What are judges looking for to win the Engineering Excellence Award?

I am preparing a binder containing CAD files for both the current robot and past configurations, the process team members took to design the specific components, and pictures of them being designed and tested. Is there anything else I should include that the judges look for? Also, how is the award presented. Do I just wait in the pits for the judges? Is this an award I should dress up for similar to chairmans? Thanks for your help.

We got the award through the documentation process of our Open Alliance thread and explaining our overall design thought process. We didn’t dress up for anything or prepare for it besides making a separate tech binder to document specifics. Still, during the award ceremony, they mentioned the build blog and process, so that’s mostly our guess.

In terms of something more “unique”, I walked the judges through and had them read our build blog to help show them our process lol.

Besides that, if you build a good robot and document well, you’ll get the award as a byproduct.

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First off, welcome to Chief Delphi! Hope you get some use out of the forum.

As for answering your question, the Excellence in Engineering award is judged by pit interviews and match observation, with all the other Machine, Creativity, and Innovation awards. The judges responsible for it will generally visit the pit and try to find a student to answer their questions, so if you want to be there to answer those questions that’s up to your team. The criteria for the award can be found on FIRST’s website here.

It would be a little unusual to dress up specifically for the Excellence in Engineering Award, but hey, maybe that’s what would help you stand out!

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Excellence in Engineering or Engineering Inspiration? For Excellence in Engineering there isnt any kind of formal presentation needed, it is something the judges decide based on their interaction with your team in the pits. It appears you are on a team that competes in Districts, if you win Engineering Inspiration at a District event you then give a presentation at your District Championship for it. It is very easy to get these two awards mixed up with their names being very similar. For the Excellence in Engineering, having the documentation showing your entire process from CAD through manufacturing is always helpful. If you cant be in the pits yourself, then having the other students in the pits know about the binder and being able to walk through the process shown in the binder is your best bet since you dont know exactly when the judges are going to show up.

Extending GKratkov’s point, the FIRST website criteria is great, but the language is still kinda vague at first so I added some commentary here.

“The designs reflect an engineering solution to a specific problem, and it is functional and practical.”

  • The core question is “what problem does your robot solve?” or " what did your team decide your robot needs to do at the beginning of the build season?"
  • How do you prove to the judges your robot is good at what it’s engineered to do?

“A team must be able to describe the engineering process they went through and can trace elements of the designs from conception.”

  • You’re trying to communicate to the judges a nuanced story about how you went from “the robot needs to do this” to “this is how the robot is going to do this”.
  • Support your decision making with testable conclusions. “We considered two options and found option B to have the most success according to these criteria…” will be received better than “we couldn’t get option A to work exactly how we liked so we ended up going with option B.”
  • Generally: demonstrate that your design is intentional. Every part on your robot exists for a justifiable reason.

"The designs are elegant and advantageous on the field of play. "

  • Why do the design decisions made when engineering your robot provide an advantage to the alliances your team is on?
  • Usually, every design concept has numerous practical ways to execute in real life. Why is your execution of your robot better than potential alternative executions?

Note: you’re allowed to tour-around and operate your robot while the judges are in your pit. Is the story about the engineering process behind your robot best described through a page-by-page binder, or would physically demonstrating functions and design decisions of the robot in person be more practical, effective, and exciting?

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