Good Topic for WFA Suggested Ethics Discussions

*Let me start by stating this message is not intended to be positive or negative to the new COTS release of an elevator and claw. *

In a recent blog post, Woodie suggested teams find ways to have meaningful discussions on ethical issues. The entire group of WFA’s supports and endorses these discussions. The link is below.

I think this COTS release of an elevator and claw is a great topic for teams to discuss. It is current and relevant, and there are multiple sides and perspectives to view. Teams can discuss how far is too far, where is the line, is there a line, etc. I intend to bring the topic up tomorrow, and have a discussion next week. I look forward to learning what the students think.

I think like any COTS solution you have the choice of a likely above average widget (compared to the full spectrum of in house mechanisms) but you end up locked into that paradigm.

Is it an advantage? Maybe. Will it help you beat someone who came up with a better idea? Maybe not.

If its within the rules, I don’t see much of an issue with COTS solutions for general systems. Price could be an argument, but compared to the rest of a typical FRC machine, most aren’t too expensive. And lets be honest, while convenient, most FRC targeted COTS assemblies aren’t exactly Mars Rover tier systems as they are designed to be cost-effective solutions for our level of competitions.

I guess if you lock yourself into the limitations of a major COTS subsystem vs. trying to really out-think the game, it comes down to one question… Are ya feeling lucky?

Lots of smart people out there who might have far better ideas. You might be one of them if you think beyond the COTS.

In my years of FIRST, I have had many “Wow…okay, I wish we thought of that.” moments and really no “Wow, I wish we bought that.” moments.

**So do I. **

As a long time mentor and volunteer in FRC, I have some thought of my own on this topic. Some of those have been expressed well by others, in the thread you linked. Because that thread exists and features many views, I can keep silent during the Average Joes student discussion on this topic. Like several other teams, mine has dedicated quite a lot of prototyping and CAD hours to concepts that are similar to the Greyt ones now offered by WCP. I am very interested in how my team’s students see that offer.

This is a great quote. I look at the Andymark treads in the same way. We had an all team meeting at the beginning of the 2016 build season over whether we wanted to buy those. When we got to competition, we saw teams that just had more effective drive trains than we did and it wasn’t cause they bought the better system. It was because they thought of things we didn’t, and I had some of those moments just like you are describing.

I’d really love to hear some students’ opinions on the following questions:

  • Where do you think the line should be drawn for how much is acceptable when it comes to COTS components? Why there?

  • Do you believe giving more options to teams can improve the experiences of the teams who choose to use them given everyone is provided equal access? Why?

  • Do you believe giving more options to teams can worsen the experiences of the teams who choose not to use them provided everyone is provided equal access? Why?

  • If you believe it is a resource issue, how do you see this differing from teams who already have resources vs. those who currently do not?

  • Do you believe all teams should be given the option to be provided with a base level robot that can score points in the game a la VEX Robotics? Why or why not? If yes, how would you define the limit of base level?

  • As a student, do you feel more satisfied by making something on your own or by effectively executing an idea?

  • As a student, what are the best methods/resources you have learned from in FRC?

  • As a student, how much do you care about the actions and choices of other teams (within legal limits)? Why?

I’ll bite since I’m already procrastinating from doing my homework.

  1. I believe that people have the right to make any and all resources that they would like given the rules that FIRST has made for this competition. The line is drawn mainly by the GDC and the guys at FIRST HQ. If they really had an issue with this stuff, they would have written the rules differently a long time ago starting with that Kitbot chassis.

  2. I think this question is a bit pointed in nature given that no one would actually say “No, I think teams should have less options”. Overall, I think COTS makes it easier for veteran teams to mentor and guide rookie teams more effectively since they can have a good starting season without blowing $5000 to $10,000 on a program that their school thinks just flopped in as little as four months.

  3. Sure, it could worsen the experiences in the sense that too many choices increases the chance of someone making the wrong decision, but that’s exactly what learning and freedom is all about. I’d rather contend with the consequences of too much freedom than dealing with too little freedom. So, in short, no, it doesn’t worsen. It could limit the amount of mistakes you can make, but see response to 2 to see one consequence of making mistakes your first year around.

  4. Sometimes, I do think that resource issues are there for teams to also evaluate how to “not” overextend themselves and build a robot that can technically do everything, but not any one item specifically well. There’s a slight possibility of a team assembling all these COTS mechanisms together as solutions to their Demand, Prefer, Wish List but the knowledge isn’t yet there for them to know how or why.
    4a. Something else that just came to mind is that I do like seeing private corporations (aka veteran teams)
    going out of their way to close that disparity in resources in a manner reminiscent to a free market system.
    Rather than demanding that FIRST get involved and level the playing field, teams have taken it upon themselves to improve the community privately by creating and selling ideas in exchange for cash that can be further invested in helping more teams later on down the road.

  5. I would like to point out one thing that VEX and FIRST do very well, and it’s that they both design their games with one task that can be done at a basic level. Rather than simply provide teams with a design that can do one task, they build a game with multiple levels of strategy, and that base strategy is normally something that can be achieved with just a set of wheels. This basic task (in my opinion) should be what defines the limit of the base level, and I guess under that definition, the Greyt Lift doesn’t fully comport with this. That being said, I still like what 973 has done, and maybe that means that my definition is a tad bit flawed.

  6. I’m not strictly an engineering student. I do the marketing, writing, and speaking for 3309. However, I have heard our CAD students, programmers, and manufacturers talk about how satisfying it is to see something they designed come to fruition right in front of their eyes. I think I would attribute this to the idea in their heads then becoming reality, and the number of arduous tasks or the difficulty to get there doesn’t necessarily need to be present for learning or satisfaction to take place. You can still learn by example in that you buy a COTS item one year, then make it yourself the next year. Or, conversely, you make something yourself and realize that the COTS version achieves what you wanted originally, so you make the purchase the following year. COTS purchases do not limit learning altogether.

  7. By far, FRC teams that display high levels of skill and performance are the greatest resources in this program. I’d say a majority of the older students on 3309 study teams of previous years to the point that we can cite and discuss which mechanisms address which problems very well. Just because we didn’t invent the mechanisms ourselves doesn’t mean we aren’t engineers or innovators. I sorta view this in a similar way to how I view Apple products. No, Apple’s products aren’t usually employing some newly-discovered technology made by their R&D department, but their skillful integration of multiple inventions creates an innovative product.

  8. Well, I care only to a point. For the most part, I will care about a team’s actions when it appears that their actions yield results far more successful than my own. Therefore, I can learn from those actions. The only time I would feel the need to become actively invested in the actions of another team is when our team is asked to mentor another team. We feel responsible for the success of the teams we assist, support, mentor, etc.

From the man himself.

That is a very interesting quote in that it really highlights how complex some COTS parts and mechanisms have become. In 2007, you couldn’t buy swerve modules or Rhino track kits or Versarollers or Nanotubes. Even hex hubs weren’t really a thing. There was much more organic, team-driven design. I’m actually kind of wondering what COTS mechanisms were available at the time, because I can’t think of many besides some gearboxes and wheels - maybe someone who knows more about parts purchasing in that era can answer that question for me.

A “bolt-together” robot is still only good if the purchased mechanisms are implemented properly, and that is very important to consider. I can 100% confirm that it is possible to implement good designs in bad ways. See: 1189’s 2010 robot that used modified 221 swerve modules, and moved in less than half the matches we played that season, because we modified them in ways they weren’t meant to be modified. See also: first year swerve syndrome.

I think that these mechanisms, if implemented properly, can raise the competitive floor for teams that have financial resources but not necessarily engineering/fabrication resources, and I think that students should absolutely put effort into understanding the design. If you just bolt COTS mechanisms together and don’t try to understand how they work, I agree with what Woodie said about that not being in the spirit of FIRST. But if students buy an elevator and spend time learning exactly how it works and try to infer some of the design process from examining the completed product, they are still learning something and I think that would still be in the spirit. It’s pretty much “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. But, I still think there is more to be learned by designing and/or modifying something yourself.

I feel similarly about Ri3D, but with Ri3D you do get to watch the design process play out and hear some of what the designers are thinking when they make decisions, and that is a valuable teaching resource.

A highlight of 2007 was the launch of the first COTS mecanum wheels. The Andymark gen2 shifter was available (no cantilevered output shaft, had to run chain from between the plates), as well as the release of the banebots planetary gearboxes and associated components. Traction wheels and omniwheels in various forms were available. The IFI kitbot was a thing, I don’t think Andymark was selling any structural framing at this point. Hex shafting was a “high resource” thing, and there were no hex bearings.

Certainty, there were no full-system parts or anything resembling it that could be purchased. Gearboxes and chassis systems were the upper limit.

Also of interest: there was no one-stop place you could go to, for example, buy a full legal set of components for a pneumatic system in one shot. Things had to be piecemeal-ed together quite a bit more, even for bare-bones systems like that.

If people are interested in my views on the COTS mechanisms subject, they can be found in the other thread.

I want to take the time in this thread to thank FIRST, the WFAs, and my own team mentors for fostering a culture where the opinions of us young people are not only listened to, valued, and respected, but greatly encouraged. In other aspects of life it seems like the opinions of young people are often discredited because we lack experience, or for a variety of other reasons. I appreciate that FIRST encourages that not to be the norm.

Our goal is to have students graduate with the skills, confidence, and ability to take on a challenge and work as a team to get a result they can be proud of. I know that sounds very touchy-feely, but accomplishing that in a deep and meaningful way is tough.

This year, the team considered cots solutions, but only for about 10 seconds before rejecting it. We have done custom drivetrains for 6 years now, instead of the cots kit bots frame. There have been a couple of years I tried to push them back to kit bots but to no avail. COTS parts are useless if you don’t really know what you are doing. And if you do know what you are doing, the COTS parts are not necessarily that useful.

It is a common saying, and Woodie’s variant I heard him say at least 10 years ago is “Ideas are cheap, excellence in execution is everything”. Dave Lavery has given plenty of speeches describing the importance of learning how to confidently work inside of a problem-solving team, skills, and meaning that transcend pieces of plastic.

COTS or not is irrelevant if student development comes 1st. Did the students earnestly learn how to solve problems, and the engineering design process, and work as a team, and execute with excellence and integrity?
Teams have to come up with their own ethics, priorities, and preferences. At the end of the day, I don’t think you can legislate it, you just advocate and teach and hope people adopt and internalize it.

We make choices, based on our ethics, preferences, and mission. We are willing to defend the decisions to our stakeholders. Defending the mission is important for teams because I am concerned about school administrations that only want to say they ‘won’, when they probably don’t even know what that means. I’m sure the students on winning teams got a big experience. It is a huge mistake for an administrator to think that students didn’t get the rich growth experience if they didn’t come home with a banner.

The ground reference is ‘what are the student outcomes?” If you can resolve that one, then the cots question gets easier.

I should be sleeping but I’m on CD instead…this is what buildseason does to people…

  1. This one is tough. I think that there doesn’t need to be a line drawn (yet). My first response to the GreyT elevator and intake from WCP was a negative one, but not because it allows teams to buy, when bought with a kit chassis, a almost fully functioning robot. I had a negative reaction because of the timing of the release. To give an example, in 2016, I didn’t, and don’t have any issue with AndyMark’s tank drive because it was available to everybody on Kickoff. Before kickoff even. Where as this year with WCP’s most recent products coming out at the end of week 2, I don’t know how to feel because my team-mates and I have spent the last week and a half working on cadding up lift and intake designs that we came up with and now you can buy something very close to what we’ve done. Now it’s still more cost effective for us to go with our designs instead of throwing out our work and getting these products, but knowing that our hard work has a lessened value because somebody else can buy something close to what we’ve done, is disheartening. So to answer the question, I don’t think that any line as been crossed with what is currently offered as COTS; but that the timing of the release and the ability to release mechanisms as COTS that teams have already been working on in the current season is a line that has been crossed and I don’t believe that it should have been. Meaning that the line I’d set would be a kickoff line, where everything is perfectly fine to make as COTS, no matter how complete, as long as it’s announced pre-kickoff.

  2. In short yes. I don’t see any problem with more options being available to everybody. If you don’t have the ability to manufacture all sorts of robot parts, and the ability to buy a subsystem makes you go from bottom quarter of the scoreboard to the top half, then that’s great. Even if you have the ability to manufacture the parts you’re buying, that’s still fine because your team is making a choice to spend more time on another part of your robot or on driver practice. Both which make a more successful robot and that’s a good thing. Having success, even small victories, on the field feels great and inspires me personally to try harder. If being able to buy part of a robot allows more students to get inspired or even just enjoy the robotics sport more than they might otherwise have, then that’s a victory and that’s a great thing.

  3. No. Being able to buy more complete COTS robots might make the average score go up, but the great thing about being on alliances of three robots is that if everybody is better, the chances of you scoring better are greater. Choosing to not buy something that is on the market is a decision made by each team. If you choose to not buy a certain mechanism and instead design and build your own, you get all the fun and learning of that process which in my opinion is the more life changing experiences you’ll have in FIRST as a student than winning a comp is.

  4. I don’t think that COTS will cause a resource issue. If teams that have historically machined all of their parts decides that their time is better spent elsewhere and buys COTS instead of manufacturing, that’s totally fine in my mind. I see it as a win-win. Teams with resources can spend those resources in more important areas that will set them apart from the crowd, and the improvement of COTS will allow teams with less resources to compete at a higher level than before. I’m going to use the example of transmissions. Custom transmissions used to be used everywhere because you couldn’t buy COTS transmissions. Now everybody has access to a wide variety of transmissions and nearly everybody uses one. Now some teams opt to make their own because maybe they want to use 775pros for more weight savings. Those teams aren’t at a disadvantage because they chose not to use the COTS option, instead they saw the level of performance that a COTS solution could get them and wanted to try for better.

  5. I’m not going to answer this question in the way it was asked exactly. I would argue that every team should be able to buy a robot that can score points in the game, but I think that the game should be designed such that a chassis bot is all that’s needed. I don’t think that teams should be able to buy full robots (chassis, manipulators, software) and I also think that the games need to be made so that a simple chassis can be an effective alliance partner (besides playing defense).

  6. This is a toughy. I love making stuff that I and my team came up with, but as much as I like making stuff, I like seeing my ideas succeed more. So to answer the question, I’m more satisfied when the idea that is being effectively executed is mine. If all of the parts that we dream up are sent out and made in a factory and then sent back to us, we lose some of the fun of making parts (and then remaking them when we didn’t measure twice and cut once), but that’s ok because we get to see our ideas in action.

  7. I learn the most by seeing other top tier team’s robots and seeing the products that manufacturers release. Like in 2016, we looked to AndyMark and their tracks to see how to make ours better. So having all these resources available is only a good thing. The first thing I and all of the students on 68 do when trying to come up with ideas for each game is to look back at other top teams throughout the years and try to use their designs as inspiration.

  8. I would say not much. The time that I start to care about the actions of another team is when something they do is so much better than what we’re doing. I love to look at some other higher preforming teams and see how they tackled a solution and see how it’s similar (or in some cases, a total 180) to what we did. We then use what we learn from other teams to better ourselves. The only other time that I start to really care about another team is when we’re asked for help. Then I really care and do all I can to help this other team.

I’ll toss in my 2 cents, I suppose (warning that it’s 1am, I had 4 hours of sleep last night, and this is probably totally incoherent):

1: I think the line should be drawn where COTS solutions are designed specifically for the game at hand, or so close to it as to be basically indistinguishable. FRC COTS gearboxes, mecanum wheels, etc, did remove some aspect of design and construction, but all it did was take out some basic repetition that gave established teams more of an edge–You make a common solution (gearbox, for example, or a set of mecanum wheels, etc) that can be applied to any or at least most games, and just reuse the same design from year to year. A rookie team can’t, because they necessarily won’t have an established design to reuse. In this way, COTS components bring parity in that they establish a setup where success is reliant on the ability to create mechanisms that address that year’s challenge, rather than the ability to create reusable common solutions. This claw isn’t that, though. It’s designed specifically for FIRST Power Up. It’s not a “reusable common solution” in the sense that I used it, that allows teams to focus on the challenge, it’s a specific solution that lets you broadly skip chunks of the actual challenge entirely.

2/3: These are pretty loaded question. I’ll say that I’m all for more options, *specifically within the context of allowing students to focus more on designing cool mechanisms to handle the game challenges. * Giving everyone equal access is problematic, though: the teams that would benefit most from (and would utilize more) game specific COTS solutions are also the teams that can’t be spending money on these specific solutions. And, yes, it does impact other teams. It’s a competition, as much as we encourage cooperation, and it’s certainly going to upset people if they see other teams just slapping together COTS parts that handle the competition challenges while they’ve spent time working on actually designing and building.

4: See above. Teams that need this probably aren’t the teams that can afford it, or, if they are, they’ll serve as a band-aid to avoid more fundamental issues on the team.

5: The games (I’ll confess I’m not familiar with the positively ancient ones), as you know, are usually structured with a few levels of point scoring. You’ll get an (albeit tiny) amount of points for just being able to drive and cross the baseline (which is even more important this year with autonomous). Then there’s lower barrier challenges (switch), higher barrier challenges (scale), and the endgame. This seems like a reasonable setup, that already lets teams of varying ability score points and contribute in some way, even ignoring defense. I disagree that all teams aren’t able to contribute, and I think that the current setup is a fairly decent one.

6: I definitely feel more satisfied knowing that what we built was ours, for better or worse, and the failures and successes are similarly ours. Executing an idea well isn’t easy, don’t get me wrong, and I can respect deciding to take inspiration or even directly take an idea from somewhere else and executing it better. This claw doesn’t do that. It skips the idea stage, and a hefty chunk of the implementation stage.

7: I’m not quite sure what you’re looking for here, sorry! If you mean, broadly, what I’ve learned and how I’ve learned it, there’s way too much to cover. A good chunk of what I’ve learned has been from my team’s mentors, or my own teachers in school: stuff like CAD, usage of various machines, some software, etc, all either in making a robot, or in the offseason to prepare for making a robot. I probably wouldn’t have learned as much if we had been purchasing mechanisms and just figuring out how to attach them to the chassis.

8: I’m not sure how to quantify how much I care. I care in that I dislike teams trying to push the limits of the rules for funsies, causing issues for others, being bad sports, or trying to “game” the competition at the expense of everyone’s enjoyment of it (this is rare). Broader stuff, basically. Beyond that, I couldn’t care less how a team makes its decisions, how it works in the shop (well, wear safety glasses…), or the lower level intricacies of how a team works. We’ve all got better things to do with our time.

You can focus on doing well while simultaneously focusing on learning. I’m not saying “don’t make a good robot,” but please don’t see FRC as a dichotomy that necessitates choosing a single solution, or, worse, actually make it into one. Getting sponsors to machine some pieces for us, for example, removes some of the learning in machining stuff manually, while also giving a competitive edge. But it adds to the learning aspect when our mentors teach us more about CAD, making part drawings, best practices, standards, etc, that our industry sponsor would want. Buying a prebuilt mechanism just adds to competitive edge, while broadly sacrificing the accompanying learning.

I see FRC as a way for students to learn, be inspired, and have their interest in STEM fostered and encouraged. While teams that “game” it, in that they focus on simply doing well at the expense of those purposes, are inevitable in any competitive setup, it shouldn’t be encouraged or facilitated, at least not to this extent. If teams are in a situation where they’re forced to decide between buying a component which handles a major chunk of the design challenges (and thus a major chunk of what the whole thing is about), just to keep up with an advancing baseline/metagame, or having students learn more by addressing the challenge with their own ideas and skills, I think we can generally agree that’s not a positive thing.

I’ll bite, but with the same disclaimer as Jack that it’s late and I’m running on unhealthy amounts of sleep (thanks robots).

  1. I think I’m pretty much in agreeance with Jack and Jon’s posts above. My perspective is one that could be interpreted as unique. 5940 has never been (in my mind) a “low-resource” team. We have a advanced CNC/brake/weld sponsor, build many custom mechanisms, powdercoat our bots, stuff like that. We also benefit immensely from COTS gearboxes, wheels, and other such devices and objects. Using my understanding of FIRST and it’s programs, I too think drawing the line at “game-specific” mechanisms is reasonable. It takes some of the relatively mediocre parts of the robot (like designing wheels or gearboxes) off our plate, and allows our students to focus on designing mechanisms specific to each year’s game. To me, this is a substantially more engaging and dynamic engineering challenge. However, if my team struggled to even field a drivetrain I could absolutely see myself feeling differently about the inspirational value of building v. buying.

2 & 3 & 4) I feel that these are somewhat directed in the way they are worded. Of course options for teams are better. I’m definitely a proponent of teams being able to choose their own path forwards, whether that is with something like a Greyt kit or rolling their own solution. We’re here to inspire kids. Teams need to figure out the best way for themselves to accomplish that goal within their means.

  1. I’ll be candid here. I don’t really think a baseline robot kit or something should exist in FRC, KoP or otherwise. We’re trying to give kids a taste of “real world” engineering. From my knowledge, you won’t walk in to your engineering job each morning and be given an exact way to solve whatever problem you’re also tasked with. For FIRST to work as a program, students need to experience some degree of engineering. The distinction with the Greyt kits is that they do, to a degree. Integrating it, mounting it, and getting it to work as a cohesive system are all examples of (albeit smaller) engineering problems teams can work through. Even though the team is buying something, the students are still able to be “engineers”, which in my mind is ultimately what matters. I don’t think the same can be said for slapping together some basic robot kit that can complete the engineering problem teams were tasked to solve, with minimal effort.

  2. I personally feel elated looking at our robots, and saying “we built this”. I can point at our CAD and say “for the most part, we designed this”. And I can do the same for our code, wiring, and more. Even if our robot sucks, even if we get completely destroyed by an army of teams with Greyt elevators and manipulators, I can still say those things. That, to me, is why I participate on an FRC team.

  3. My answer is vague and probably differs from many, but the technical and leadership skills that I’ve gained from volunteering is probably what I value the most. Being able to help teams at events and aid in the inspiration of students is the most rewarding and enjoyable part of FRC to me.

  4. After my first season, I stopped caring (within reason). Of course there’s a certain amount of pushing the rules, being disrespectful, etc. that still pushes my buttons. But, in the end, how teams operate and how they build their robots is unimportant to me. All that matters is that kids are being inspired to do dope s@#t, however a team might accomplish that.

  1. I think game specific components should not be legal. To me, FRC is fundamentally about solving the design and strategic problems of the game, and then seeing those decisions pay off during competition, and game specific COTS parts take part of that away from teams. This issue is exacerbated by the release of this part 2 weeks into build season, when many team have already designed parts but now feel they must choose between seeing their designs to completion, or scrapping them in favor of this claw. I’ve looked at the CAD, and I do think that this claw is very generalised. So, it’s not entirely game specific, but the underlying implication of releasing this 2 weeks into build season is that it’s been tested to intake power cubes, and will do so very well. If this were released before the season (even just CAD models) I would have no problem with it.

  2. This question is too general to answer definitively, but I’ll give it a go. I do believe that giving teams more options can help in some cases. It helps raise the floor, which is necessary to some extent, but it can be raised too far. If you’re on team who can barely even build a functioning drivetrain, when you look to the elite teams you’re likely demoralised. Raising the floor can help with this problem. If you’re able to build a functioning robot, this demoralising effect is decreased. But the potential floor is already high enough. By that I mean, a single determined student armed with the parts from vexpro and knowledge of the resources available to them can build an entirely functional robot. The problem that needs to be solved is teaching teams to use their resources, not giving them a prefabricated and designed mechanism. If you try to raise the floor too high, you encroach on the students’ education by solving the problem for them.

  3. In some cases, yes. Teams who put in the effort to design something on their own, only to find that it doesn’t work as well as something that can be bought online would be far from inspired. The teams who didn’t use the prefabbed solution would have learned more, but that’s not much consolation for those involved. There will always be winners and losers, and I’d prefer that teams win or lose based on what they made. Some of the most motivating events for me have been losing because the other team was just better than us.

  4. I don’t think its a resources issue. Most of the teams who fail, do so because of a lack of education. If teams don’t have the resources or motivation to copy the numerous examples of fully functional robots that have already been built, they should consider moving to FTC or Vex. I know that sounds callous, but those programs exist for a reason, and it will probably be better for all parties involved.

  5. I think it should be clear already that I’m against this. I’d like to add though, that I believe there is a lot to be learned by building someone else’s design, but not as much to be learned assembling a kit you bought.

  6. The most satisfying thing for me is when I design something and it works well. It’s more important to me that our robot functions well than that we rank well. This is the same for the students on my team who are highly involved in the engineering process, but those who are less involved prefer winning matches to having a well functioning robot. Looking at another team’s design and reverse engineering it is only slightly less satisfying than using an original idea. If I were to copy a CAD design 1:1, I would likely enjoy learning about the design, but I wouldn’t be nearly as invested. If we switched out our robot design for Greyt elevator and Claw, I wouldn’t be satisfied at all. However, the people who aren’t involved in the design of the robot would probably be fine with it.

  7. By far the most effective method of learning for me is a combination of experience combined with exposure to others’ designs. When I first started FRC, I didn’t have the experience to truely look at another team’s design. I just saw the design, and nothing else. After gaining experience designing something myself, I could understand how difficult the problem was, and I could imagine the reasons for that team choosing their design over infinite others, and then I could compare that design to mine and think “what in my thought process needs to change to create a design like that in the next game?”

  8. I care a little. If a team buys the Greyt roller claw, I wouldn’t hold it against them. It was the logical decision for them. However, I do think they’re cheating themselves out of something magical, and (depending on how good the roller claw is) pressuring other teams to do the same.