FIRST Robotics Wish List

The annual FIRST Forum meetings are coming up on August 1st, where FIRST staffers listen to the teams’ input.

FIRST has been doing this every year for the past 4 or 5 years and they really try to accommodate the needs of teams.

Just this past year, these things were requested at the Forums and FIRST implemented them in the 2002 game:

  1. We requested them to let us design our own electrical hardware - they let us use $100 of stuff from Digikey.
  2. We requested that they let us use any gears and sprockets… they did this.
  3. We asked them to let us know who we will be allied with ahead of time, letting us plan match strategy in a reasonable amount of time instead of hustling through it right before the match - they did this.

Anyway… what I am trying to say is that FIRST does listen. Sure, they cannot grant all of our wishes, and some of their decisions are not popular, but they do try to make us happy as teams.

So, with that said…

What do you wish for?

Let’s keep this thread to brainstorming ideas, not debates. If you want to debate these issues, start a different thread. So, think of any reasonable suggestion or any outlandish idea and keep this thread going until Aug. 1st.

Let’s get thinkin’,
Andy B.

I’ll start:

Let teams use any shape of steel channel, angle, or shape. This would let designers use steel much like they currently use aluminum extrusions.

The reason for this is that some teams have access to steel shapes which are free to them.

For example, team 410 had to remove their entire ball collection system at the LA Regional last year because their main support structure was a steel C-channel. This form of steel was not legal in the FIRST rules, since it wasn’t on the additional materials list nor was it in SPI.

Andy B.

First and foremost, a game that is the same in the qualifying rounds and the finals. Like 2000. Actually 2001 had that feature too, but it was a performance not a game. This year’s game could have been there with a few minor mods.

I like the idea of “strategic disengagement” encouraged by the end zone scoring. I’d push it further and require a robot to be touching the ground ONLY in the end zone to score. This would eliminate the entanglement controversy.

I like the robot rules the way they are. We do need to come up with an alternative to the SPI catalog if they’re not participating next year.

Some different kinds of actuators and sensors would be nice.

The only thing I really want to add is commercial springs. Spring design and manufacture is beyond me and do-it-yourself springs can be dangerous. But commercial springs are OK as long as used within their limits. If we could use any commercial spring, then there would be less temptation to use an inadequate spring. Every tried to make a compression spring with surgical tubing?

I think we had a couple of problems with the shipping, but they were schedule driven, ie back to back regionals. Hopefully it won’t be an issue next year.

Closing ceremonies need to be shorter, or at least keep to schedule. Of course, at least this year there was no “problem” filler material :smiley:

Dump the FRCTECH group, it just caused more confusion. Mostly because decisions tended to be effectively reversed when “clarified”. The Team Updates need to be the definitive document for clarification. I will say that it was a worthy attempt to solve a difficult problem, I just think it didn’t work as well in practice as it needed to. One of the big problems was certain people (often rookies, but not always) asking the same question repeatedly in different ways, seemingly hoping for a different answer. (What part of NO did you not understand?)

Tech inspectors need to come from the teams. Preferably they should be experienced people from teams not competing at the event. (Hi Andy!) We might want to consider different inspection teams for different aspects of the robot. An electrical inspection to verify the wiring is right, mechanical to verify the motors and actuators are OK, and materials to verify that all materials used are legal. While the judges we had tried hard, there are too many subtle ways to violate the rules and get away with it. Volunteers from outside the team community are just not familiar enough with the rules. I know of one team that passed using a van door motor.:rolleyes:

I’m sure I, or my team will think of more later. I’m planning to be at the San Jose forum.


*Originally posted by ChrisH *
**Dump the FRCTECH group, it just caused more confusion. Mostly because decisions tended to be effectively reversed when “clarified”. The Team Updates need to be the definitive document for clarification. I will say that it was a worthy attempt to solve a difficult problem, I just think it didn’t work as well in practice as it needed to. One of the big problems was certain people (often rookies, but not always) asking the same question repeatedly in different ways, seemingly hoping for a different answer. (What part of NO did you not understand?)

One thing I can safely say is that a different way of doing this is already in the works…I don’t know all the details as of yet, but a VERY reliable source suggested that a setup similar to this site may be used…

More steel shapes sounds good.

I think RC servos should be on the additional hardware list. Perhaps anything up to some max torque (the higher the better). These are widely available to anybody through a hobby store or catalog. They could replace alot of heavy, dificult to manufacture assemblies for minor actuation tasks (releasing latches, pulling pins etc.)

I would also like to see more pneumatics choices. More cylinders, valves and acumulators. If the sponsors don’t wish to provide them, we will pay for them. Cylinders are, in general, much lighter and cheaper and easier to use in a design than an equivalent motor and gearbox system to convert rotary to linear motion. Incorporating air cylinders to do a job very often requires very few if any machined parts. The same cannot be said for adapting and electric motor to do the same task. Give us the choice of some small light acumulators or some heavier but higher capacity acumulators. I would gladly trade a couple extra pounds of accumulator if I could get that pump off board.

Bottom line, give us more component choices that readily adapt to our needs without alot of machining required. This helps everybody but most of all it helps the teams that don’t have good manufacturing resources.

James Jones
Team 180 SPAM

I would definitly love to see a wider choice of pneimatic pasrt to choose from. It would also be great to see the rules not restrict us on the amount of air storage. I seen teams who used a spare piston for storage where it would be much easier if we could get another tank in the kit. This would reduce the strain on the compressor without changing the maximum air pressure alowed to exceed 60psi.
Another universal mode of frustration is the carpet on the feild. If FIRST sticks with a carpet this year than the pile should be unchanged at every competition. Not just the pile but more the understucture, because my team’s bot had a very low ground clearance and worked perfectly on the carpet at every competition except our regional where it draged. This was because there was two layers of carpet instead of one so the bot sunk into the floor.
But i think that the one change that would cure many problems is to ditch the carpet altogether. that would be grate! maybe aluminum sections would be a better surface for the bots and good to ship and put together.

they should have every team implement some kind of recycle part in their robot.

*Originally posted by Renzorocks *
**they should have every team implement some kind of recycle part in their robot. **

Care to explain what you mean?

Ok I think FIRST should bring back the 2 coach rule with this change

FIRST should make the 2nd coach optional, but if a team has a 2nd coach it must be a HS or College Student…They may not be doing as much as the primary coach, but it gives them an idea what the student needs to do on the field, and maybe in the future they will have some field expierence that if the student stays with FIRST as an adult they have field expierence…

I dont know, im sure this could be worded better

I’ve always wanted this since i’ve been in FIRST…but now with the new motors i’de really like to see the weight limit bumped up to 150lbs…or even better yet…just have teams remove the battery when they weigh the robot during inspections.

I would like to see Autonmous aspects of the game added (I.E. having to let the robot go somewhere where we couldnt see it and have it locate the somthing or so somthing), get us closer to a smarter robot than a smarter driver. Of course this would require better sensors.

I too would like to see bigger acumilators, but i like the pump. Maybe up the operating pressure.

I also would like to see the feild not be flat. Maybe somthing that would require a suspension system on your robot. That would probably entail a new surface for the feild too. After everyone figured out the filecard thing maybe its time to stop with the carpet?

I dont know what I think about the weight limit and/or size limits. If anything maybe somthing smaller would increase our creativity. I think it is good where it is at.

Somthing that might be also be interesting to see is somthing like the minibots we saw this year for tethers but make them wireless to maybe go retrieve somthing

more pneumatics options. our team wanted to use FESTO pneumatics (they give us discounted stuff if we ask for it, as well as technical assistance) but couldn’t because of the “bimba only rule” :frowning:

I mentioned before in a different thread an idea similar to what Andrew said. Have the robot run on program code only and let it move for 20 or 30 seconds before the driver’s controls are enabled. This would require a lot more programming and would open many new strategies.

Also FIRST has to stick to their own rules once they are made (I’m still mad about tape meassures, but this was discussed enough by now I guess).

Putting the weight limit up to 150lbs sounds good to me.

Also: I’m not sure about meassurements. More and more teams are sponsored by companies that build robot parts in the metric system. Maybe for all allowed material there should be given a maximum value for metric and non-metric that is about equivalent; sometimes the metric value should be the advantage in maximum thickness for a part and sometimes the non-metric value. That way it is equaled out and teams could you metric parts which are often only a tiny bit wider, thicker etc.

That’s it for now, Phil

The Chairman’s video should be due after the build period, much like the animation. Having it due during the build period makes it difficult for team members to work on both the Chairman’s entry and the robot.

I want a segway for starters lol walking throughout the FL Nationals arena is tiresome.

actualy more motor, pneumatic options and maybe just maybe a change in weight restriction to maybe 175lbs. rather then 130 lbs. the FIRST teams might be able to put something even more worth while together even though we have accomplished alot already with the rules that were given as for size restrictions keep the size the same or change them for a couple more inches in each direction

I’d love to see…

  • More lax material rules: Allow carbon fibre in composites, instead of just fibreglass, remove size limitation of starting materials, so that teams can mill their own motor mounts :slight_smile:

  • More motors: Put servos onto additional hardware list

  • More electrical freedom: Maybe allow the team to use a 24V system?

  • More wheel choice: Limit wheels by size, not by manufacturer.

Just my 2 cents :slight_smile:

-=- Terence

I would love to see a lot more variation in the match teams. This year, we had three or four matches against 219 and three or four matches paired with 551. We work closely with both these teams through the build season and openly share information and facilities with them when asked, and they do the same with us. We, and other teams, had other similar-match trends at Rutgers this year and at Philadelphia last year, but more so this year. I would have really liked to interact with more teams on the field, and I’d like to see these almost the same each time matches go away in favor of a different alliance every time.

Read other posts and some thoughts.

Steel extrusion: Sure, why not. It’s just heavier. But easier to weld then aluminum.

Same game in quals and finals: Yes.

Dump the yahoo group. Yes.

Tech inspectors. I know there are a lot of college students that don’t participate with a team for whatever reason. I bet quite a few of them would be able to donate a weekend to goto a regional and inspect and whatnot.

Pneumatics: This size cylinder with this stroke from any source.

Floor: How about using some sort of interlocking rubber tile for a change, or just staying with the carpet.

Leave the weight where it is, or lower it.

I like the idea of autonomy, but the field really isn’t all that sturdy, and having robots run selfcontained for 20 seconds…run into each other or walls at high speeds. This would have to be addressed by game design.

Metric vs Standard: One or the other, but not both.

Make chairmans award due after Nats. Maybe in October. For example, the Chairman’s award for Zone Zeal would be due this comming October. Summer tobe used for outreach and the cummlunation of that competition, in preperation for the new season.

Vertical changes for movement. Climb ladder/stairs/ramp. Prolly not a second story, for the construction involved, but maybe a few large platforms with 6"-12" in height.


What I want to know is how purifying water will fit in.....

Hello All,
I am very happy that we were allowed an electrical box this year but some teams who do not have experienced elec techs had some really dangerous outboard wiring. So the rules there need to be tightened up a bit. Also raise the $100 limit, $200 would be nice but $150 should open some doors for teams as well.
The weight and size limits are in place so two people can move the robot and get it through standard size doors. For these reasons I can’t really see a need for any change there.
Over the years there has been some really interesting interpretation of the rules that required some informed (multi person) discussion before a rule question could be answered. Experienced teams have qualified adults who could help in this area. It is essential that teams get all the latest updates and not have to go searching for them. If there are team updates, perhaps they should be e-mailed to team leaders or at least be published in weekly updates.(Fridays OK?)
There needs to be better checklists for judges particularly with electrical. i.e. A simple volt/ohmeter check to insure no shorts to chassis at inspection. There were teams who also had battery mounting that was less than secure and placed the battery terminals very close to structural metal. Since battery damage is a real threat here for a 12v/17aHr battery I really cannot advocate larger batteries. Under no circumstances should teams be allowed to power up without tether in the pits and should not be forced to by judges during inspection. (This caused a great deal of interference at regionals.)
Finally, let teams know that this is open competition and they can expect help from any team. Hammer this point home and make sure that rookie teams understand the concept. Too many teams struggle through competition with a problem they can’t solve, or don’t have the tools or matierials to fix.

How 'about making a game that is easy to learn, hard to master, and can captivate an audience?

Sure, FIRST isn’t into the Battlebots thing, but there are still ways of demolition that aren’t viloent.