Battlebots an Newsweek

Posted by s_alaniz at 05/22/2001 1:14 AM EST

Other on team #57 from Houston Regional co-ordinator.

The May 28th issue of Newsweek has an article about Battlebots and
mentions Battlebots IQ along with an unflattering paragraph on Dean.
Pick up a copy or log on to this site
http://www.msnbc.com/news/575871.asp

Posted by Angela Hall at 05/22/2001 8:39 AM EST

Student on team #180, SPAM Robotics, from Martin County High School and UTC/Pratt&Whitney .

In Reply to: Battlebots an Newsweek
Posted by s_alaniz on 05/22/2001 1:14 AM EST:

That one paragraph of the story seems to simply be a nice way of punching FIRST and Dean in the face. Ok, so maybe Battlebots people think Dean’s being unfair. Everyone can be at times. There’s no need to put down FIRST. Dean just wants us high schooler’s not to be exposed to the violence that Battlebots shows daily. I guess that’s something Woody would be likely to agree with when he says that FIRST “is all about the good stuff [he] sees in today’s teenagers” and not the bad, the violence, out there in today’s society. Why destroy the good that FIRST has brought about with violence? Doesn’t make sense to me. - Angela

P.S.I must say that I would get involved if there was a Battlebots team started near me that was all high schoolers, but I think there is no need for FIRST and Battlebots to enter one another’s worlds.

Posted by Tom Fennell at 05/22/2001 8:19 PM EST

Student on team #112, Gear Grinders, from Buffalo Grove High School and Motorola.

In Reply to: Re: Battlebots an Newsweek
Posted by Angela Hall on 05/22/2001 8:39 AM EST:

Not to brew up a huge debate, but pitting to remote-controlled machines against one another appears to be more-closely linked to destruction, as opposed to the concept of violence, which carries a strong connotation of human against human bloodshed, crime, etc. Personally, I believe there isn’t too much wrong with a BattleBots concept, other than the fact I feel first is wrongfully overshadowed(and that is based on FIRST’s purpose versus that of BattleBots). Just a few thoughts, because it seems like many speak of BattleBots as though it is hurting someone, or putting someone at risk or causing some kind of damage to something becides a machine which is created for that sole purpose. There’s my 2¢. But I’ve been wrong before.

             -Tom, Team 112 (Gear Grinders)

Posted by Justin at 05/22/2001 11:44 AM EST

Alumni on team #146, Blue Lightning, from none and The Blue Lightning Alumni Association.

In Reply to: Battlebots an Newsweek
Posted by s_alaniz on 05/22/2001 1:14 AM EST:

: The May 28th issue of Newsweek has an article about Battlebots and
: mentions Battlebots IQ along with an unflattering paragraph on Dean.
: Pick up a copy or log on to this site
: http://www.msnbc.com/news/575871.asp

Posted by Matt Leese at 05/22/2001 12:07 PM EST

College Student on team #73, Tigerbolt, from Edison Technical HS and Alstom & Fiber Technologies & RIT.

In Reply to: Battlebots an Newsweek
Posted by s_alaniz on 05/22/2001 1:14 AM EST:

The paragraph didn’t come off TOO unflattering in my opinion but that wasn’t what I was going to talk about. Does anyone know the level of truthfulness to the statement that Dean asks FIRST suppliers not to supply to Battlebots? As far as I know, InnovationFIRST used to sell controllers for the Battlebots competition and then mostly stopped (at least the web page about it was taken down) but I’ve also been told that Battlebots in general is moving to the InnovationFIRST control system. Anyone want to enlighten me here?

Matt

Posted by Justin at 05/22/2001 12:44 PM EST

Alumni on team #146, Blue Lightning, from none and The Blue Lightning Alumni Association.

In Reply to: Re: Battlebots an Newsweek
Posted by Matt Leese on 05/22/2001 12:07 PM EST:

Matt,

Well the link below is @ least one team using the InovationFIRST controllers. I doubt that if u call up InnovationFIRST they’d refuse to sell you one. For all they know you are a FIRST team. I don’t really have any real information on the situation though. But if I ever build a Battlebot you can rest assured I’d scour through old FIRST Bots to get an InnovationFIRST control system :wink:

-Justin

Posted by Matt Leese at 05/22/2001 4:23 PM EST

College Student on team #73, Tigerbolt, from Edison Technical HS and Alstom & Fiber Technologies & RIT.

In Reply to: Re: Battlebots an Newsweek
Posted by Justin on 05/22/2001 12:44 PM EST:

The controllers InnovationFIRST sold for Battlebots were 24-volt as opposed to 12-volt that is used in FIRST. So they weren’t exactly the same.

Matt

Posted by Jessica Boucher at 05/23/2001 7:53 AM EST

Student on team #237, Sie-H2O-Bots, from Watertown High School and Eastern Awning Systems & The Siemon Company.

In Reply to: Battlebots an Newsweek
Posted by s_alaniz on 05/22/2001 1:14 AM EST:

After some digging, we found the author’s email.

All opinions about the article go to the author, Brad Stone at [email protected]

All “letters to the editor” to be printed in Newsweek go to [email protected]

-Jessica B

Posted by colleen - T190 at 05/23/2001 3:29 PM EST

Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science and WPI.

In Reply to: Battlebots an Newsweek
Posted by s_alaniz on 05/22/2001 1:14 AM EST:

FIRST
BattleBots (and BB IQ)
Robot Wars
Junkyard Wars
etc
etc
etc

They all have the same goal in mind: teaching people to flex the right muscle-- the brain.

Basketball, football, hockey, track&field, field hockey, soccer, softball, etc, etc, etc… they are just as much ‘in competition’ as FIRST is with the likes of the these other robotics competitions…

And do you want to know what-- it’s no big deal!! there’s room enough in the world for all those sports… just as there is room enough for all robotic competitions… and there isn’t an ‘issue’ over it unless someone makes it… unless someone tells companies not to sell to battlebot folks… unless… unless…

You don’t see the coaches of the NBA going around telling their uniform suppliers not to sell to NFL teams cause, well, their game is ‘just too rough for our liking’ and because Superbowl season cuts into basketball’s airtime…

No one would think of it… and why should we? Different people like the different competitions for their uniqueness… because they have particular tastes, and they don’t get bored cause they have the right to choose which they watch… and as long as the games are played there will be fans in the stands… there will be little kids running around wanting to “be like mike” etc etc…

So congrats to the people in Plymouth North and Mr.B… for knowing the velocity of that radio as it flies… for building the 'bot… etc etc… congratulations to them for making the point i think everyone needs to wake up to: it’s not the means to the end that matters, it is the end itself that counts for something. In the end, those kids will be just as educated in robotics as any of us. They will be just as ‘inspired’ and have as much ‘recognition’ of science and technology as anyone in FIRST will…

They just play football & hockey while we play golf. That’s all…

And as the great Mr.B once said back in 1996… “These robots are just 3-dimensional, physical metaphors of what we are actually trying to accomplish” think about it.

So any author or editor notes from me would go to the tune of “thank you for helping to get robotic sports more attention by mass media.”

–colleen

Posted by Ken Patton at 05/23/2001 5:43 PM EST

Engineer on team #65, The Huskie Brigade, from Pontiac Northern High School and GM Powertrain.

In Reply to: Don’t see a problem…
Posted by colleen - T190 on 05/23/2001 3:29 PM EST:

I think you make the right point Colleen. Its only when people try to take something away from the other guy that makes it an issue.

In fact I’m surprised to hear that Dean would try to talk someone out of helping Battlebots. It goes against what we know about him - he’s the guy thats trying to get us to like 4 on 0 matches, after all! I’m not sure I beleive that part of the article…

I’d think that a few letters to Newsweek along the lines of “wow, its great to see you recognizing robot sports - I was at the FIRST Nationals this year, and it was awesome because …” would be productive for us FIRST fans.

Ken

Posted by Jessica Boucher at 05/23/2001 6:36 PM EST

Student on team #237, Sie-H2O-Bots, from Watertown High School and Eastern Awning Systems & The Siemon Company.

In Reply to: right on
Posted by Ken Patton on 05/23/2001 5:43 PM EST:

: I’d think that a few letters to Newsweek along the lines of “wow, its great to see you recognizing robot sports - I was at the FIRST Nationals this year, and it was awesome because …” would be productive for us FIRST fans.

…I dug up those emails…'cause no matter how you feel about the issue, its good to voice it to them.

-Jessica B

Posted by mike oleary at 05/23/2001 9:47 PM EST

Engineer on team #419, rambots, from bc high and…oh wait just bc high and hmmm…sponsors…thats a good idea.

In Reply to: Don’t see a problem…
Posted by colleen - T190 on 05/23/2001 3:29 PM EST:

: FIRST
: BattleBots (and BB IQ)
: Robot Wars
: Junkyard Wars
: etc
: etc
: etc

: They all have the same goal in mind: teaching people to flex the right muscle-- the brain.

: Basketball, football, hockey, track&field, field hockey, soccer, softball, etc, etc, etc… they are just as much ‘in competition’ as FIRST is with the likes of the these other robotics competitions…

: And do you want to know what-- it’s no big deal!! there’s room enough in the world for all those sports… just as there is room enough for all robotic competitions… and there isn’t an ‘issue’ over it unless someone makes it… unless someone tells companies not to sell to battlebot folks… unless… unless…

: You don’t see the coaches of the NBA going around telling their uniform suppliers not to sell to NFL teams cause, well, their game is ‘just too rough for our liking’ and because Superbowl season cuts into basketball’s airtime…

: No one would think of it… and why should we? Different people like the different competitions for their uniqueness… because they have particular tastes, and they don’t get bored cause they have the right to choose which they watch… and as long as the games are played there will be fans in the stands… there will be little kids running around wanting to “be like mike” etc etc…

: So congrats to the people in Plymouth North and Mr.B… for knowing the velocity of that radio as it flies… for building the 'bot… etc etc… congratulations to them for making the point i think everyone needs to wake up to: it’s not the means to the end that matters, it is the end itself that counts for something. In the end, those kids will be just as educated in robotics as any of us. They will be just as ‘inspired’ and have as much ‘recognition’ of science and technology as anyone in FIRST will…

: They just play football & hockey while we play golf. That’s all…

: And as the great Mr.B once said back in 1996… “These robots are just 3-dimensional, physical metaphors of what we are actually trying to accomplish” think about it.

: So any author or editor notes from me would go to the tune of “thank you for helping to get robotic sports more attention by mass media.”

: --colleen

Posted by s_alaniz at 05/24/2001 12:42 AM EST

Other on team #57 from Houston Regional co-ordinator.

In Reply to: Don’t see a problem…
Posted by colleen - T190 on 05/23/2001 3:29 PM EST:

Um… Coleen… How likely is it… for a man who touts “Gracious professionalism” to have asked other people to boycott someone else’s event? The point here is NOT whether I like battlebots or not, but that NEWSWEEK accused Dean of underhanded dealings without asking him if there is any truth to that assurtion… now that it’s appeared in print in this way… people will assume… as you obviously have… that it’s gospel. They should ASK DEAN not quote some annoymous source…
(As a writer… albeit for a comic strip… I make SURE… real SURE the quotes or facts I attribute are accurate… the moral is, if you want the truth, read the comics.)

FURTHERMORE!!! Battlebots is NOT …repeat is NOT teaching people to flex ANY muscles… make no mistake… they’re in it for the $$$$… Their charter is to provide the arena… a venue …and you bring your robot… built at your expense… so they can make money off your participation in the event… The lucky few that are televised are paid, it doesn’t cover their expenses, but is that the point here?
FIRST is non-profit and also not trying to teach but give the experience of the engineering process to encourage people to become engineers. Building robots is not the “end” FIRST is trying to achieve.

I’m disappointed that more people are not giving Dean the benefit of the doubt and that the difference between the competitions is so readily ignored. Maybe it’s just me, but I believe in raising the bar a bit.

S Alaniz

Posted by mike oleary at 05/24/2001 4:26 PM EST

Engineer on team #419, rambots, from bc high and…oh wait just bc high and hmmm…sponsors…thats a good idea.

In Reply to: Re: Don’t see a problem…
Posted by s_alaniz on 05/24/2001 12:42 AM EST:

i didnt believe that part of the article…i didnt think that it sounded like dean
however i think that colleen has a good point in saying that we shouldnt have so much of and us vs them attitude. not only does it come out sounding really arrogant, but how graciously professional is it?
also: you say that battle bots isnt about teaching and flexing the brain. i would dissagree. battle bots was a competition before it was a show. the show is all about the money, but the competition itself is innately about flexing the brain muscle. it may not be a non-profit organization, but can you really hold it against them if they want to make some money? and in either case, the end result is the same: they provide a forum in which people can flex their brain muscles
mike who likes first and battlebots

:
: Um… Coleen… How likely is it… for a man who touts “Gracious professionalism” to have asked other people to boycott someone else’s event? The point here is NOT whether I like battlebots or not, but that NEWSWEEK accused Dean of underhanded dealings without asking him if there is any truth to that assurtion… now that it’s appeared in print in this way… people will assume… as you obviously have… that it’s gospel. They should ASK DEAN not quote some annoymous source…
: (As a writer… albeit for a comic strip… I make SURE… real SURE the quotes or facts I attribute are accurate… the moral is, if you want the truth, read the comics.)

:
: FURTHERMORE!!! Battlebots is NOT …repeat is NOT teaching people to flex ANY muscles… make no mistake… they’re in it for the $$$$… Their charter is to provide the arena… a venue …and you bring your robot… built at your expense… so they can make money off your participation in the event… The lucky few that are televised are paid, it doesn’t cover their expenses, but is that the point here?
: FIRST is non-profit and also not trying to teach but give the experience of the engineering process to encourage people to become engineers. Building robots is not the “end” FIRST is trying to achieve.

: I’m disappointed that more people are not giving Dean the benefit of the doubt and that the difference between the competitions is so readily ignored. Maybe it’s just me, but I believe in raising the bar a bit.

: S Alaniz

Posted by s_alaniz at 05/24/2001 11:06 PM EST

Other on team #57 from Houston Regional co-ordinator.

In Reply to: Re: Don’t see a problem…
Posted by mike oleary on 05/24/2001 4:26 PM EST:

Mike,
We agree that the reporter shouldn’t have attributed that action to Dean. That part is good.
We will simply have to disagree on Battlebots. There is a lot more to say on that subject, but MY post was simply to point out the existance of BattlebotsIQ and the error in the Newsweek reporting.
Colleen, under the assumption Dean actively undermined the Battlebot teams, touted the merits of Battlebots. I simply wanted to point out that there is no evidence to support that assumption and that there are major differences between Bots and FIRST.
At this point I’ll bite my tongue and say no more about it.

Best wishes

Steve Alaniz

Posted by Joe Johnson at 05/24/2001 11:37 PM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Let’s agree to disagree.
Posted by s_alaniz on 05/24/2001 11:06 PM EST:

Steve, Mike, Et. Al.,

I thought the discussion was pretty civil and a worthy topic.

I doubt it will be the last time this comes up. And that is okay with me.

I think that the topic is very important.

FIRST and Battlebots have too many things in common for us not to consider how we should be more like them or how we should be less like them in the future.

We have remote controlled machines we (mistakenly) call robots. They have romote controlled machines they call (also mistakenly) call robots.

We have tournaments. They have tournaments.

We want to be on TV, changing the culture. They ARE on TV – impacting the culture as I type. (I know I may sound like a broken record, but I believe that in order for Dean’s vision of changing our culture to become a reality, FIRST has got to get on TV. Like it or not Battlebots has gotten itself on TV.)

We are going to have MANY discussions about the pro’s and con’s of Battlebots and of FIRST in the coming days. This is a healthy thing in my opinion.

Joe J.

Posted by Joe Johnson at 05/24/2001 11:44 PM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: I liked the discussion…
Posted by Joe Johnson on 05/24/2001 11:37 PM EST:

Before I take a lot of heat for saying the I believe we are mistaken in our use of the word “robot” in reference to the remote controlled machines we use to compete in FIRST, I thought I should go to webster.com and get the definition for us all

ro·bot : noun
Etymology: Czech, from robota compulsory labor; akin to Old High German arabeit trouble, Latin orbus orphaned – more at ORPHAN
Date: 1923

1 a : a machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (as walking or talking) of a human being; also : a similar but fictional machine whose lack of capacity for human emotions is often emphasized b : an efficient insensitive person who functions automatically

2 : a device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks

3 : a mechanism guided by automatic controls

The only one the comes close is #3 and that is a stretch imho.

Comments and criticisms welcome.

Joe J.

Posted by Andy Baker at 05/25/2001 9:31 AM EST

Engineer on team #45, TechnoKats, from Kokomo High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Robot Definition
Posted by Joe Johnson on 05/24/2001 11:44 PM EST:

: 2 : a device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks

: 3 : a mechanism guided by automatic controls

: The only one the comes close is #3 and that is a stretch imho.

Joe, I agree that our robots are outside of the above definitions… but “robot” is sure a sexy name for a remote control machine… I think that we should stick with it.

In industry, we refer to robots as the turnkey machines that have 1-5 axii of motion and get integrated within assembly lines or assembly cells. The robot is simply the mechanism that moves the “head” or “end actuator” around in order to do it’s job repeatedly.

Often, we have automatic “fixtures” that have 1 or 2 simple devices (pneumatic or electrically actuated) that may clamp or hold a part… we would not call these fixtures “robots”, but they do adhere to definitions #2 and #3 above.

I looks to me like the “robot” definition needs to be updated.

Andy B.

Posted by Joe Johnson at 05/25/2001 11:01 AM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Industrial Robot Definition
Posted by Andy Baker on 05/25/2001 9:31 AM EST:

Andy,

I am not really advocating that we drop the term robot from our FIRST vocabulary.

My only point was… …well okay, now that I think about it, I didn’t really HAVE a point, but I sometimes get a little persnickety* about words and such and I guess that last night was one of those times :wink:

Joe J.
“Robot” Designer

*per·snick·e·ty : adjective

Etymology: alteration of pernickety
Date: circa 1905

1 a : fussy about small details : FASTIDIOUS b : having the characteristics of a snob

2 : requiring great precision

Posted by ChrisH at 05/25/2001 11:18 AM EST

Engineer on team #330, Beach 'Bots, from Hope Chapel Academy and NASA JPL, J & F Machine, Raytheon, et al.

In Reply to: Sticking with robot term…
Posted by Joe Johnson on 05/25/2001 11:01 AM EST:

Most non-technical people I deal with understand the term robots as we use it. I think they are more what our NASA sponsor calls tele-operated machines. But try using that one on a six year old. Even most adults don’t understand it. So I only drag that one out with people who ask how we program such complex functions.

In this respect LegoLeague is ahead of us. I think those machines will meet anyones definition of “robot”

just my $0.02

Chris Husmann, PE
Team 330 the BeachBots