RFID - Is it a GOOD idea or a BAD idea


Two thoughts:

  1. Is this really the major adversity that a small team faces?
  2. Scoring has been a challenge at FIRST events, perhaps improve that and you might solve this problem
1 Like


All right. Here is my ABSOLUTE MINIMUM requirement for any RFID system.
#1: Idiot-proof. I mean that it cannot be messed up without actively and intentionally sabotaging it. This includes mounting positions, range to whatever the transmitter is in, as much protection as possible. If that cannot be done, then don’t bother. (I would have said high-school-student proof, but that’s not actually possible.) Also, for anything in the game objects: Robot-proof.
#2: Cheap. Self-explanatory. Let’s say the absolute maximum is $500 for the receiver.
#3: Readily available. 4,000 units available on Kickoff, plus however many are needed for the field, on the READERS alone. Why? So that teams that have a hard time fundraising don’t have to buy one. PLUS something on the order of 180 x however many game pieces are on the field at once for the transmitters (and another 4K for the teams)–that COULD be as high as 115,000 (and they’ll all need to be installed identically if possible).

You say you have 30 years in the field. As of right now: Do you have a (reasonably) specific solution? If so, may I strongly suggest contacting frcteams@firstinspires.org and marketing to them. If not, then I’m going to suggest that you stop, actually read what people are saying for a few minutes, and then act on what they’re saying.

Short version of what they’re saying: You have tunnel vision.


I think you are missing their point as well. Scouting is not the question … if it is feasible? Of course everyone has good answers on how to send our resources over to other teams to gather their scouting information. We will do that… we have done that. But we can not always count on being able to tap that kind of help. RFID would always be there for you. You could count on it. We should use it. Saying it is too hard and making excuses is not what any of your teams do… they go out and make it happen. They dont say climbing is too hard … they go out and solve the problem and they do it.

bro frc fields are literally held together by zip ties velcro and hope, it’s not going to be always dependable. What volunteer role that’s already overworked do you intend on giving the setting up and maintaining job to?


I think you are selling the FRC fields short… they are very complex. This would not add anything more complex than what they are already doing.

I FTAA multiple times a year and help with field setup and teardown. I’m not selling the fields short.


How about you reply to all the complexity that Eric stated 5 posts up


I can tell that you need some Field Setup or Field Teardown experience. Zip ties, strategically placed pins, velcro, and “hope the bolts last”. Anybody remember the Defense pins from 2016–the ones that were being continuously redesigned? How about the 2017 Pegs [ducks incoming Fuel barrage] that went through about 9 in-season iterations AFTER the 12 during-build iterations?


RIght there with you buddy. Let’s make a pact to all remind each other to take a deep breath every now and then. Believe me, I need it.


Also you must have been insanely lucky if your event didn’t have any significant field delays due to the balancing electronics having issues or the existing ball counters not having issues


@tmichals, have you ever had a volunteer role at an event, or are you just a team mentor?

I feel like much of this is coming from greatly overestimating the resources at the disposal of the people designing these games and putting on these events.


Load bearing RFID tags. Now there’s a niche market idea.


I personally, as a mentor, have done more match scouting than any of my students, I’m not above data collection and neither are my students.

Yesterday at my engineering job I was entirely doing data collection, on products I was designing and on competitors.

So yah, I do think that counting balls can be a STEM job; sometimes it’s impractical to develop an automated system when doing it manually works.


Also FWIW, I have a friend who recently graduated with a Bachelors in Biology. She currently counts peas.

Take that as you will.


I am trying to focus on automating a difficult and boring job(yet necessary). If you mean I am not hearing people talk about work arounds to RFID that is not true, they are good answers. I am not throwing away peoples idea’s for sending our kids over to other teams to gather these counts. I have said we will do that… we have done that. We have to do that. Some people here don’t think those values are tracked by other teams, if I go with what they are saying then this is where RFID would always do that.

1 Like

I wonder if we can count race horses to help us with alliance selection.


where please enlighten me to which poster


I haven’t seen anyone other than you say that