A Challenge: Let's Gather Robot Info!

Hey everyone, we’ve been working on something that, with a bit of luck, could be a huge help to all FIRST teams. With everyone’s help, it could help immensely with both scouting and keeping a solid record of all the awesome hard work teams do.

We just spent the last couple of days at the Colorado regional writing and testing some code for our database that allows it to hold some fairly extensive things previously found only on more traditional scouting databases. Now that we’ve given it a try locally, it might just be ready for a somewhat more extensive test. Basically, we can now store (in a pretty generic fashion, meaning we can add tons more) data specifically on the actual robots that compete at events.

With that in mind, our goal is to gather as much info as we can on as many teams’ robots as we can this year, to hopefully lend a hand to everyone scouting at the later events this year (e.g. championship) as well as for historical records. As far as I know (please correct me if I’m wrong!) there’s no real central place to get extensive robot info for past or current years, so hopefully with everyone’s help we can try to fill that niche!

So here’s our challenge: If every team can input their and one other team’s robot info (even partially!), we could cut down the number of people who’d have to help to make this possible by about half! So with some serious FIRST crowdsourcing, we might just be able to have complete historical records for 2011! Let’s try to make that happen! Oh yeah, and tell your friends! :slight_smile:

On to the “how”…

It’s essentially wiki-style and super easy to fill out, with a number of fields that are more or less self-explanatory. So, if you want to lend a hand, try to fill in or correct any info for teams that you can. Anything can be left blank if unknown, so there’s no pressure to fill anything out that you’re unsure of. It also works great on mobile devices, so if you’re feeling ambitious, you can even pitch in from the pits over a mobile connection!

Anyway, we attempted to gather the basic info for (almost) all the teams at the Colorado regional as an example, which can be seen here by clicking on an “Info” link for a team under the “Attending” category:

Or, for a more specific example, you can see the info on team #1986’s robot here:

Now, contributing is pretty simple. Browse to one of the Robot Info pages for a team (either directly from the URL, team page, or by clicking through from an event page, whatever floats your boat). Then, click the “Edit” link which brings you to an easy to use Editing page. Simply fill in whatever you can, and hit the “Submit” button. Pretty simple! Making an account even stops you from having to fill in a CAPTCHA for each edit

(Slight side note: you can also submit URLs to YouTube videos that show that robot (or team, potentially). It’s a bit boring now, but we’re planning on doing a lot more with this in the future, so feel free to add away.)

Obviously we’re going to be missing some helpful or interesting fields, so give a shout out if you’d like to see something that isn’t there already - we love suggestions of any variety! Just one caveat: we’re trying to keep it objective, so “how well did robot XXX perform on a scale of 1 to 10” probably won’t work.

Anyway, if you want to accept out challenge, head on over to http://frcdb.net/ and post away! Thanks a ton for any help you can give! You’re of course free to enter data on as many teams as you want! But we’re trying to make this a feasible requests for most people out there, so there’s no pressure to do more than you’re comfortable with.

Now, I feel this should go without saying, especially in the FIRST community, but right now we’re hoping not to have issues with people purposefully putting in incorrect data, spamming, or anything to that extent. Obviously that won’t stop the spambots, and we have protection in place for these problems, but I’d really love not to have to make it any more difficult for people to input correct data. But, as I said, I really don’t think we’ll have a problem with this, and it’s not expected to be an issue.

Some other odds and ends:

News and other info so far:

  • Stats on the number of pages filled out can be found here: http://pastebin.com/agvjMJRq
  • Anonymous edits are allowed! You’ll have to fill out a CAPTCHA if you don’t have an account, though.
  • There’s been lots of errors. If you come across one, please follow the directions on the new error page and post in the bug tracker, or even post what you were doing here (or PM me, whatever). Thanks!
  • Related to above, I’ve fixed tons of error-causing bugs, so things should be running much more smoothly!

For anyone really, really ambitious who’d like to help out a ton more: We’re always looking for some help with development! Some things we’d love help with:

  • Web design - we’re tossing around the idea of a redesign, and we’d love to have someone from the FIRST community help design the new frcdb!
  • Ideas - We really, really like cool ideas for what we can do with all this crazy data. Seriously.
  • Code - Mostly Java based, and HTML/JS. Sort of scary and beast-like, however.

Thanks guys! Here’s to hoping we can make something awesome together!

(Gosh, this post sure did get long :p)


I haven’t messed around with it too much, but at a glance, some critiques:

  • There is no distinction between the teams that win and lose in the finals in the overview of the team (where it says “Progressed to”).
  • There are duplicate event entries on the team page for 2011 games.
  • You are not logged in upon account creation. It’s a one time thing, and I’m probably too picky :rolleyes:, but it confused and bugged me for a bit.
  • I’m not sure about the intent of the robot pages. I assume the information should be updated from event to event as the robot is developed, so all older information should be overridden.
  • Should there be a distinction between starting configuration and maximum extended dimensions? Maybe separate fields.
  • Units of measurement aren’t allowable for the robot specs, only viewable in small font at the bottom of the robot page.
  • I found it strange that videos are the only allowable multimedia. Could pictures be added too?
  • The video URL isn’t a hyperlink on the page. For those of us that are lazy… :rolleyes:

Overall, I like it a lot! It’s really intuitive to use. I’ll definitely show it to our scouting team.

So if I understand correctly, this is basically TBA except about the robot itself instead of the record? If so, that sounds like a great idea. Not only does it help scouting hugely, but it can also provide help to future team members who want to know what we did in X year (unfortunately, documentation hasn’t been our strong suit).

Some problems I have with the DB:

On the Breakaway tab, it has wrong CMP info for our team. Very, very minor annoyance.

My biggest problem: Either the edit button doesn’t exist, or it’s in some weird place that I can’t find.

Once you log in (which registering does not automatically do), the edit button appears both at the top and at the bottom of the robot info page.

Is it possible to customize the OPR pie charts to display X number of teams? Is it possible to have an all-time list (every team?) across all regionals? I think those would be major improvements, since navigation from one team to another has intermediate steps in between (search page, competition page, etc.)

You need to make an account and login before you can edit - essentially so you don’t need to fill out a CAPTCHA every time you want to go and fill in any info. Once you do, an edit link should appear on all the robot information pages, it’s hidden up until then. My apologies for not making that a bit more clear.

Some awesome points! Several of those I’ve been looking at already - videos will be thumbnails with links to the embed page soon, and with any luck I’ll figure out a way to make picture uploads happen. The reason videos have come before pictures… well, videos are just YouTube URLs which are much easier to handle :P. Duplicate entries are definitely a bug which I’ll be working on today (haven’t gotten around to it yet because it was pretty harmless, just annoying…), as well as adding more info to that section, as with auto-login after registering. That should be working, but we all know how that usually turns out :rolleyes:.

You’re correct about the robot pages, too: currently the plan is to keep the final info about the robot, and that should probably be a little more clear. If there’s anyone who’d like to see us go about that in another way, I’d love to hear suggestions. It would be cool to see how the robot develops throughout the season, but that could be tricky to make happen without proper planning. I’ll look more into being able to specify units as well, at the time it seemed like an obvious choice but there’s definitely some good reasons to support different units.

Max extended size would also be pretty cool, and could be really helpful for robots that would extend horizontally for defensive purposes - I saw one at CO and it sort of blew my mind, and currently we don’t really have a way to show that.

Some other fields that are being mulled over:

  • Programming language used (fun stats here?)
  • Can the bot pick up tubes off the ground?
  • Max extended dimensions
  • insert creative field ideas here…

I’ll also be taking a look at the global OPR charts, too - comparing them could be interesting, and I’ve been thinking up an OPR-based replacement for BBQ/Sauce for a little while now which could help out as well. I’ll see what I can do, because there’s definitely some more interesting things we can do with an awesome stat like OPR!

Anyway, thanks for the interest! I’ll be working on the suggestions soon!

(Sorry for anything redundant, I was writing this post while others happened)

Random update: Looks like the database server decided to bite it during the night, we’ve been getting more traffic than usual and still need to iron out some problems :stuck_out_tongue: It’s fine now, though.

Another random update: Wow! We’ve already gotten around 163 info pages in 12 hours! Keep up the awesome work guys! :smiley:

Just a quick update - we’ve fixed a lot of errors and started anonymous editing to make editing easier for everyone. Hopefully we can keep the information coming! :slight_smile:

Thanks again everyone, we’re making some great progress!