[FTC]: Please Don't Post Pictures

Please don’t post pictures of other teams robots. If you want to post pictures of you own team’s robot for comments or to help other teams, that is great.

Early in the season at the first FTC events, there are many varieties of robots showing much creativity. By Worlds, it seams to me that there are many copies of a very few robots. In FRC the robots are shipped after six weeks, so there are many varied and creative robots.

When pictures are posted teams can copy other successful robots rather than update their own. Much learning is lost.

I realize that FIRST has the right to post pictures obtained at their events.

I totally disagree with what you are trying to get people to do, the way I interpret what you are saying is “we think our robot is the best and don’t want anyone to copy us” Please remember that the “I” in FIRST stands for INSPIRATION.

The fundamental way that people learn and advance in by looking at what others have done before them. It would have been impossible throughout the years for car makers to advance without seeing what the competition was doing. It is this competitive nature which fuels creativity.

While if your robot design is earth shattering there will very likely be copies of it at the championship, I would look at this as an opportunity to improve your design or stratigise how to beat your self by then. In FIRST and in life there will almost always be someone better then you and if you are fortunate enough to be at the top you will always need to keep pushing forward as if you don’t others will over take your position.

And remember imitation is the sincerest type of flattery.

I could not remember a prouder moment of my FIRST career then when a semi-clone of our vex robot beat us, after the team had come to a previous competition with a differant design, and admired ours. There is no better feeling then having made someone go “oh wow,” and then improved upon what you have done. You do not need to win to learn and be inspired, and you do not have to limit inspiration to your team.

And I cannot remember learning more then when trying to duplicate a incredible self correction method used in FLL, over a two year period, evnetually perfecting it, and going beyond the team’s original concept, rather than just blindly copying it.

I have NEVER seen a robot that appeared to have just been copied bolt for bolt from a picture of another robot, many that have taken a concept the team may not have had before, and developed upon it themselves.

And if we’re all learning, inspired, and happy, what else is there to do, really?

We all learn from each other here. IMHO there should be more sharing.

First off I like to congrats you guys for your win. Loved your team last year.

I think you got the wrong idea about all of this. Even if you post a photo online of a robot its very hard to copy ideas from them, and most teams don’t even try. Only teams that really want to share information do post pictures and explain how things work in order to advance the competition as a whole tend to be copied. As an example we had a team clone MAX 3 last year and it was so cool seeing what they had done with the little information they had (and showing us how we had setting the standard of the ramp bot). Was it a better robot than the original, I say it was not, but they learned something by building it. Remember not all ideas are original. Teams will make similar robots even if they have not seen each other.

Also in the nicest way I can say it as for saying don’t post photos. You brought your robot to a regional in the public so the public could see it, if the public post photos you can’t say not to (you can ask).

Look what happened to poor old 546 last year!


True, but you guys did share a lot of information and in the process set the standard for the stacker bot. Awesome job last year as well, your team deserved to be at nationals. :slight_smile:

A great example was 1075 during the offseasons. They saw 1114’s design and adapted it to something that they could build for post season event, and whoever was at BE7 saw how beastly the design was…1114’s secret twin. :stuck_out_tongue:

There is a partial view of the robot btw in this link

Sorry, but that’s just not true. In order to successfully copy a team’s design, you need to understand how it works, study it, and usually end up modifying it.

Good luck with the rest of your season and I hope that you share your knowledge with other teams who may just look up to you…

On a serious note, I got a big kick out of seeing a robot that might have been inspired by ours, in the finals at Atlanta. And also by seeing an FRC robot that I know was inspired by ours, as the robot of the Championship Chairman’s Award winners.

I don’t see the downside to letting other teams see your design. But then I’m in this to have fun and possibly inspire some kids to get into engineering type stuff.

Honestly, i would rather have these ideas shared than be kept secret. Even if you didnt post pictures that wouldnt stop people from looking up your pictures elsewhere. Also if my team went to worlds we would not copy your design despite the fact that you won yesterday, because the difference between your robot and our robot was autonomous, and discipline when setting up your robot for play. Also i personally want to see what you guys did. i never go a close look at the competition

A team at NNY saw our robot at a scrimmage, they radically changed their robot to a design very similar to ours. We saw their robot on Friday and they had made some improvements. You can bet we’re going to look at implementing those ideas ourself.

Look, it’s still a competition and we all still want to win it. Teams can make their own choice and ask for pictures not to be posted, but once you take it to a regional the design is pretty much out there. Individual teams can do what they want and we should respect their wishes.

Agreed, we should be gracious in this and then the team can decide if they want to post. If you look last year, I can’t remember seeing a site with photos of MAX 4 except our own website and the posts I made (notably after our first regional, when it went public).

I think getting your teams name out there is far more important then hiding your design. Also that can be completely reversed by being awesome and hiding your robot (example: what simbotics did last year :P. It worked great too.)

While I am all for sharing ideas, I have to agree with jbbjjbt. There are too many incidents of people copying ideas in FTC, and last year was probably the worse.

I am here to help people and give them any advice that I possibly can, but I do not want to give them any good design(s). We are also trying to win.

It’s not about winning, it’s about learning.

Be it FLL, FTC or FRC, the goal is to get the students interested in pursing a technical career. Chief Delphi is the place for them to share this interest with other like minded students. The network they build here, will help achieve these goals. IMHO keeping your group out of the community, makes your job harder. Share, be flattered and build a better bot. Your team will be better for it.

Agreed. It’s all about learning and I have learned a lot by watching other robots and figuring out how they work, but it hinders learning and frustrates the team when you build a robot, compete, then find that someone has taken your design.

Honestly, I don’t think people actually learned by seeing 546’s design. They went OH, nice idea, I think i’ll take that.

Apparenltly they learned how to make it work a lot better during a competition, than we could…

In our case, it certainly struck our team as a bigtime compliment, and proved to us that we had learned a lot.

I find that the two areas of design; Having the “Big Idea,” and little engineering-ish things to optimise the “Big Idea,” are learned in two different ways. You get better at coming up with general concepts the more you see general concepts. I have NEVER had a good idea that wasn’t many, many other ideas put together, and usually not all of them were mine originally. And the more ideas you know about, the more likely you are to mix and match them into something great.

The “Fine Engineering” is learned best from doing it. And taking a general concept, with a clear bar set to match or exceed, is great. As I said earlier, there would be a problem with a team simply working from CAD drawings done by another team, but if they have to figure out how the team did it themselves, sometimes being wrong, and sometimes coming up with ways to improve upon it, then this is great experience. I don’t think anyone has ever posted enough pictures of a robot that a team could realistically just blindly re-create another robot, part for part.

One other thing to consider: When you get down to it, there had to have been a SINGLE PERSON on 546 who said: “Hey, lets do it this way!” How is another team going “Hey, that sounds great” different than the rest of 546’s members saying the same thing, if you are working to inspire the community, rather than just your team? (Especially if, as TheOtherGuy says below, the other teams go “Sounds great, but we could change X, Y, and Z and make it even better!”)

Students and mentors see these things differently, as a rule. I’ve been at this for five seasons now, and I can honestly say that I rarely see a robot approach that wasn’t considered and discussed during game analysis and prototyping. I had a terrific experience at the Vancouver VRC tournament yesterday, where one robot went 6-0 in Qualifications, followed by at least 11 robots with 4-2 records.

I had a chance to closely study VRC 721, which was the 6-0 bot and the winner of the tournaments “Excellence” award. The special thing about their robot is that there was nothing special about it. It was a good, solid, state-of-the-art Vex robot with clean engineering and smart features, but any team could have built it, and it looked more-or-less like 20 other robots at the competition. What set them apart was driving and execution. The details on their robot were clean and well-done, and their driving was flawless all day. They had a perfect strategy, and drove it just right. Seeing their robot and copying would not have resulted in a champion, but emulating their teamwork and strategy might.

Most of the time when a team thinks they have some cool engineering feature or unbeatable robot, they are wrong. When they have a good robot and a perfectly complementary strategy, they are far more likely to win. I sometimes think the best predictor of a successful robot is the number of practice matches the drive team got to run on a full field before the tournament.

For what it’s worth, I think 721 won using a great early-season strategy. We think the winners at the world championship will look different and be following a different strategy. Given 721’s record, I suspect they’ll build that robot and be driving the new way. So will our teams. :slight_smile:

That’s almost exactly how it went down :wink: . And it wasn’t just that one person who came up with every fine detail of the design as shown to the rest of the FTC community. The general idea was changed many times before it worked up to our standards, and even then it could have been improved, as proven by every other design iteration. We’re quite glad we showed our robot the way we did last year; it wasn’t as easy as it sounds to copy even a general idea, and, quite honestly, we would have lost to every single robot that built on our design. It wasn’t just “copied”.

Teamwork should extend beyond your team. “Open sourcing” a design, as we call it, does just that (providing you don’t give out detailed instructions on how to build it… I mean, let’s be reasonable here :rolleyes: )

I couldn’t agree more. The robot built by 1771 last year was, IMHO, one of the most capable robots built in 2008 (it won the Delphi award at Peachtree, and the Xerox award at Championships) But, delays in construction meant that parts were still being bolted on the robot as it was being loaded up for shipment, so no practice, no time to debug (except between matches) and no time for the software team to write any kind of autonomous. So, even though it had some very cool features, and was real crowd pleaser, it didn’t end up with the stellar record it could have.

If someone had seen pictures early on, and had taken the idea, fleshed it out, and made a killer, I think most of the team would have been flattered and pleased to see the idea pan out. 90% of innovation is inspiration.

Isaac Newton, quoting an obscure Frenchman, likened progress to “dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants.” I don’t know about anyone else, but I would be proud to be part of that stack of dwarves and giants. Heck, this whole thing is just too much fun to worry about someone stealing an idea, I just hope they learn and have a blast doing it!