm very happy that it's worked out for NiagraFIRST. Those are really some awesome machines.

I'm impressed mostly because collaboration is the real world. Recently, during Engineer's Week, we were given the opportunity to tour the GE locomotive plant in nearby Erie. What impressed me most was the setup of the building we were in. All virtual conference rooms. Like 6 of them. It's truly amazing to see engineering teams from all over collaborate to create far better projects. And what is FIRST supposed to be but a bunch of engineering teams?

Maybe I'm cocky, but I am not too afraid to build a machine, given time, to compete with three other teams collaborating. Building a winning robot in FIRST is as much luck as knowhow.

I'm just interested to see the showdown between drive teams, programmers, and pit crews... Good luck this year!



02-27-2006 07:52 PM

Matt Adams


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Karthik:

I know that we haven't talked much on these forums, and I'm not nearly as regular of a poster as I once was, so to be clear the "tone" of the post that follows, it's meant to moderately inquisitive, challenging, but first and foremost respectful. I think I sit with a small(er) but sizeable group of people that see the picture of 3 identical robots and it sort of makes them squirm in their chair for reasons the can't define. Many don't see this as 'good' or 'bad' but just different, and they're still trying to make out their thoughts. Anyway, here are some questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karthik
Trust me, we'd be better off build a single bot.
I think it's that sentance that has me confused and what prompted me to post. Why would you be better off? What are some of the drawbacks you had to weigh when deciding to build 3 of the same robot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karthik
We simply don't have the resources, sponsors and mentors to support 3 seperate FRC teams in our area.
I think that this, if I may speak for others, is where a lot aforementioned squirming comes from. Anyone who goes to a FRC regional has seen the full spectrum of teams working with a wide variety of machining capabilities, mentor assistance and funding. The 3 NiagaraFIRST machines are obviously beautiful - they appear well designed and manufactured. I think that some believe these three teams, with a third of the resources, could create a less beautiful, albeit functioning, robot. I don't know enough about your teams to make a guess, but since some teams function without engineering help and hardly any machining capabilities, I'm sure these three teams could get SOMETHING moving around... but see my next thoughts below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karthik
You see, the reason we collaborate is not to build a better robot.
I don't think this is true, but at the same time, I don't think you're trying to be deceptive - it's likely a miscommunication. If I can take an educated guess about part the motivation to collaborate, it's because the leaders of these organizations probably had a discussion and realized that if these three teams were functioning independently, they would admittedly have robots, but to put it nicely, very sickly looking, bare bones robots. I think that 'better' in the way you spoke before and having 'resources, sponsors and mentors' are very much related. You collaborated to have better robots - but not to create an all dominating force with an unfair advantage. Am I wrong?

My personal opinion is under-mentored teams that build poor-performing, unreliable robots are, generally (exceptions exist), not particularly inspiring. I think there are many who understand this point (but may not agree it).

And of course, I think we can all acknowledge that under-inspired teams are fundamentally something we want to improve!

I would like to hear more of NiagaraFIRST's thoughts on these sort of topics, if you'd be willing, to maybe further help the FIRST community understand a bit more about the process your teams had to go through when thinking about collaborating for another year.

Thanks, and good luck this year!

Matt



02-27-2006 08:01 PM

Holtzman


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

In regards to the technical questions about the robots, here are the details....

4 Small Cim drive with a pair of AndyMark Shifters gives us 4.6ftps and 11.8 ftps in low and high gear respectively.
Treads from Brecoflex keep us planted firmly on the carpet.
2 FP's into Dewalts, direct drive to 8 inch Skyways for the launcher.
2 Globes(with 1 stage removed) run the ball lift from the hopper to the basket.
2 window's handles the intake.
And 1 van door runs our highly advanced and secret anti ball jam device.

In regards to Conor's specific questions...

Quote:
Look at the PVC on the hoppers! Thats pretty cool I like how you guys can both pick balls up off the ground and throw them in. But could you enlighten us how the balls get from inside the robot up into the shooter?
Balls simply roll down the ramp in our hopper into the feed for the lift. Our anti jam device stops jams in the bottle neck to the lift.

Quote:
Anyone besides 1680 using the camera?
All the robots will eventually get them on. They just didn't get them on in time for the picture.

Quote:
When did you take this picture, and how long was it until you had your first robot built and working?
Picture was taken the day before ship at our practice facility. We had the practice robot functional in week 3, but several revisions were made to the final competition robots.

Quote:
Does collaborative build take longer than a single team's build?
The actual build does take longer, but you save time in fabrication.

That being said, could 1114 build a better robot without the collaboration? Yes, but at this time, neither 1503 nor 1680 has the design or the programming resources to design and program their own competitive robots. It is for this reason that they are still a part of the collaboration. Perhaps in the future, when they have established more of their own resources, they will be able to venture off on their own.



02-27-2006 08:18 PM

Karthik


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Hey Matt,

Thanks for logical questions. I'll be happy to try and address them for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Adams
I think it's that sentance that has me confused and what prompted me to post. Why would you be better off? What are some of the drawbacks you had to weigh when deciding to build 3 of the same robot?
Without going into all the inner workings and politics of our Teams, let me best try and explain this. If we were to pool our best engineers and students onto one team, and have them design and build one robot, we could probably build a more competitive robot. Many times functionality is sacrificed, because it would take too long to implement the change on all three robots. Also, our manufacturing time is greatly increased.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Adams
You collaborated to have better robots - but not to create an all dominating force with an unfair advantage. Am I wrong?
No, you've sort of got it right. If we had one team, we would have a robot that was better than these three. But, if we existed as three separate teams, chance are our triplets would be better than the non-collaborated robots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Adams
My personal opinion is under-mentored teams that build poor-performing, unreliable robots are, generally (exceptions exist), not particularly inspiring. I think there are many who understand this point (but may not agree it).
Exactly. This is one of the main reasons for the collaboration. We too feel that a high functioning robot is more inspiring than a poor-performing one. This collaboration was initially designed to setup teams with limited resources for more success. While the collaboration occurs, the newer teams are given valuable time to align themselves with more resources, to allow for a transition into Independence. This collaboration is not a permanent solution, merely a model to lead new teams toward sustainable success.

It's it my firm belief that not only does FIRST need to grow to accomplish it's mission of a culture change, but it needs to establish strong sustainable growth. This is the driving motivation behind the collaboration.



02-27-2006 08:31 PM

Jonathan Norris


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

I am interested in knowing how fast your ball lift mechanism is into the shooter. You said that you took 1 stage out of the globe's gearbox, how much faster does that make it?



02-27-2006 08:52 PM

Zoheb N


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

those are some fantastic bots... i wonder which one would win against each other



02-27-2006 08:54 PM

Andy Grady


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

I agree...these are three very excelent robots, beautifually engineered and constructed, and for that, the Niagra FIRST teams should be proud.

I also go back to my point, I don't care if students, engineers, my aging grandmother, or a pack of monkeys builds the robot...as long as at least one student walks away inspired then the goal of FIRST has been reached.

With that said...I pose this question...

At what point does collaboration get out of control?

From a viewers standpoint, as a fan of the game, seeing three of the same robot can be quite boring. Match after match I can find it easy to become overly saturated with the clones. One thing over the years I have grown to love, is seeing how teams small and large handle the problems differently. Whether you have lots or little money, more or less engineers, mentor or student built...that uniqueness is something that has been special. I do not deny that making triplet bots has its own unique facet...but as a fan of the game, I'd just rather not see it.

Strategically, its has not been proven that colaboration actually helps teams succeed. Lets face it...the teams that have collaborated up to this point are proven teams...even if they were building on their own, they would probably do just as well. Also from a strategic standpoint...if you build three of the same robot, thats 2 less robots I have to scout for.

There are alot of arguements for or against collaboration...fact of the matter is, it is here to stay (at least for the time being), so as long as its legal, and NiagraFIRST feels that it is beneficial to the kids involved...more power to ya and good luck at the competition.

-Andy Grady



02-27-2006 09:01 PM

FourPenguins


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

I'm not going to judge here (more than I can help) but as much as the collaboration thing is great and is an excellent show of gracious professionalism, I don't entirely understand why you would do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holtzman
Yes, but at this time, neither 1503 nor 1680 has the design or the programming resources to design and program their own competitive robots. It is for this reason that they are still a part of the collaboration. Perhaps in the future, when they have established more of their own resources, they will be able to venture off on their own.
The only question I have for you on this point (and in this thread really) is why you don't just function as separate team who share machining/mentor resources. The only reason I ask this is because in my experience, the larger the organization (and yours is obviously rather large) the more problems you encounter and the less fun everyone has. (I can tell you that there have been times on MORT that I've thought, "Now if only we had only these 15 kids and these three mentors...")
But the bottom line is that they're great bots and I applaud your engineering and machining talent, all three of you.
//edited 2-28



02-27-2006 09:28 PM

Holtzman


Unread Re: pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Norris
I am interested in knowing how fast your ball lift mechanism is into the shooter. You said that you took 1 stage out of the globe's gearbox, how much faster does that make it?
We took a 5:1 stage out of the Globe Planetary. With the conveyor system were using that translates to about 21 inches a second, or about 3 balls a second.



02-27-2006 09:48 PM

Not2B


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Part 1 - Those look cool! It's similar to our design, just much more SMOOTH! Can't wait to see one/two/three - (not sure how many will be where I'll be.)

Part 2 - So... they pick a different engineering challange from most of us. Most teams have the challange of designing a robot alone... sealed off from the rest of the FIRST world. But we only have to make one bracket. One hopper. So we try some stuff out, make a prototype, get one working. Yeah for us. THEY have to get each part documented with enough info to make several copies. That's an engineering lesson on it's own. It's not bad/good - it's different. Just like Battlebots IQ - which is more of a durablity and materials selection type of engineering activity. In other words, a big SO WHAT!

Part 3 - I love having the triplets in FIRST! It's something different. Something we all know about. We all know 71 kicks butt. We all know that we have a team named for a south part snack food. And we have those wacky triplets, like the Del Rubio Triplets - but in robot form. It's just great.

Part 4 - Once upon a time I would have been upset about this - I was upset about engineer built machines, about teams building practice robots, blah blah blah... but after about 2-3 years, I started to come around. And after 5 years, I've come to realize the errors of my ways. It doesn't matter. Did YOUR team inspire students? Did YOUR actions help someone out? Don't feel too bad, everyone will get it in their own way and in their own time.



02-27-2006 11:00 PM

Wetzel


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Matt and Andy, I share some of your feelings. It is different and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet. When I first saw the picture I was amazed. Holy cow 4 of the same pretty robots!
Then I thought about it some and realized that three teams worked together to develop and construct the same idea. Amazed again at the level of coordination to get that many high school students and mentors to work together to down select to the same idea and then build it.
But something just felt odd. I dunno, but I think it is just change takes a bit to get used to but I think I like it.

Cíest la vie.

Wetzel
PS: This makes me want even more to do a build season with a 'powerhouse' team to steal their secretes.



02-27-2006 11:52 PM

Derek Bessette


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

First off , I would like to thank everyone for their praise, comments, suggestions and questions. I think our three team collaboration is somewhat unique in the FIRST community. I welcome all constructive criticism and thank those who have not made assumptions and attacked the way we do things here at NiagaraFIRST.org.

I'm actually quite happy this thread has become a moderated debate over collaboration. This type of conversation is very healthy for the FIRST community and very helpful to us at NiagaraFIRST.org. We are always looking for ways to make the experience for our student's better.

I think Karthik has answered most of the questions regarding how we manage our teams. I'm just going to add a few comments regarding the advantages and disadvantages of our collaboration.

I'm the lead GM mentor for team 1114. I have been involved with this team from the beginning. As Karthik said, as a single team I think we would be stronger than as a triplet. As a team we have been able to tap into a lot of resources in the Niagara area to get a lot of our metal and some parts donated as well as getting some of our harder machining done. These advantages are now passed on to three teams instead of one. Westlane and Fort Erie are starting to find their own resources which may help them break away from the collaboration eventually.

One advantage of a collaboration is with these resources. When Westlane finds someone to sponsor the decals for their robot, they get decals for all of the robot. When Fort Erie finds someone to get spare batteries donated, we all get free batteries. This same advantage is present with machining and fabricating. Westlane has a CNC lathe, Simcoe does not. Simcoe bought a CNC mill this year to match the one Westlane has had for some time. The Westlane Lead teacher mentor was able to come to Simcoe to help our expert grade 9 CNC mill programmer/operator. Each school is better at making some things compared to others. We use these strengths to help all of our teams succeed.

We also gain an advantage by learning from each others mistakes and improvements. We can pass lessons learned to each of the teams. Of course on the same note, when a design doesn't work out we usually end up with a lot of useless parts that took a long time to make. I challenge someone to print off our first teaser pic and try to find all of those parts on any of the robots. At least 75% of that stuff is now obsolete.

One of the biggest disadvantages is keeping the team organized and on track. We have to be very careful to document all of our drawings correctly and keep everyone up to date on changes. Although this problem hurts us as a team it is a very good learning experience for the kids. They learn how important it is to have good drawings and to communicate any changes.

Another disadvantage is the politics. There are a lot more people on three teams compared to on one. There are more personalities to deal with and a lot of different opinions on what the robot would look like and do. The brainstorming session at the start of the season helps with this a lot. We are able to get together and vote on the best ideas and always come up with a robot that incorporates ideas from all teams.

Also we won a lot more technical award last year than we had in the past. I believe this has to do with the fact that we had 3 identical robots. How do you pick which one to give it to?

By far the biggest advantage is that we can get to more students with less money and people. We can build three inspirational robots with fewer mentors and less money. A lot of people ask: Why not merge into one team with one robot? or Why not build 3 lesser quality robots?

For the first question I would answer: "Because, there is nothing more inspiring than competing with a robot that you built." Each school can get more involved with their own robot at competition because we are dealing with three smaller groups. I would find it very difficult to find productive and inspiring things to do for 80 kids with only one robot.

For the second robot I would say: "Competitive robots are inspirational robots." We could build three different robots. But they would all be less competitive and well engineered. I think our students are plenty inspired when the see what they've built, even though there are two more just like it.

Andy - Great points! I agree that having triplets in a regional might make it somewhat less interesting to watch. However, I will point out that it is definitely not less interesting for the kids that get to play the game with their own competitive robot. Each team has tremendous pride in their robot and they fight very hard, especially when they are against one of the other triplets. If I thought we had the time and resources to be able to put out three quality robots then we could have the best of both worlds. At some point I hope we can get there.

You also asked when we thought it gets out of control. I think we are at the limit now. I would find it very difficult to go to four teams with identical robots. We are getting another school in the area started with some of our kit materials that we haven't used over the years. They are going to build a robot using this years rules for the off-season competition in Wonderland. This will give them a chance to learn the heartaches of FIRST at a much more relaxed pace. They will have a lot of the advantages of being in NiagaraFIRST without having the same robot. We'll see how it works out.

I want to again thank everyone for turning this thread around. I understand how teams might be confused, disappointed, and even upset at the way we do things. I hope everyone can stay constructive in their criticism.

One thing you'll notice about our team. We are always improving. Whether it's the robot or the way we manage our team. Thanks to those out there who are trying to help us get better.

If anyone has any more question regarding our collaboration please feel free to ask. Try and be specific or you might end up with another novel like this one!


I almost forgot the biggest advantage of all!

Three times as many people get to hear me and Karthik sing at 2 am!

Karthik - Did you ever know that your my hero? You are the wind beneath my wings!



02-28-2006 01:08 AM

KVermilion


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Guys... why are you arguing?

Attack of the Clones was undisputably the worst Star Wars movie ever.

Enough said.



02-28-2006 09:04 AM

GaryVoshol


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Bessette
You also asked when we thought it gets out of control. I think we are at the limit now. I would find it very difficult to go to four teams with identical robots. We are getting another school in the area started with some of our kit materials that we haven't used over the years. They are going to build a robot using this years rules for the off-season competition in Wonderland. This will give them a chance to learn the heartaches of FIRST at a much more relaxed pace. They will have a lot of the advantages of being in NiagaraFIRST without having the same robot. We'll see how it works out.
I think this is the most important aspect of the partnership. That it is NOT cast in concrete for all time, but that it is part of an evolution. And that it is not envisioned as uber-alliance. That is my biggest concern with alliances - that they grow to encompass too many teams. We don't want to see alliances with 10 or more teams dominating a regional.

Do the triplets always compete in the same regionals? Perhaps because of your location Toronto and Waterloo make the most sense; but do you consciously choose to be at the regionals together?

Perhaps in a year or two there will be two sets of two teams, making two sets of "twin" robots. 1114 can collaborate with the new team, 1503 and 1680 can collaborate together. Or whatever works for the situation. In a later year, another team can be added to a partnership to create another "triplet" - which can then divide and spawn off another partnership in a few years.

1188 came into existance by being mentored by 65 a few years ago. Then we struck off on our own as rookies (the same year 1114 were rookies). We didn't organize as two teams during the initial mentorship, because there weren't enough students associated with what became 1188 to make it work. Or because no one thought of doing it.

Last year 1188 mentored a student from another HS in the area - it was going to be more, but only he was interested enough to join. This year he moved to another school that has a team, so there was no one left from his original school left to participate. There is another school in our area that I would love to become involved in FIRST. I have broadly thought out a possible long-term relationship, involving both FIRST and the local OCCRA competition in the Fall - it's still so nebulous that I haven't even discussed it with our main mentor. Perhaps dual-designed FIRST robots would be an option if that partnership comes to pass. This year wasn't the year to pursue it, as we have so much on our plate with our association with South Africa.

I was initially against this concept, but can see how it can work in the right circumstances. If it serves to get more students involved in FIRST than would otherwise be possible, it is a good thing.



02-28-2006 10:56 AM

CatchRothy22


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Alright, i stopped reading the posts after about page 3 because they're just all the same points arguing against me.

I jumped to conclusions, a bit too quickly. Sorry about that. When i saw that picture i just thought a company sponsored 3 teams, built them, and just sent them out. Made a false assumption, made an $@#$@#$@# out of myself, oops. Apologies to the teams and NiagraFIRST. And to MORT for making us look like morons.



02-28-2006 11:36 AM

Spikey


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Part of me is really excited to see three identical robots, however part of me is not.

I like the idea, its a great way to mentor teams and teach cooperation, but to a point their should be separation. I wonder what people would think if all the BMS teams came to the New Jersey regional with identical robots. (5-6 teams)

Making three identical robots one year is a great idea, making three identical robots 2 years in a row leaves me with questions. It will still be great for these teams to share resources, but why not share the resources to make three different robots? That way the great aspects of collaboration can remain (sharing resources, mentoring others, offering help) while creating an individual robot that each team could be proud of.

Although I personally cannot put myself in the situation that these teams are in. My team was lucky enough to have a machine shop and adequate funds to independently build a robot. Maybe there is a different mindset when teams work together like this, I don't honestly know, all I can say is from my point of view I would like my team to work with others, but not build identical robots.



02-28-2006 12:04 PM

Derek Bessette


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryV1188
Do the triplets always compete in the same regionals? Perhaps because of your location Toronto and Waterloo make the most sense; but do you consciously choose to be at the regionals together?

Perhaps in a year or two there will be two sets of two teams, making two sets of "twin" robots. 1114 can collaborate with the new team, 1503 and 1680 can collaborate together. Or whatever works for the situation. In a later year, another team can be added to a partnership to create another "triplet" - which can then divide and spawn off another partnership in a few years.
The triplets are competing in the same regionals. This helps us to save travel costs and reduce the amount of planning required. Also, it is very difficult to have the mentors travel to all different regionals in different weeks.

As for the question of growth within our community. We still feel there is an opportunity to have up to about 6 teams in our area (we also have students from other schools who participate on our teams). I don't envision there will ever be 6 identical robots at a regional. I do however for see a very strong collaborative effort between all teams to make the student's and mentor's experience more rewarding. We'll have to wait and see what happens.



02-28-2006 04:14 PM

Mike


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Karthik, you stated that all three bots will eventually get cameras on them. What does your bots do with the camera data? It doesn't look like there are independent turrets on the bot, so do they move the entire bot? I like programming details

Nice bots, I also notice you have a full field set up. What kind of facilities do you have?



02-28-2006 07:32 PM

Rich Kressly


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatchRothy22
Alright, i stopped reading the posts after about page 3 because they're just all the same points arguing against me.

I jumped to conclusions, a bit too quickly. Sorry about that. When i saw that picture i just thought a company sponsored 3 teams, built them, and just sent them out. Made a false assumption, made an $@#$@#$@# out of myself, oops. Apologies to the teams and NiagraFIRST. And to MORT for making us look like morons.
Thank you PJ, it honestly takes guts to step up and admit a mistake, especially one that is inflammatory. I send along my appreciation to you and to Team 11 for helping to get things back on track here. Please know, we aren't "arguing against you" as this is not a personal issue. It's about approprite public conduct and always keeping the big FIRST picture in mind. I'll most likely talk more about that in another thread, but as for the insight into the Niagara collaboration and detailed robot information, thank you all for helping us to learn!



02-28-2006 08:02 PM

Derek Bessette


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Karthik, you stated that all three bots will eventually get cameras on them. What does your bots do with the camera data? It doesn't look like there are independent turrets on the bot, so do they move the entire bot? I like programming details

Nice bots, I also notice you have a full field set up. What kind of facilities do you have?
The camera might eventually be used aim the balls by turning the drive base. The Westlane team has spent a lot of time working with the camera to get it to do this very thing. It's not there yet, but it's close. Once we get a few other changes done in the next fix-it window we will give it another go.



02-28-2006 10:47 PM

Karthik


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Nice bots, I also notice you have a full field set up. What kind of facilities do you have?
We are very lucky to have a full practice facility. Due to an aging population in the Niagara Region, there have been numerous school closings. As a result the school board has a few empty schools. They've given us keys to the school (Lakebreeze ES, otherwise known as "the breeze"), and we build our playing field in the gymnasium. Since our team is in possession of the school, we have no restrictions on how late we can be there. So our teams are often practicing into the wee hours of the morning. Also, the school board uses "the breeze" for storage of high jump mats, so it's a great place to nap.



03-02-2006 01:20 AM

doubleslash


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

I'd have to say right up front that I don't necessarily agree with collaboration, but only one specific part, which is the one that makes it inherently unfair: the fact that collaborating teams get to bring three of the same robots to the same competition.

I agree that working together will produce a stronger bot, I've had year after year of schoolteachers that constantly teach us the power of teamwork. But you have to think of the inherent unfairness of multiple teams building the exact same robot and attending the same competition in terms of utility. I highly doubt that even if some teams don't have the mentors, the facilities, the programmers, etc, that they won't have the drivers and human players to make their collaborated clone robot succeed at a competition. Having three teams with three robots is basically commensurate to one team cloning themselves in order to increase their chances in the competition three times.

A second problem is a repeat of what someone else noted, that if one team gets into the top 8, they will often pick teams they are collaborating with to join their alliance. I personally saw this happening at SVR last year, and believe that every team that gets picked by their collaborating partners is another team that could have gotten picked but didn't.

If you think of the teams as a black box interface, it doesn't matter to me how a robot gets built, by how many people with so many facilities and so many mentors, as long as they follow a basic rule that I think FIRST should adopt: "One team, one robot, one competition." If there's one robot being made, regardless of the teams behind it, only one robot is put in a box and loaded into the truck on the ship date, only one robot shows up at the competition.

I realize that this is rather difficult since the teams are still distinct (often geographically, by school), but I can't see how they would fail to manage if they could build a robot together why they couldn't see it at the competition together.

The best way for FIRST to go about making this happen, in my opinion, are a new set of rules to "level the playing field" - as they said when they introduced the Fix-it Window - a rule that allows teams to declare themselves as collaborating, who therefore are from then on, considered to be one team in the eyes of FIRST, the competition organizers, and their computer systems.

Example: instead of Team X, Team Y, and Team Z showing up at a regional with three robots, which are all the same, Team X, Team Y, and Team Z declare themselves as a collaborating team (probably sometime before the kickoff?) so that in the eyes of FIRST, they aren't Team X, Team Y, and Team Z anymore, they're "Team X, Y, and Z" now. This avoids the trouble that would occur if teams that collaborated were forced to register a new team, so that teams would constantly be registered and abandoned as collaboration partners changed. Instead, the FIRST system simply creates a meta-team that consists of multiple collaborating teams. That one team brings their one robot to the one regional. That one team plays with their strong robot. There are no other teams with the same strong robot going on in the background and tripling their chances of succeeding. And when that one team gets into the top 8, they can pick other strong teams that otherwise might not have been picked. "One team, one robot, one competition."

Again, I must repeat, that I do agree that collaborating produces stronger robots. But at the same time I see an inherent problem with this that takes advantage of what I might dare call a loophole in the FIRST system. I've suggested a way to remedy this. If anyone has further ideas on why my ideas don't work or aren't plausible (<- this is the one I'm looking out for), other ways FIRST could improve their system (or whether it really needs "improving"), please post them.



03-02-2006 08:27 AM

Swan217


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleslash
unfair: the fact that collaborating teams get to bring three of the same robots to the same competition.

I highly doubt that even if some teams don't have the mentors, the facilities, the programmers, etc, that they won't have the drivers and human players to make their collaborated clone robot succeed at a competition. Having three teams with three robots is basically commensurate to one team cloning themselves in order to increase their chances in the competition three times.

A second problem is a repeat of what someone else noted, that if one team gets into the top 8, they will often pick teams they are collaborating with to join their alliance. I personally saw this happening at SVR last year, and believe that every team that gets picked by their collaborating partners is another team that could have gotten picked but didn't.

If you think of the teams as a black box interface, it doesn't matter to me how a robot gets built, by how many people with so many facilities and so many mentors, as long as they follow a basic rule that I think FIRST should adopt: "One team, one robot, one competition." If there's one robot being made, regardless of the teams behind it, only one robot is put in a box and loaded into the truck on the ship date, only one robot shows up at the competition.

I realize that this is rather difficult since the teams are still distinct (often geographically, by school), but I can't see how they would fail to manage if they could build a robot together why they couldn't see it at the competition together.

The best way for FIRST to go about making this happen, in my opinion, are a new set of rules to "level the playing field" - as they said when they introduced the Fix-it Window - a rule that allows teams to declare themselves as collaborating, who therefore are from then on, considered to be one team in the eyes of FIRST, the competition organizers, and their computer systems.

Example: instead of Team X, Team Y, and Team Z showing up at a regional with three robots, which are all the same, Team X, Team Y, and Team Z declare themselves as a collaborating team (probably sometime before the kickoff?) so that in the eyes of FIRST, they aren't Team X, Team Y, and Team Z anymore, they're "Team X, Y, and Z" now. This avoids the trouble that would occur if teams that collaborated were forced to register a new team, so that teams would constantly be registered and abandoned as collaboration partners changed. Instead, the FIRST system simply creates a meta-team that consists of multiple collaborating teams. That one team brings their one robot to the one regional. That one team plays with their strong robot. There are no other teams with the same strong robot going on in the background and tripling their chances of succeeding. And when that one team gets into the top 8, they can pick other strong teams that otherwise might not have been picked. "One team, one robot, one competition."

Again, I must repeat, that I do agree that collaborating produces stronger robots. But at the same time I see an inherent problem with this that takes advantage of what I might dare call a loophole in the FIRST system. I've suggested a way to remedy this. If anyone has further ideas on why my ideas don't work or aren't plausible (<- this is the one I'm looking out for), other ways FIRST could improve their system (or whether it really needs "improving"), please post them.
First, as Dean says, "FIRST is not meant to be fair." (paraphrased). See my post in the Rule 17 thread on "Levelling the playing field" vs. the fixit window.

Second, your concerns about collaborating assume that the final design completely outshines all others. This is only your one opinion, not fact. Since human players and drivers can't switch from team to team, the abilities of each robot is still limited to the students on each team. This was proven last year when 217 and 229 collaborated, and 217's drivers were much more comfortable with the robot than 229's drivers (No offense Jay T.).

Thirdly, if a team gets picked in eliminations, it obviously belongs there due to skill. If a robot is not picked, it obviously wasn't good enough to be picked as a partner. Whether you're 25th on the teams' pick list or 50th, it doesn't matter. Teams aren't going to arbitrarily pick another just because it's a sister team. And what if it is? Unless they win the regional together, it's a moot point. Just because one collaborating team wins, doesn't mean that the other "partner" gets to go to Atlanta. If anything, it's a disadvantage, because that "partner" team built a winning robot, and doesn't reap the benefits of winning.

Plus, your "plan" doesn't include the situation of when teams partially collaborate, such as the 217/229 collaboration. Though both teams were very similar, they were not identical. Would you combine these robots into one team because they collaborated, even though they're not identical? Moreover, would you combine all coincedentally identical robots into one team, just because they're identical? Your concerns are the same whether they collaborated or just coincidentally made the exact same design (which is very possible, given the specific rules of the game each year.)



03-03-2006 06:18 PM

Veselin Kolev


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

I can see the advantages to making multiple robots. Personally, the part that always takes the longest time in robotics for my team is actual fabrication. As someone who machines this stuff, I know that it is easier to make 3 of the same part than 3 of a different part. In fact, it is just about the same to mill 10 plates instead of 3. This of course is a big advantage for the teams. Things get machined MUCH faster, and there is more time to troubleshoot and practice.

Isn't that the point? Most students can't fabricate on mills and lathes anyway. Why not use collaboration to speed up the fabrication process, and give the students proper time to make their robot? My team has ALWAYS rushed after all the parts were made, and we usually only have two or so days to program and practice. We dont have a dozen machine shops, we have one, and we're really pushing the limit sometimes on timeline. I see it as a very logical thing for teams to get together and design and build parts that are the same.

The only part that interests me however, is how the three teams managed to get together and design one robot, without arguing each other to death. It was hard enough to chose a final design for my team, took a solid two days of debating (and I mean solid, we went at it for like 14 hours straight one saturday...). I mean sure, teams can easily have the same frames and drive trains, because those are pretty standard. But how could multiple teams ever agree on how the manipulator should be done? If you think about it, lets say there are 30 people from each team, and a few mentors from each team. Three teams means 100 people, all agreeing on the same design. I'm sure it was quite a challenge. That is one of the big disadvantages I see in collaboration, just the delay you get from debating.

So my question to the three teams of NiagaraFIRST is: how exactly did you get everyone to agree on the same design? How was it organized, how long it took, etc. Details I guess. I dont know, if you put 100 of me in a room and tried to make me (us) agree, it would never happen. But hey, thats just me.

Otherwise...
The robots look very good. It is always great to see a group of people actually work together to create an awesome, well thought-out product.

A random question:
Have two (or more) teams ever worked together to make two robots that compliment each other? For example, in 2003, teams could have worked together and had a robot that focused on stacking, and a robot that focused on hoarding bins. In this game you could have gotten creative, and made one robot that collected and stored balls and fed them to a second, shooting bot. It would be very interesting to see that in competition...

Good luck to the NiagaraFIRST teams, I'm sure you guys will rock!
~Veselin Kolev



03-03-2006 07:22 PM

doubleslash


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Swando
First, as Dean says, "FIRST is not meant to be fair." (paraphrased). See my post in the Rule 17 thread on "Levelling the playing field" vs. the fixit window.

Second, your concerns about collaborating assume that the final design completely outshines all others. This is only your one opinion, not fact. Since human players and drivers can't switch from team to team, the abilities of each robot is still limited to the students on each team. This was proven last year when 217 and 229 collaborated, and 217's drivers were much more comfortable with the robot than 229's drivers (No offense Jay T.).
I thought I made it clear that I believe that working together will produce a stronger robot, if three teams get together, they have three times the students, three times the mentors, three times the resources, three times the strength of the robot, and there's nothing wrong with that. What my concerns about collaboration were the fact that three copies of the same robot go to the same competition, tripling their chances of succeeding (note the distinction between competition and regionals, even if the robots go to different regionals, they still have increased their chances). Whether or not there is a disparity in the skill or practice the drivers of each collaborating team have access to is irrelevant, having three robots is better than one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Swando
Thirdly, if a team gets picked in eliminations, it obviously belongs there due to skill. If a robot is not picked, it obviously wasn't good enough to be picked as a partner. Whether you're 25th on the teams' pick list or 50th, it doesn't matter. Teams aren't going to arbitrarily pick another just because it's a sister team. And what if it is? Unless they win the regional together, it's a moot point. Just because one collaborating team wins, doesn't mean that the other "partner" gets to go to Atlanta. If anything, it's a disadvantage, because that "partner" team built a winning robot, and doesn't reap the benefits of winning.
You don't see that it's still inherently unfair to other teams? If all three collaborating teams are fairly picked on basis of skill, the fact remains that there are three of them, two of whom wouldn't be there without collaboration, meaning two other teams that tried equally hard over the course of the build time who didn't get picked. If a group of people work on a robot, they should get the chance they deserve to get picked, but not three.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Swando
Plus, your "plan" doesn't include the situation of when teams partially collaborate, such as the 217/229 collaboration. Though both teams were very similar, they were not identical. Would you combine these robots into one team because they collaborated, even though they're not identical? Moreover, would you combine all coincedentally identical robots into one team, just because they're identical? Your concerns are the same whether they collaborated or just coincidentally made the exact same design (which is very possible, given the specific rules of the game each year.)
I can't say that I've made up a plan, though I wouldn't mind some FIRST people perusing this thread and getting a few ideas. In your presented situation, all I have to say is that it doesn't matter if teams come together and agree with general design qualities, for example, a shooter up high, but when multiple teams come together to engineer a single robot, each one shouldn't get to bring a copy of it to the competition, and triple their chances of success. "One team, one robot, one competition" means exactly that, if the robots differ, then the teams differ. In your case where robots are coincidentally, it's important to differentiate robots that are identical and identical in design. Identical robots are exactly alike in every respect, which is almost impossible to occur just coincidentally. Robots that are identical by design have all the exact same design qualities, like having the same number of flywheels, same type of drive train, etc. Teams that collaborate and develop robots identical in design are likely to be more powerful, and if it proves to be a successful robot in the competition, people will learn that teamwork works. But that doesn't mean that teams can all bring the exact same robot to the regionals to increase their chances of success. Bottom line: every team should engineer their own robot, but that doesn't mean that they can't have similar design principles.



03-05-2006 07:15 PM

orelinde


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

identical robots? not crazy about the idea at first i thought copycat designs at second i was like poor judges. third i was thank goodness i do not have to judge which of those three robots to give prizes too. I love the robots the look great but can the drivers out drive the other teams. Now they have to rely quite heavily on the drivers to out perform the siblings. can not wait to hear about it.



03-06-2006 03:24 PM

neilsonster


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleslash
"One team, one robot, one competition" means exactly that, if the robots differ, then the teams differ. In your case where robots are coincidentally, it's important to differentiate robots that are identical and identical in design. Identical robots are exactly alike in every respect, which is almost impossible to occur just coincidentally. Robots that are identical by design have all the exact same design qualities, like having the same number of flywheels, same type of drive train, etc. Teams that collaborate and develop robots identical in design are likely to be more powerful, and if it proves to be a successful robot in the competition, people will learn that teamwork works. But that doesn't mean that teams can all bring the exact same robot to the regionals to increase their chances of success. Bottom line: every team should engineer their own robot, but that doesn't mean that they can't have similar design principles.
Come to a regional in which the NiagaraFIRST teams participate, and then give some more thought to this matter. If you saw the three of them last year you would know that despite the fact that they had identical robots, they were three clearly different teams. They all had their own style of play, and as an alliance leader thats how you would perceive them.

Last year at the Waterloo regional our team was in a position to be picking an alliance and the night before we never once said that any one of the Niagara teams was just as good as the other. We ended up picking team 1503 because at that regional we felt their performance would complement our alliance moreso than the other two teams. To their credit though, team 1680 was the highest-seeded rookie team at that regional and 1114 went on to dominate the Greater Toronto Regional (and went up against 1503 in the finals I might add) despite their performance in Waterloo.

The teams collaborate with each other to build their robots, they share mentors, and I'd gather that the students have gotten to know each other quite well. But when it comes to the competition, these are three individual teams, and should be treated as such.



03-10-2006 08:43 PM

pathew100


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Yep, as it is at GLR so far they look pretty good! 1114 and 1503 are working a bit better than 1680. I saw 1114 consistently put 8-10 in the 3pt goal in auto mode.



03-31-2006 02:21 AM

mluckham


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Karthik writes:

Quote:
As for how the details of how this collaboration proceeded. The day after kickoff, a joint brainstorming session was held between all three teams. 75 students got together and hashed out many designs. The mentors then evaluated them for engineering soundness, and together a consensus was achieved. From here, our mentors firmed up the design using their years of engineering experience. Students watched and learned during this process. Once the drawings were complete, each school was assigned various manufacturing tasks. If tasks were beyond our capabilities, local machining sponsors picked up the slack. Once all parts were built, the teams came together in 1114's shop, and the robots were assembled. The entire process illustrated our team's greatest strength, partnership.
I read this whole thread and don't see anyone ask the obvious question - "why are these robots so very, very good"?

That's the real issue, isn't it?

It seems that NiagaraFIRST's core team of Mentors is exceptionally experienced, organized, and accustomed to producing production drawings to a level of quality that teams of student builders can machine independently. Early enough to build, integrate, get the bugs worked out, and the robots humming - all in the same time constraints that everyone else has to work to.

We should all be so lucky.



04-05-2006 07:31 PM

d.courtney


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

I just can't wait till the day you go to a regional and 40+% robots look identical [not that we are far off considering exactly 10% of Waterloo's robots were the exact same]. Better yet I can't wait till the day FIRST itself gives you the design; you can't beat the engineers now can you. And even better, everything a team fundraises goes into a pot and is divided among all the teams, because we all know to this point FIRST is not so much about learning as it is inspiring, and what better way then to give every team a strong robot (thank you Derek for pointing out ďCompetitive robots are inspirational robots.Ē, and I do have more on that topic but maybe that can be in another paragraph) and enough funds to be able to go to one (or maybe two) regionals and Atlanta. Then one day it could turn into the fact that FIRST is just an assembly line, from which you can get your robot and program, and train your best drivers, so that you can have that edge over the other 2000 teams. Because after all isnít that where FIRST wants to be one day?

Ok I know that was a little over the top and I meant for that, but really is that what FIRST wants, 10% (or even more) of robots at a regional identical, let alone one or two? I am not against all collaboration, and I am not going to beat around the bush and say I am ok with this collaboration. To be brutally honest I find it unFIRST, anti-inspirational, and anti-innovative. The anti-innovative I am sure is a give away, and everyone I am sure would agree with that statement (if you donít Iíd like to hear how it is innovative), what NiagaraFIRST.org has done is create an assembly line, and as impressive as it is that is not the goal of FIRST. Now back to Derekís comment ďCompetitive robots are inspirational robotsĒ (see page 5), yes I would agree to a very small point that this is true, but explain how (outside of being in a NiagaraFIRST.org team) this is inspirational; you and your team walk into the pits excited about the regional at hand, you see early on that there are three identical robots [which means theoretically each team did 1/3 of the work] and that they in fact do very well. Seeing this brings a dampen on your own work and what you have accomplished, because although yes you did well enough to accomplish the task you didnít do it near as well as they did, as after all they did theoretically have three times the manpower, and each team could individually debug a different part of the robot. You leave the competition ok with the fact they won, after all they were smart enough to do this right? Besides thereís always next year (or in our case next regional), so far I really donít have a big problem with it, but this is when I have a problem with it, next regional you do a lot better, you have debugged your own robot, and know are scoring 25-35 points a round and play a good defence (sorry again 1114 for breaking your belt), although one problem, the same teams just sweep everyone and win the competition, again not very inspiring to those out of those teams, only because we know theyíve collaborated and created three super-robots (which might I add are supposedly inspiring) and won three regionals. Maybe I am out of here, but I didnít find it inspiring playing against them, or even with them, you know who is going to win. Too bad luck did wasnít on our side at either competition, for instance, at Waterloo we had one qualifying match with 1114, two against, zero with 1503 and three against, and zero with 1680 and two againstÖ funny how our standings were 3-7-0, this was because of a simple thing, they have a robot which in my mind canít be reckoned with, which also is not inspiration in my mind.

I do need to say that this has not been an attack on NiagaraFIRST.org, it is against collaboration, I am ok with helping but not collaborating I find them two very different things. Also I think people let this get to far out of hand, sorry if I seem hypocritical, but people would not make a big deal had it been a failure and the teams placed bottom half of the pack, this I find very wrong, as it has the same effect no matter where youíre placed, it is remaking FIRST into a assembly line. I have meant all this to have constructive criticism to help NiagaraFIRST.org. Last I will leave with this, we have three other teams in the area, and would it be over the top to create quadruplets? What about winning each regional we go to? Would FIRST care if we brought that 10% up to 23%? Would NiagaraFIRST.org or any other team care? I myself would never want to do it (but I can say there some who would).

-David

ps ...sorry about the length, also if you have a problem with anything I said again I meant it as constructive critisism for NiagaraFIRST.org, feel free to PM me if you have a problem, I do not mean to start any arguements.



04-16-2006 01:31 AM

doubleslash


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilsonster
Come to a regional in which the NiagaraFIRST teams participate, and then give some more thought to this matter. If you saw the three of them last year you would know that despite the fact that they had identical robots, they were three clearly different teams. They all had their own style of play, and as an alliance leader thats how you would perceive them.
I think that the fundamental misunderstanding between me and other people here is in our view of collaborating teams. Whereas you and others here might view collaborating teams as three teams with the same robot, I see them as one big team with three robots.

In this way, your post parallels Don Swando's above post, where he says that teams are selected on a basis of merit during the alliance selection process, and also that it doesn't matter if the robots win unless they're all at the same regional. But if you change your view of collaborating teams as one big team with multiple robots, instead of multiple teams with the same robot, you'll see that this is wrong. Even if all three teams are selected in the selection process on a basis of merit, there are still three of them, meaning two other teams who tried just as hard couldn't get selected. Even if not all three robots go to the same regional, they're still in the same competition, meaning that the distribution of robots amongst regionals is only a difference of tripling your chances of success at one regional or enjoying an equal amount of success at three regionals.

In the same way, I'd still have to say that despite your post, collaboration is still unfair. Your statement that the three are "clearly different teams" with "their own style of play" doesn't change the fact that there are three of them. What, then, is to stop a team from bringing two or three of their robot to the regional, and asking them to all be put into the competition, as long as they promise to play each one differently?

This is where I derived my statement "One team, one robot, one competition," because I think that collaboration tests the boundaries of the definition of "team." I think it should be recognized that "team" is very abstract, and that it would be reasonable to consider the Triplets as one "team" who should therefore only introduce one robot into the competition. In my first post, I described a basic way for FIRST to formalize this.

Anyway, I heard that the Triplets did very well. I'd like to use this opportunity to say that I don't question that collaboration as a professional process, that it won't produce stronger robots, nor will I parade the statement that collaboration is ruining FIRST by stifling creativity, or whatever. What I'm trying to say is that there is a fairness problem inherent to collaboration because it takes advantage of a shady definition of "team." My problem isn't that collaborating teams are being selected for eliminations or winning regionals and awards, my problem is that other teams are not.



04-20-2006 11:28 AM

Richard Wallace


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mluckham
... It seems that NiagaraFIRST's core team of Mentors is exceptionally experienced, organized, and accustomed to producing production drawings to a level of quality that teams of student builders can machine independently. Early enough to build, integrate, get the bugs worked out, and the robots humming - all in the same time constraints that everyone else has to work to.

We should all be so lucky.
Second that.

I'll confess my initial reaction to seeing the photo that started this thread: the design is an inspiration, but like some others I thought making three copies of it was somehow unfair.

Several weeks later I volunteered at Waterloo and saw the Triplets in action. My thinking changed.

Many of the things about NiagaraFIRST that are inspirational have been recited here already. To me the most inspirational is the speed with which the mentors developed the design for the practice robot.

In my day jobs, I've been an engineering professor, a lead engineer, a project manager, etc., and I've seen how difficult it can be to coordinate a good, usable set of drawings (or schematics or embedded software requirements) on a tight schedule. My opinion is that you can't really teach this skill -- you can only inspire people to develop it by example. And that is exactly what NiagaraFIRST is doing.



06-19-2006 10:20 PM

doubleslash


Unread Re: [moderated] pic: The 2006 NiagaraFIRST Triplets!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard
Second that.

I'll confess my initial reaction to seeing the photo that started this thread: the design is an inspiration, but like some others I thought making three copies of it was somehow unfair.

Several weeks later I volunteered at Waterloo and saw the Triplets in action. My thinking changed.
I is too my contention that collaboration - and working together in general - produce something greater than the sum of its parts. The great success the Triplets and other collaborating teams have enjoyed this year only confirms this to me. However, as these teams pool together their assets to become one large team, let them be treated as such in the eyes of FIRST.

So why not have some sort of system in place, some set of rules, that allows teams to temporarily combine into a single pseudo-team for the year if they intentionally plan on building the exact same robot? This way, teams can collaborate all they want, just as before, but the one flaw in the competition system they exploit is gone.



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