A ton of top teams building the same robot

So, this season I have seen many top teams having the same exact robot.
Now, I know that at the end of the day, if you are looking for a robot that can do all things + shoot from far away, you will probably end with a similar design.

Though, I am not sure it is just coincidence, and I know some teams share ideas with each other, but it got me wondering, how have all of those teams built such a similar robot?
(If you are from those teams that built a robot like this / know why, please share why:laughing: )

Teams that come to mind with this design:
1706, 1577, 5990, 8033, 1678, 581 and manyyy more.

Also I will add some pictures for refrence:

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I think Spectrum’s open alliance post is where a lot of people first saw this type of design. During our design process, we also came up with a similar idea, but went for something we found more within our build style/resources.

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This is one of the better years for robot diversity in a while. Last year was good too.

The general avaliablity of information (OA; and from good teams at that, like Wildstang and Spectrum) really kickstarts some architectures.

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@AmitSucher you’ll never be in our secret groupchat where we decide to build the same robot!

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I agree, ban OA

/s

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@Wihy my conspiracy has been prove ! :laughing:

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We can likely trace the top/bottom wheel thing to two sources: team 95’s open alliance content, and plain old testing and iteration. By the end of week one even 1323 still hadn’t decided side/side rollers were worse, as evidenced by the CC robot WCP put out. It just took time to get there.

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haha damn

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It’s not just open Alliance. There is a lot of convergent evolution because certain things work and are optimized over other solutions.

Also once a team shows something works early in the season, teams that have the ability to pivot from a design they aren’t happy with can convert their robot to follow the designs that work. This is something that became possible in the post bag and tag era. If you compete week 3-4 and see a great week 1-2 mechanism you can possible clone it and get it on field by your event.

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Since we built our alpha robot, we’ve had a running joke on our team that the architecture looks like a chair. The launcher is the seat, amp/trap elevator is the back rest.

Once we started seeing other robots that followed that design profile, we started calling them all chair robots.

We get very excited when we see other #TeamChair robots doing well at events.

We know some teams based their robots or even rebuilt their robots based on our posts and prototypes, but some of it is just the way this game is designed pushes teams with the same design goals in the same direction.

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Looking back at it now, your build thread is amazing, not just the robot (the robot is also amazing lmao)

So I guess what happened is some people saw your thread for some purposes, like how you rate each thing, strategic design etc… (example: the “why you have to have speaker”)
and then saw the robot, got in the mind the idea, then used it as an idea for their own robot.

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“Steal from the best invent the rest”

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We got our general design from wanting to shoot directly into the amp from above, and not wanting a giant arm to move, hence an angled elevator. The shooter because of obvious reasons was there too.

After we settled on the general design we used Spectrum as a base for our design, then iterated and tested from there.

There are a ton of more nuanced reasons behind the design, but broad strokes explanation.

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#TeamChair meetup? I would be down for it!

Great minds think alike. A lot of these teams started with the same design requirements: score amp, speaker, climb, trap, go under stage, be able to shoot from distance. Then, this design paradigm is one of the best and simplest ways to do that. It has a number of advantages:

  • Amp mechanism separate from the shooter makes it easier to design the shooter for accuracy at long range (low, light, low backlash)

  • Once the amp mechanism is separate from the shooter, and especially since you want to score in the trap and amp, an elevator makes more sense than an arm.

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I can say that we were all very pleasantly surprised when citrus had a similar robot to us. While we took inspiration from OA on many of our concepts, such as the amp drainpipe that originated from 4481, our final architecture is something that I can say we landed on through iterating our layout sketch.

I feel that design convergence will be more common now not just because of OA, but also because of a top-down workflow that so many teams are adopting. It heavily incentives integrated solutions; eg having the amp mechanism also be able to do the trap. When the architecture can be so quickly sketched out, it’s much easier to make changes and play with concepts before you commit. And a lot of teams will converge onto the same 4-5 “ideal” (in terms of simplicity / effectiveness tradeoff) architectures because of that.

At the end of the day, design convergence is probably here to stay. It’s really a side product of the community resources and OA blogs that also raise the competitive floor of FRC for many teams that literally wouldn’t compete otherwise. And if you ask me, that’s a fair trade.

And just because we landed on a similar robot architecture to these teams doesn’t mean we will be able to execute it like other teams can. And so ultimately the “micro-optimization” nature of high level FRC is now just extending to more teams.

For example, our trap mechanism:
IMG_9299

Yeah, that never worked :joy:

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If the robot can’t go to the trap, the trap shall go to the robot!

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“Climbing” is all relative.

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I feel like this is one of the best architectures to play this year’s game.
If lots of bots have this architecture and can do well in shoot, amp, even trap, it clearly shows it.

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Even with OA aside, it’s bound to happen. Especially in a game like this, where there is only really one way to shoot a game piece (unless you’re 971). There’s of course still massive variety in robots, but maybe less so in shooters.

I’m a broken record about this, but this is why 2016 is my favorite game. You saw shooters, punchers, single fly wheels, double fly wheels, arms, catapults, and more.

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