Post Einstein Report Observation and a Question (not more of the same)

Greetings all…hope you’ve recovered from the season and those creative juices are going again for next year’s work. As with many of you, I’ve read the report and tried to digest a lots of lesson learned.

Here’s an observation from the report, specifically from Appendix A, page 24:

Of the twelve teams that won a division, ZERO of them used LabView as their programming code (there were 8 C++ and 4 Java.)

Here are two question that emerged for me, also from Appendix A, page 24:

Team 25 is listed as having no camera, no vision targeting, no video to the driver’s station. How the heck were they so good at shooting accurately, and what was that giant spotlight for that they used to illuminate their target-end of the field (what role did it play?) As a mentor of a team that had some targeting problems when our camera picked up blue LED signal from a giant FIRST logo on a far wall behind our baskets, I thought the idea of using a broad field illumination to wash out extraneous inputs was brilliant, but without a camera I can’t figure out what purpose it had.

The FCA exploit worked regardless of programming language used.

As for 25, they had a bright flashlight on their robot that the drivers would use to line up shots manually.

The observation about programming was not meant to tie in at all to the report implications, per se; I’m just surprised the zero of the top 12 used Labview - wonder the the odds are for that? On the question, do you know they used the spotlight for targeting or is it that conjecture? If that’s all you really needed (and it sure seemed to work for them) then our team spent a lot of time and energy on a far too complex solution!

Both 180 and 25 used flashlights to help their drivers manually align their shooters.

So you had a flashlight shine at the retro-reflective tape, and from there your drivers could tell if they were aligned? Did you use a specific type of flashlight?

Basically what they used was a huge searchlight(IIRC it actually is a search and rescue light), so it was basically a crosshair that was a huge shine of light that they could look at.

SOURCE: Plenty of matches behind the glass against and with 25

Correct! There was some discussion on this topic in the “Why didn’t we think of that?” thread]( In short, 25 used a small halogen headlight and 180 used a modified LED mag light.

Haha, it’s a lot less blinding when you’re on the same side. :cool:

Like Kristian said, it was just an LED mag light that you can buy at Home Depot. If you focus it down all the way it makes a dot about a foot across that you can see from the driver’s station (Yay for smoked Lexan backboards).

Left and right alignment was obvious. The cool part was that the light was mounted at a fixed angle and aimed at the top goal. If the dot was too high, you drove forward; if the dot was too low, you drove back. Our shooter wheels only ran at one speed all year long!

Thanks for the advice George, Kristian, and Steven!

George, do you happen to know the model flashlight you used?

Yup 25 is a really BRIGHT group! :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ll walk myself out.

I don’t remember, but I’m not sure it’s really important. The one we used was way stronger than it needed to be. You could see it on the roof of the dome when we drove around the field… :o

Our prototype entailed attaching the Photon Cannon (flashlight) to the robot with the Photon Cannon Mounting Device (a lot of duct tape). Just take any flashlight with a focus lens and tape it to your bot. If you like how it works, figure our how to mount it permanently and wire it to run off the robot battery instead of it’s own batteries. Sounds like a nice little off-season project.

Thanks!. Sorry I missed that thread…what an ingenius idea.

I believe that the reason behind this is that these teams are simply more comfortable with C++ and/or Java. These teams are mostly older teams, so I’m willing to bet they have had plenty of experience with text-based languages. The mentors too (in most teams) likely have far more experience with text-based languages.

LabView certainly has it’s advantages and disadvantages, but for teams and mentors who know C, C++ or Java and have been using it with robots (eg teams who were around with the IFI controllers and C), there needs to be a truly compelling reason to switch. I know a couple of teams in my area who have switched to or tried out Java because that is the language used on the AP computer science exam.

The number of teams who did/didn’t use LabView at champs should be used as an indicator of how “good” or “bad” of a programming language it is, just as the number of teams at champs who use DeWalt tools shouldn’t be an indicator of how good or bad DeWalt tools are. In the end, a programming language is just another tool used to accomplish a goal.

Disclaimer: I know you did not actually make any assertions based on your observation. I just wanted to throw this out there, as I noticed the same thing and have had time to think on it.