RFID - Is it a GOOD idea or a BAD idea

Doing this as you say takes years. I see this when I watch FUN they just know the teams. Is that really how FRC wants it to be? Let the teams have the information that they need to have to make good choices. Open up the competition… I have seen the number of repeating champions. Yes it takes more than just good information to win… but with out it… you probably will not win. When it gets to the world champion level it makes that 1 point difference.

Do you also not want your kids filing the sharp edges of your parts? What about sorting fasteners to get them put away? Or sweeping the shop floor? Putting your manipulators together 20 times to get it right? Sewing bumper fabric?

Success is hard work, most of which isn’t glamorous. Doing the work is what makes the victory meaningful, and the fortitude to face down what you know will be a long road is an important life skill.


Can you please give us an example from the past few years where teams with amazing machine learning magic scouting were at a serious competitive advantage over a team with a few kids and paper, due to scouting only?


Yes that is important too. But I wanted to focus on RFID… and how it is a good thing.

No obviously, because you know scouting is only one part of the solution. Scouting is the part I want to focus on with RFID. But RFID is more than just for the teams it would help the FRC understand the game better too.

This is my final post in this thread.

Show the technical details at a high level for one field.


While it’s possible that using RFID may be a useful strategy for FIRST in general, you need to do the legwork. Take your 30 years of experience, write up a whitepaper, publish it here and submit it to FIRST HQ.

IF you do that, people are a lot more likely to listen.

Because right now, you’re coming across as a solution in search of a problem, AND a problem that won’t accept solutions, simultaneously. You’re not telling us WHY the solution is the best. And you’re not really listening to what we’re saying.

Oh, and telling @saikiranra that scouting is only one part of the solution is like telling the Patriots AND Buccaneers that Tom Brady is the GOAT. I’d tell you why but it’ll get flagged by the Off-Topic Police.


Delving into an anecdote for a bit, my team fell into the same category you’re referencing - we knew the game and how to scout, but couldn’t field enough people* at worlds to scout as we normally would at a district event.** To get around this problem, we partnered with 1318 (IRS) and 2907 (Lion Robotics) and formed a scouting alliance - we each contributed two scouts at any given match, and we all had access to the data.

What are some problems that you see with scouting alliances that RFID tags would solve? How do you think the quality of the scouting produced by a scouting alliance compares to that of a single larger resource team?

*we’re by no means a small team, but for a variety of reasons we couldn’t bring the same number of people to worlds as to a normal competition.

**we also could technically have done all our scouting solo (we did have enough people to have our standard 6 ppl per match), but we were concerned about burnout and wanted to let people go to workshops.


It seems to me … many times I have answered the why’s … perhaps I just have not answered your specific why, so please ask it so I can answer it. I am not going to be able to write a white paper tonight for you about RFID, but I can answer specific questions.

Doesn’t have to be tonight, it’s not like most of us have other places to be for the foreseeable future.


How much would such a system cost and how do you plan on raising the money to pay for the game pieces as well as the receivers, in addition backups for every field in case things go wrong.

What field volunteer do you want to be in charge of this.

Please answer both questions, not just one.

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Idk, having a whitepaper tonight would definitely convince me that RFID is the way to go


Rolling with the XY problem idea,

For the “Y” problem:
I don’t think RFID tracking of gamepieces is going to help, because game pieces are not the only thing that good teams scout. In fact, this year teleop goal scoring pretty much didn’t matter. Climbs were worth more balls than most teams ever scored on their own, so bottom line is scouts were looking foremost for climbs, and If a team couldn’t climb, it wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the picklist.

For the “X” problem:
I agree that the value of scouting puts larger teams at an advantage. But there’s also really no need for 30+ teams to scout the same data, that’s just wasteful. The answers should be all the same right? So I propose a better solution than some kind of automated game-piece RFID thing: “Social Scouting”. We need a central website that all kinds of teams can use to scout matches. The advantage is less work for everyone, and more duplicated / error checked results. The challenges are working with student-data-plan limits, preventing too much free-loading, and limiting the impact of bad data (intentional or accidental). Those challenges are serious, but I hope one day to come up with a solution.


I answered this above… we did join a scouting alliance. We did not have the means to utilize that data in away that would help us get to the finals.

We’ve done some work on this with Peregrine. We successfully used it for sharing the responsibility of scouting between multiple teams at comps last year, and we were gonna have more than 10 teams using it this season but :confused:. This year, through Peregrine and our partnership with teams 3636, 6343, 2147, 3216, and 7157, we collected data on the Clackamas, West Valley, Utah, and Del Mar events (none of which our team attended), and if we ended up going to Houston we would’ve had data about all the teams that were at those events (and they would’ve had access to 2733’s and each other’s data of course).


To be honest though, it’s practically impossible to develop a centralized scouting system because teams will always disagree about what information is useful and worth collecting. Designing a system that’s flexible but still allows for “universal” scouting so that data can be analyzed and shared in a meaningful way is very difficult. I like sharing this XKCD when the topic comes up (even though it makes me sad):



So you had data, but didn’t have the means to utilize it. I fail to see how RFID solves any of this.


Sorry I have been typing all night… getting tired. if you look above this is answered. Trying to put that data together in a standard way that makes it usable is not easy. We are not capable of developing that on a game day with the the other teams, enforcing it and making sure it is done correctly.

You’re going about scouting wrong if you’re trying to develop your method of standardizing on game day. With a scouting alliance, you have access to raw data which means that you must have a system to handle this, whether it be automatic or manual, put into place prior to the competition.

You surely can’t go into competition without a plan for scouting and expect to see success.


I answer this above too… RFID will help us record the data consistantly. With the help of other teams we ALL could setup a common scouting report that would return specific data on a robot(team). So that smaller teams could use this information to help them in picking the best teams so they can win in the finals. This does not mean just my team it means all teams. There are lots of other reasons too… I just am too tired to keep retyping them all.

How is this system any different than just asking other teams for scouting data or forming a scouting alliance to collect data? This point has been stated prior and you have not rebutted against it.