Robotica & FIRST

Posted by Korey R Kline at 04/17/2001 5:30 PM EST

Engineer on team #59, Ramtech, from Miami Coral Park HS and eAc / FIU.

Two former FIRST’ers will be on episode #5 Wednesday, April 18th 9p.m.on The Learning Channel (TLC).

Dan Haeg (formerly with Team 10) and Zach Menegakis (formerly with Team 267 “Demolition Squad”). Both are now students at Carnegie Mellon University and have put together the robot called “Hamerschlag”. It’s basic design has six wheel drive powered by four 18V drill motors using Victor speed controls and Futaba Radio. Kind of a supercharged FIRST drive train!

For those of you who still feel that Battlebots is too violent, check out Robotica. It’s more task oriented than BB requiring the completion of a “Speedway” race, a “Maze”, the “Gauntlet” as well as the “Sumo” match.

I’m curious if Robotica is more to the likening of FIRST’ers?? Opinions welcome; If you own a TV, If you have cable with TLC & You actually watched the show :-).

Check out:
http://tlc.discovery.com/fansites/robotica/bio/bio_19.html

K2

Posted by James Jones at 04/18/2001 1:16 PM EST

Engineer on team #267, The Demolition Squad, from North Broward & St Andrews and Motorola.

In Reply to: Robotica & FIRST
Posted by Korey R Kline on 04/17/2001 5:30 PM EST:

My main objection to Robotica is the fact that I find the host annoying (if not insulting) in the extreme.

The task oriented nature of the competition is interesting but I think it will get old pretty quick unless they come up with new tasks. I do like the fact that they have added more engineering challenges with water hazards, projectile weapons and fire. I think battlebots whimped out on these. As a former battlebots viewer it becomes obvious almost immediately that saws and spikes really don’t do much.

Posted by Dan at 04/18/2001 3:01 PM EST

Other on team - from Carnegie Mellon sponsored by -.

In Reply to: Re: Robotica & FIRST
Posted by James Jones on 04/18/2001 1:16 PM EST:

That’s too bad that Ahmet Zappa comes off like that. If it means anything he was absolutely great in person; very interested, very respectful, and very, very funny. I think his tone is just confusing to some people, basically everything he says is tongue in cheek. I mean he knows and we know that the obstacles aren’t going to chew up the robots or anything. But he can’t just say “no need to watch out for the spikes cause they’re harmless,” so instead he just kind of goes the other way and totally hypes up everyhting. I guess it’s kind of hard to explain how I interpret him and to each his/her own I guess.
The next season of Robotica (though nothing is set yet) will be many magnitudes better and I encourage everyone to apply for being a contestant. It was way more fun than FIRST or BattleBots, though I do love both.
Dan

Posted by James Jones at 04/19/2001 10:37 AM EST

Engineer on team #267, The Demolition Squad, from North Broward & St Andrews and Motorola.

In Reply to: Re: Robotica & FIRST
Posted by Dan on 04/18/2001 3:01 PM EST:

You guys did a great job at Robotica. Say Hi to Zack for me. Hmmmmm, a low, wide robot with all wheel drive and no casters…something familiar about that…I like that design philosophy.

I am curious how the word got out to potential builders about the show and how much time and support you guys had.

Posted by Dan at 04/19/2001 11:55 AM EST

Other on team - from Carnegie Mellon sponsored by -.

In Reply to: Re: Robotica & FIRST
Posted by James Jones on 04/19/2001 10:37 AM EST:

Hehe, yeah I’m a HUGE fan of the demolition squad. I was pushing for something like your design last year and I was totally psyched to see it kick butt. Hamerschlag is pretty much just the base to my middleweight BattleBot (it was going against a superheavyweight BattleBot drivetrain in the final match.) Those were the parts I had around so those are what we used.
I heard about the competition from the Battlebots forum but I have no idea how some of the others–especially the non-robotic-competition guys–heard about it. Since we were on Christmas break when we heard we had a little over a month to do everything and we didn’t have it finished until 4am or just 4 hours before filming started. So we were ecstatic just to make it to the show. Every part of the robot, except for the drive axles, was made by Zack or myself with hand tools. We logged in over 250 hours in building time–though some of those hours were dedicated to the hammer mechanism that didn’t get finished. We were using 24V Innovation First Victors to control two 18V Dewalt drill motors per side and we actually used the Dewalt NiCD batteries without any modifications.
Dan

Posted by Chris Hibner at 04/19/2001 8:22 AM EST

Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.

In Reply to: Robotica & FIRST
Posted by Korey R Kline on 04/17/2001 5:30 PM EST:

I finally saw Robtica for the first time last night. Personally, I find the robots to be boring. In most cases, it’s difficult to call them robots since they’re mostly just drivetrains. I found that Battlebots became boring for the same reason.

After watching the robots in FIRST do some amazing things, watching a wedge with wheels go around a figure-8 just isn’t that interesting. I really think that the 1999 and 2000 FIRST games would have made much better TV than Battlebots and Robotica. I think if people see the difference in what the robots are required to do, they would find FIRST more interesting. The trick is, you have to get them to watch something for the first time so they know what’s going on. Carnage usually does a good job of getting people’s attention so Battlebots won the race to TV viewership. FIRST really needs to come up with a good TV game for next year so they can capitalize on the robot craze.

-Chris

Posted by Andy Baker at 04/19/2001 9:44 AM EST

Engineer on team #45, TechnoKats, from Kokomo High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Re: Robotica & FIRST
Posted by Chris Hibner on 04/19/2001 8:22 AM EST:

There were gome good drive trains on these robots, but also some ridiculus ones also.

We could easily screw some rubber pads to our metal treads and compete in Robotica. Also, we would add 2 sheets of LEXAN to the robot. This would take maybe 2 hours to make our robot Robotica-ready.

Figure 8… no problem

Maze… the only problem might be the water, but we would just put a LEXAN sheet over the top of TechnoKart… the 1.5" “moguls”…ha!.. how about a 4x6 mogul?

The Gauntlet… not a problem either… if we get into trouble, switch into low gear and plow right through.

The Sumo… This would be interesting. We are use to getting good traction on carpet, and this metal playing surface would be different. I’m not sure how our rubber treads would compare against the rubber wheels of the Robotica robots. We probably would simply switch into low gear. Our weakness here would be the fact that a wedge would be able to get under us… we could add a 3/8 sheet of LEXAN to guard against a wedge attack. We would still have to try and dodge a wedge attach and push from the back of our robot.

It sure would be fun to do this with a perfectly legal FIRST robot.

How do we enter?

Andy B.

Posted by Justin at 04/19/2001 10:14 AM EST

Alumni on team #146, Blue Lightning, from none and The Blue Lightning Alumni Association.

In Reply to: Hey, We can do that!
Posted by Andy Baker on 04/19/2001 9:44 AM EST:

Hey There,

I am right there with Andy and Chris. I think FIRST needs a TV game. We’ve been waiting around for so long wondering how are we going to move primetime. It’s not even an issue anymore the door is open all we need to do is walk through it. I hope Dean and FIRST are giving very serious thought to this. Once FIRST is out of the bag hold on…I think lots of people will watch and lots of sponsors will pick us up. Robots are interesting now.

I also believe their is an evolution occuring in Robot TV. If you look at it Battlebots is about total carnage…Robotics requires a little more driving skill and brains. FIRST is really the next evolution.

I would also like to see cross over from FIRST to the other competitions…because we could give some of these guys a run for their money. Lot’s of the Battlebots builders seem a little cocky…imagine them getting cut down to size by a FIRST team…I think that’d be great :slight_smile:

My thoughts,

-Justin

Posted by Andy Baker at 04/19/2001 10:52 AM EST

Engineer on team #45, TechnoKats, from Kokomo High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: With you Both
Posted by Justin on 04/19/2001 10:14 AM EST:

There are two main issues here:

  1. Making FIRST mass-media-friendly

  2. Getting FIRST teams to compete with/against the BattleBots and Roboticas on TV.

The first issue is HUGE. The second is just something that would be nice. Maybe there is a connection there… if enough of us FIRST teams would compete in Robotica or Battlebots, then maybe FIRST would get more attention.

I think that we all need to focus on first issue above, as Jason has said and get FIRST more TV friendly. This really depends on the design of next year’s game, which is being developed right now, I think. For this reason… we all really need to focus on this issue and drive it home to FIRST.

We gotta have a game that any spectator can understand. It’s plain and simple… everything else is secondary.

I will start another thread on this issue, so things may be clearer, and FIRST may notice.

Andy B.

Posted by Ken Patton at 04/19/2001 7:27 PM EST

Engineer on team #65, The Huskie Brigade, from Pontiac Northern High School and GM Powertrain.

In Reply to: Exactly!
Posted by Andy Baker on 04/19/2001 10:52 AM EST:

How about an all-star lineup of FIRST students+teachers+engineers coming up with some designs for BB or Robotica - I have no doubt they would be competitive. Find a group of high school students willing to build the machines, and try for a season of domination of BB and Robotica.

The robots could be named:
www.firstrules.org
www.deansright.org
www.graciousp.org
or something that sneakily educates all the WWF fans watching on TV…

I’d donate some shop time for that…

Posted by Chris Hibner at 04/20/2001 8:40 AM EST

Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.

In Reply to: a crazy idea
Posted by Ken Patton on 04/19/2001 7:27 PM EST:

If anyone wants to try this, I’d be willing.

: How about an all-star lineup of FIRST students+teachers+engineers coming up with some designs for BB or Robotica - I have no doubt they would be competitive. Find a group of high school students willing to build the machines, and try for a season of domination of BB and Robotica.

: The robots could be named:
: www.firstrules.org
: www.deansright.org
: www.graciousp.org
: or something that sneakily educates all the WWF fans watching on TV…

: I’d donate some shop time for that…

Posted by Andy Baker at 04/20/2001 9:03 AM EST

Engineer on team #45, TechnoKats, from Kokomo High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: That would be fun
Posted by Chris Hibner on 04/20/2001 8:40 AM EST:

Ooooh,

I’m in! Or, rather, I’ll volunteer team 45 to be in. I’m sure that I will get some help from our students and coaches also.

And we can start the design out with something similar to our team’s frame from this past year. We used the “Item” style extrusion, and it worked great. We have some parts made for a second drive base, but it never got made… I have the CAD prints also.

Our team will handle the frame.

We need to talk about what sorts of motors and tires (or treads) we would use… and are we going to switch gears?

Who else is in?

Andy B.

Posted by Joe Johnson at 04/20/2001 9:45 AM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: I’m in!
Posted by Andy Baker on 04/20/2001 9:03 AM EST:

BBR = Battle Bot Robot (I just made it up :wink:

I am sure that most FIRST teams could make better robots out of their spare parts inventory than nearly all the battle bot have on their real deal.

Just my 2 cents.

Joe J.

Posted by Nola Garcia at 04/20/2001 2:29 PM EST

Other on team #59, RAMTECH, from Miami Coral Park and Environmental Aeroscience.

In Reply to: spare parts would make great BBR’s
Posted by Joe Johnson on 04/20/2001 9:45 AM EST:

: BBR = Battle Bot Robot (I just made it up :wink:

: I am sure that most FIRST teams could make better robots out of their spare parts inventory than nearly all the battle bot have on their real deal.

: Just my 2 cents.

: Joe J.

If anyone is interested, there is a FIRST team that HAS alreadycompeted in BattleBots. Team #59 has competed in the last two seasons. Not to brag, but we did really well. The last season we had 4 robots compete and we earned over $10,000.00 in appearance fees and they are making a toy out of our robot Rammstein, and we will get $$ from that as well. We actually used some of the $$ for the kids on our FIRST team. People in the BB community recognize FIRST for the great program that it is. When our drivers had an opportunity to take a cheap shot and they chose not to the other builders and drivers made comments that they knew the drivers had integrity because they were former FIRST team members who had graduated. Yes, FIRST teams do very well in the BB arena. In fact some of our kids are building robots for the summer high school competition for Battlebots this summer. They take what they learn at FIRST and make great robots with that knowledge. They also bring gracious professionalism into the BB arena.

Posted by colleen - T190 at 04/20/2001 4:22 PM EST

Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science and WPI.

In Reply to: I’m in!
Posted by Andy Baker on 04/20/2001 9:03 AM EST:

The FIRSTers of WPI have been doing A LOT of talking about getting in the BattleBots scene…

And after watching Robotica… it seems less creative robot and more driving ability (aka for the ‘Fight to the Finish’… let’s talk out-manuvering)…

As a girl who’s ready to get driving again…(and in a defensive&strategical game)… let’s go :wink:

Posted by Deej- T190 at 04/24/2001 10:27 AM EST

Engineer on team #190, Gompeii, from Mass Academy and WPI.

In Reply to: I’m in!
Posted by Andy Baker on 04/20/2001 9:03 AM EST:

Ready and willing, I’d spend my entire summer doing that…Coll was right when saying that there are many WPI FIRSTers really considering it. There have been a few guys on my floor discussing it as well, and want people from FIRST to join them cause they know we have experience. All I ask for is the “whirling mace of death” and a FAST driveline…

Posted by Tim Baird at 04/24/2001 12:12 PM EST

Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science and WPI.

In Reply to: Re: I’m in!
Posted by Deej- T190 on 04/24/2001 10:27 AM EST:

I’m definitely in on this. I would love to see some actual competition after this past years game. You guys got one more WPI person to help you now.
Tim Baird