Posted by Ken Leung at 1/29/2001 4:26 AM EST
Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M. Gunn Senior High School.
In Reply to: QUESTION OF THE WEEK!!!
Posted by Andy Grady on 1/28/2001 9:17 AM EST:
Personally, I think this year’s game is really great! I am not just making that up, I really really think that way after the 3 weeks… and I am going to show you with my view as well as an incident happened last week. Please excuse the long post, and I do encourage you to read this.
Just the game itself:
As someone said before, the movable goals are one of the fun factors. Robots can manipulate the goals in many ways: pulling, pushing, getting it on the bridge, grabbing, putting balls in…etc. It’s a simple object with many actions to perform on. Then the bridge is just challenging. Not only going over it, sometimes you have to drag goals across it, treating it as a gate, balance stuff on there…! Talk about the precision and accuracy to control it. The barrier across the field is cool too… I never thought teams will treat it as the puck two years ago where robot have to go over some kind of step, or like the limbo bar last year where robot have to fit under it. The end zone make sure there will be points for each match, while the stop button make sure there will also be multipliers. And yeah, I think the game will be amazing to watch. Fast games where robot rush for end zone and stop, or medium speed game where robot get a goal balanced with balls in it, or slow game with all goals balanced with big balls on top, or any combination of these. A lot of matches in the qualifying rounds are going to be different, and you know what, I am totally looking forward to the competition.
As for the 4-team alliance thing, some people probably don’t like it, but I’ve seen the effect of that decision to the FIRST community, and I am not going to stop until I post it up.
Without head to head competition in a match, now I am seeing teams helping each other. Just the fact that people are posting database for robots info is astounding. What I mean is, there are database from the past years, but people started working on it this early… so many effort trying to accomplish such goal… teams freely sharing robot information… I would say it’s revolutionizing in the FIRST community. Then, teams are helping other teams building good robots, trying to help as much as they can to make sure every robot are good, as if there are no individual teams anymore, but a solid connected group of people making sure every student get the most out of this learning experience. No more teams holding back information, no more spying, no more rough bashing of robots trying to disable other robot or “de-score”, in another word trying to diminish other teams’ accomplishment to make your own team looks better.
Let me just tell you what happened at weekends when some other teams visited our place, and you will be the judge about the effect…
So it’s a week after we helped hosting seminars for other teams to learn about drive train, control system, pneumatics, and animation. Our students are all working on the design of the robot, and it was a Sunday after a “design review” (a process where we review each component group’s design and evaluate their progress and decide on what to do for the following week). That day, we are supposed to have a second-year team visiting to talk about the competition and hopefully getting some advice from us. It was 3pm in the afternoon and our students kind of forget about the whole thing and paid no attention about it. Then suddenly the team arrived along with another friendly team. At that time, I doubted if our students would give them a friendly respond. But all the doubts disappeared when I saw the people energetically talking to each other. It was an amazing view: little groups gathering at different places like around the goal, the bridge, our prototype of drive train, our computer area, and they weren’t just standing around trying to start a conversation, but they were engaging in strong discussions about different aspect of the competition and/or the experience on the team. They all were talking freely, having a good time, maybe laughing about something funny about robots, proving certain points by moving around the goals/bridge… etc. I was speechless when I was standing aside watching, which is only about 5% of the time (because I was constantly talking for 95% of the time (like an hour), and that NEVER EVER happened to me before). No more holding back, but simple hospitality between teams and among the people. No more barriers, but plain sharing and giving. Then I thought: “This competition is finally paying off…”
After that weekend, we invited more teams to come over for discussions, a gathering of the “minds” of students and advisors. This time the students are even more prepared, we serve the people some food, and the sound level of talking much higher, the place crowded with people interacting with other people. And it seems like the teams around the country are working together toward one goal: every team and every person are going to score more “points” then they will ever get in their entire life…