Robot Collaboration

Wow. I’m in a bit of a state of shock. I’ve heard rumours that team 60 and team 254 were going to collaborate, but I didn’t expect this.

The robots look virtually identical to me. (aside from the fact that one is more complete than the other)

Having two teams of the quality and pedigree of 60 and 254 working together to build the same robot. Wow. All I can say is lookout.

I have so many more questions, but I’ll start with how much collaboration was there?

Great job guys. Amazing.

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Our team and Team 60 have worked very closely, starting with hours on the phone and numerous emails between the teams during the design phase of this season. Each team built essentially half of the robots, with 60 machining the upper subframe and arm assembly, and 254 handling the lower frame, wheels, and programming.

Therefore, may the “rumor” be confirmed. :smiley:

Also, I’d be happy to answer any other questions about the partnership, our robots, or anything else.

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Why same robots? why did you guys design two of the same robots? What is the benifits of that?

By doing so, we were able to form an alliance That was never before seen.

We essentially became two teams in one.

And as one team, if either of us becomes successful, we will both feel proud for an accomplishment that we did TOGETHER.

FIRST isn’t only about the robots. It’s about building relationships, partnerships, and people.

Amanda M
Marketing Director
Team 60

Alright, now it’s out. Team 254 and Team 60 collaborated this year to build almost identical robots. Since the questions have already started and I’m sure many are to follow I will attempt to sort everything out now.

Our teams’ friendship started back in the 2000 season when Kingman (team 60) earned the number one seed at the Silicon Valley Regional and they picked us as their ally. Our alliance went on to win the regional and over the next few years we wound up winning several events together. Sometimes they seeded and picked us, other times we picked them. As a result of our teams’ successes as well as the time spent together, our respect for each other and our friendship has grown over the years to say the least.

I guess the official collaboration thing really began back in 2001 when, during the first few weeks of the build cycle, we basically shared nothing more than our opinions regarding how we felt the game would play out that year. Our two teams went on to win the Silicon Valley regional together for the second straight year, and we (254) ended up finishing second at Nationals while Kingman finished third, both of us being knocked out by team 71, Beatty (Awesome robot).

When the 2002 game was announced it was readily apparent that traction was of a huge concern that year and we once again discussed strategy with Kingman who helped us out by giving us a lead on some incredible tread for our wheels. We went on to win a third straight regional together and this time it was Kingman’s turn to place second at Nationals while we were knocked out during the divisional playoffs.

OK, so now it’s 2003 and we have gotten to be pretty good friends. This year we shared not only our strategy, but our entire design. We would point out flaws in their design and they would point out the flaws in ours (Any one notice that we both had feet to grip the mesh last year?). Again we both had success in the regionals and each other to thank.

Well anyway after the 2003 season we decided to collaborate on building a new drive train (inspired by team 25) which we entered in the Cal Games under the name “Bionic Poofs” (Bionic Bulldogs + Cheesy Poofs) it was wicked fast and we found that working with a team from another state wasn’t as hard as it sounds. We shipped the robot back and forth and emailed the programming with no problems whatsoever. 

Since we had designed it together we began this season with the intension of sharing the production load and building our drive trains together.  Once again we began talking about the “how would I beat you, how would you beat me” thing and realized that neither one of us knew how this game would pan out. Eventually (actually were still refining things) we came up with what we felt was a very adaptable design which could be competitive regardless of how the game pans out and we ran with it.  

Cut to the chase and basically what you will see this year from teams 254 and 60 is a design that is compilation of the ideas that were put forth by the students and engineers from both of our teams. In “the real world” when companies are faced with large tasks they seldom act alone, they work together alongside other companies which compliment their own attributes. This year our two teams felt that we could build a better product together than either one of us could have built alone, so that is exactly what we did.

Will we continue to work together in the future? 

Of course, we are friends and we like and respect each other.

Will we work together on a level of this magnitude? 

Who knows, this is uncharted territory for FIRST (at least as far as I know). What I do know is that the kids involved with both teams have had a chance to see what it’s like to work on a project in a real world setting. We both had different strategies coming into this and we have both had to compromise along the way in order to accommodate the needs of the other team.

 To quote Amanda M (Team 60) “FIRST isn't only about the robots. It's about building relationships, partnerships, and people.”  Amanda if you came up with that on your own you are intelligent beyond your years, because that is exactly what FIRST is about and I believe that that goal is much easier accomplished together than it is alone. 

The steps we have taken towards building a unified team (and isn’t that what FIRST should really be considered?) will hopefully be followed by others, this type of  sharing of information can only serve to enlighten everyone. 

Who knows what the future will bring, right now we have the Cheesy Poofs and the Bionic Bulldogs working in unison. Will the world of FIRST one day see the Bionic Poofs? I hear there have been sightings on the West coast, who knows what’s to follow.

somehow… it seems like cheating to me

i guess it’s for the best

but honestly the first thing i thought was “that’s cheap…”


your workroom is really really neat /jealous


That was a great detailed answer to my small question. Well i perosnally i have seen both poofs and kingman work together and alone in the competition. Their Bionic Poofd robot at calgames was great this last year. I think 254 and 60 should have a great success story for current and future teams in FIRST. I like how the teams are flushing their ideas back and forth and relating which is the optimal strategy for the game. also pouring in the ideas and also feedback on each others design to create a well balanced preforming robot. I cannot wait to see them preform this year. and who knows they might work as partners this year. that will create history!
this is crazy and i am already loveing it:)

Akshay Dodeja

I want to congratulate not just on your fine work on this year’s robot, but also your courage to leap to a newer level not many people in FIRST have thought of. It is easy to talk about an idea, I’ve done it many times, including the idea of 2 teams working together to create a pair of robots that compliment each other in the competition of alliances. But to implement the idea, to make it happen, against all possible opposition from people who might consider this unfair or even “cheating”, that takes true courage, and dedication to the purpose of your program.

Those who know these two team will agree with me, they are 2 of the most successful teams in FIRST who did very well at competition, and most important of all, made a difference on their students. This collaboration effort only tells me they want to be more successful than ever, and in my opinion, did exactly that. The message I see from this isn’t “look at us, we are better than you”. Instead, I see “we understand that we can learn from each other and put both teams’ experience to create a better program for our students.” Just look at what Amanda M said in her message. I would not believe the same thing would’ve been said from a student few years ago.

I still remember a time when FIRST was about “you or me”. Students on my old team used to look down on rivalry teams and vice-versa. We used to have really bad attitudes against others who were successful in the competition. But things changed when alliance first got introduced, then even more so at 2001 with the game of 4 teams on an alliance, and finally when organizations like WRRF, SCRRF, IndianaFIRST got started. Now its about “you and me”, and the idea that effort of a group benefit each team much more than efforts of individuals fighting against each other, with the ultimate purpose of inspiring and educating the students about science and technology.

This collaboration effort is a perfect example of how much FIRST have grown. Instead of doing the same thing all the time, these two teams always strive to better themselves every yeah, and break new grounds for others to follow. That is truly inspiring. I cannot wait to see how this is going to turn out. If anything, this got me thinking about a FIRST I never imagined could be possible.

Great job! Hats off to Team 60 and 254 for something new to this program. Like most new things, there will be criticisms as well as agreements. But it only means you are getting people to start doing their own thinking.

I think the collaboration thing is cool…But I don’t like that you made identical robots and shared the work between the two teams…One of that robot scares me and you guys have just doubled my nightmares.

I agree that FIRST is intended to help spread and increase engineering knowledge, but the idea of two established teams sharing an identical design seems to have skewed the concept. I feel personally that FIRST should be about each individual team sharing the work load and the joys and the pains that come along with engineering and manufacturing its own unique design. While the idea of developing partnerships and friendships among colleagues and potential opponents is novel and advantageous, I feel that the fabrication, design, and communication that occurs as a single team creates and competes with its own robot cannot and should not be replaced.

I some what disagree but then again it is all about perspective…if you are a single team and work with a few mentors to build a robot that is considered a fine course of action in FIRST, and when I see this great partnership between two teams I think of it as they are mentoring each other. About building components for each other I also think this is fine. Knowing that at most of the regional I have been to at some point I am working on a robot that isn’t mine, and if you team has ever gotten things machined or welded at another company, I believe that all of these examples follow what these two teams are doing. I think that this is a wonderful collaboration of minds and look forward to what they will produce in the future.

the idea of collaborating in order to design a build a robot together in my oppinion goes along with exactly what the FIRST competition is all about. FIRSt isn’t about making a robot over 6 weeks, it’s not about competing against other teams, though the aredaline is awesome and the comradere built is even better, but a major component about FIRST is gracious professionalism. In my oppinion, this kind of allianceship is a wonderful thing towards fullfilling the ideals of FIRST. Kudos to Teams 60 and 254

is it different? yes. but is it cheating? no, I think its perfectly acceptable. If the friendship between two teams allows them to build a better robot through a partnership that lets everyone play to their strengths, then that is exactly the kind of interaction that FIRST should encourage. the two teams are still building the parts for two robots, just in a more specialized way. as has been said, this IS the way that things happen in real life, and I don’t think that it should be disallowed out of some antiquated need to preserve competition. My team has a long-standing friendship with Rage (173), and although we don’t go to the extent of building the robot together, I understand the benefits of a close friendship between teams and believe that under no circumstances should it be discouraged.

Congratulations on pioneering an amazing new way of approaching our competition. I have a feeling that a few years from now your two teams will be the answer to a FIRST trivia question. “Which two teams were the first to build the same robot?” Next year I’m sure many other teams will follow suit. Cost Determination
The cost of raw material obtained by a team + the cost of non-team labor expended to have the
material processed further. Team member processing labor is not included. Example: A team
purchases steel bar stock for $10.00 and has it machined by a local machine shop that donates its 2
hours of expended labor. The team must include the estimated normal cost of the labor as if it were
paid to the machine shop, and add it to the $10.00. Exception Examples: If the team members
themselves did the actual machining, there would be no associated labor cost. If the machine shop
were part of the team, its labor cost would not apply.

Does this rule mean that the two teams have to charge each other standard hourly machining rates for the parts each made for the other? What about accounting for non-team member design, programming, assembly time? If I’m reading the rules correctly, that’s the case.


I am still thinking it over, but my first impression is that generally I don’t like it. I know there are some “real world” parallels, but I don’t think they really are that close of a comparison.

I know that Team Ford has made some steps toward collaboration and coordination of chassis. I suppose other have done similar things to one extent or another.

Here is the nub of my concern: What would people think of all 16 Delphi teams having the machine that the Chief Delphi Team is making this year (or the Delphi Knights, or the TechnoKats, or whatever)?

CEO’s love to have winning teams. We all (including CEO’s) know that there is a huge luck factor in winning the Championship. Having 16 chances to win is better than having just one.

I worry that the pressure to win may increase if this type of collaboration becomes more common – up to this point, we have always been able to say that TOO close of coordination was out of the bounds of fairness… …but perhaps not.

Beyond this, I am not sure that it is good for FIRST to have 16 Chief Delphi robots out in the wild :wink:

It could be a strange new world we are entering.

Joe J.

Boy this is a rough one. On one hand I love the working together and the camaraderie that has been formed here. I like the sharing of ideas and the fact that not only one team agreed on an idea but two, Wow.

On the other hand I like the fact that we made something that is unique to our team and when we are looked at by our friends and foes we try to make them say “I would have never thought of that”. I don’t see where this adds to the challenge of developing a concept except in a communication type of way. Part of our teams mission is to uninvent the cookie cutter and I think your teams have made a better cookie cutter. Is that good or bad I have no idea.

This type of thing is what I think makes FIRST an incredible competition field. Since I haven’t checked could you build a robot from the white papers on this forum? If you could then what’s the problem of two teams going together. I think this idea will spark the most criticism from us Midwesterners since we are the more competition driven group. This whole debate has a very funny Republican / Democrat tone to it if you read it with a slight slant.

This is partially my reasoning on it.

Giving each other design tips is great. Designing two identical robots where on team produces double of one part and the other team build the other is part is where it crosses the line for me.

I love to see the innovation that each team has separately.

I could see this happening nationwide in order to make everyone more efficient and competitve. Can you imagine going to a regional where there are 50 teams but only 25 robots, just doubled? Especially since FIRST has been trying to get more media coverage to bring more people in. Can you imagine what someone might think watching this event where they watch identical robots competing with identical strategies? I would think it was dull and unimaginative.

I’ve already touched on this subject of sort when talking about with holding secrets, not that secrets should be withheld but in that FIRST is awesome because the robots are unique.

We should make one plan for every robot and everyone can make the same robot that does everything and is in the limit of the rules and this would give rookies a level playing field. The whole competition could be based on the best strategy.

I think collaboration is great, mass production goes against what FIRST is about. I urge other teams not to repeat this in the coming years. Build partnerships but don’t build each other robot. My econ teacher has went over how trading is good for everyone, but in this case I think it hurts FIRST.

Next year I would urge both 60 and 254 to use each other as sounding boards for design ideas and use each other for machining capabilities. But don’t split the workload on one robot design and then just double it. But that is only my opinion. I’d like to hear what everyone think about this one.

Yeah Scott, I can see that one. We are competition-driven in Kansas.

And Joe, Please don’t let any collaboration of this nature happen with delphi teams. I’m already starting to get scared. Many teams won’t have the resources to compete effectively if team with resources enough begin to collaborate and double their resources. I could see some pretty powerful hard to beat collaboration happening.

As a future note, may I ask that any future collaborators only collaborate with teams that go to a different regional. <edit out>You could build complimenting robots that you make a deal that if one make the top eight the other makes the alliance and they work perfectly together. Hey, I should do that. </edit out>

Too late. The answer is 254 and I think 253, the Bay City Bombers (who no longer exist) in 1999 at the first Sillicon Valley Regional. So this is not new territory for the Cheesy Poofs, just the distance has changed. BTW it should be noted that 60 and 254 won’t be at the same competition until Nationals.

I believe it was team 252. But yes, that year their robots were almost identical and placed first and second overall at the regional competition. Correct me if I am wrong.