Posted by soap108 at 1/22/2001 2:12 PM EST
Engineer on team #108, SigmaC@T, from Dillard & Taravella HS and Motorola.
In Reply to: Re: “Come see the softer side of FIRST…”
Posted by Robby on 1/20/2001 8:02 PM EST:
My name is Kenny. I’m a leader on the SOAP team. These are my personal comments.
I agree. The last thing I want is to see is 100 teams competing with regards to scouting…It’s enough stress just to build a robot and win a few matches. And it would be a distraction to the real headlines- businesses partnering with students to compliment their text-book education via building robots to play a game on a national level.
One thing having the database has done for our team is it expanded the domain of FIRST into the Computer Science and Networking/IT fields. Except for the BOM db, there was no reason to teach/mentor students in this area. Typically one kid was assigned to work with one engineer on that. We now have about 12 dedicated “SOAP StUDentS” that are interested in building db’s and looking at how they integrate with the web, other db’s, etc… They were not too keen on the robot, but wanted to be on the team. Problem solved.
Another thing was our robot last year was sub-par for our standards. SOAP and Robby’s SharingFIRST I-candy animations became the lead ‘saving graces’ that made 2000 a great year for SigmaC@T. That and successfully integrating a new high school partner (Taravella) into one team.
SOAP pursued and won the national J&J award, but certainly we recognize the GMCIA scouting efforts as wonderful too. Also, Look at how 340 G.r.r. created essentially a similar FM Pro Db like us and decided to make it an exe and distribute on Cd-ROM. That’s a great idea…but it is a bit simpler to let one group collect and then share the info. They also pioneered the searchable-rules-on-CD effort…another great idea. However, all us should have read and understood the manual before hand anyway.
For those that are not aware, GMCIA were the ones recognized at the Motorola MidWest last year for the J&J award. Keep in mind both systems were recognized by JUDGES, not really by FIRST. Hopefully, gmcia feels the way we do, that last year is last year. We both ‘proved’ that we have assembled great technology for the benefit of EVERYONE. Hopefully, we have the pursue-an-award-for-getting-an-award’s sake out of our system can focus on/market the real intent of our technologies… sharing, and enhancing the events! It’s time to let the award go back to teams who show sportsmanship in-the-heat-of-(robot)-battle. Does that sound right?
It’s kinda neat to see two teams independently come up with huge databases for tracking teams. We’re both veteran teams (>6 yrs experience) and recognized the need for such a system because of the growth of FIRST. I was the lead driver & strategist for our team in '96 and '97 and wished this had started this sooner. Even tracking 33 teams at a regional was a challenge, especially since some teams (like ours) has to send a ‘skeleton crew’ to the comp.
Is it not to everyone’s advantage to ‘register’ their info in one database then to have a group from every team roam through the pits asking basically the same questions at the same time? Imagine the reduction in “pit traffic” as a result. More people can enjoy the robot co-opertition because they don’t need to worry about collecting data & information. I wish I could have seen and cheered on my team in their matches. I saw 1, just 1.
At the very least, all teams should want to submit their answers to Yes/No questions regarding their ability. Whether they wish to quantify (how many, how fast, etc) could be up to them…eventually we’ll notice/observe their robot and put that info in the db anyway. Did it last year, will do again. Teams can still have tricks up their sleeve like not using features until later, much like 16’s stealth ball removal at MidWest.
Whew! That’s a lot of writing.
Pls let me give you one last piece of food for thought…I just want to ‘think out-loud’ and see what you, the teams, have to say:
Does not competition provide positive, constructive motivation? Does not Ford try harder to design and build better autos because chevy, crysler, etc…are also trying hard? Would Motorola spend less effort making a quality cel-phone if there wasn’t a Nokia or Ericsson?
Here’s the question that hasn’t been asked in B&W…Should GMCIA and SOAP combine? Would either of our efforts be reduced if the other didn’t exist? I don’t have the answer…but I can assure you if 100 teams all try the same thing It won’t work. It will have a negative effect. If we did combine, can we remain distinct and yet work together? I hope so. If not this year, definitely 2002. Now that would say much more than any award could.
I’m done now.
Kenny – Team 108