What's with all of the code and CAD releases over the last couple weeks?

You might have noticed the sudden burst of teams posting links to their prior year’s code and CAD drawings on Chief Delphi. Wondering why? Read on.

R14 of the 2017 Rules states:

Software and mechanical/electrical designs created before Kickoff are only permitted if the source files (complete information sufficient to produce the design) are available publicly prior to Kickoff.

While we don’t know what the rules are for 2018, that section has been present for many years. Odds are you’ll see a similar section again next Saturday.

So, if you have that regional-winning robot vision library, or that crazy 5 CIM continuously variable gearbox from last year’s bot, and want to use it on this year’s robot, you need to publish the design.

What does *publish *mean? The examples in the rules all say:

  • post it in a generally accessible public forum
  • make the code available to all Teams

A story. A couple years ago at a competition I was asked to consult on a robot’s control system issue. We spent quite a bit of time going through the source code of the robot to see what the issue was. Reading the source code, it was clear to me that the code represented many years worth of work.

After the competition, I took a look around for the team’s code, and wasn’t able to find it online anywhere. That’s not right.

The concept behind R14 is that the work product – the robot and its code – represents the work of the current team. Sharing of designs and source code helps level the playing field and increases the quality of robots from all teams. It deliberately reduces the (big) advantage that veteran teams have over new ones.

Finally, a personal note. I love reading team’s robot code, and would love to see more published code to look at.

So, there you go. Publishing your code and designs = good.

At this point the inspector realized there would need to be yet another new rule.

As long as he had his towel.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

All of 3946’s code (not only competition, but our air cannon and such) is always available on our github account. Our summer bootcamp version of the code for our 2017 robot is an example of well-written java command-based code.

Hey, uh, Marshall? Team 2059 would like to have a talk. Says you guys should stick to what you do best, and let them worry about their stuff.

They sent a Vogon poet to deliver the message.

We used to keep a copy of our code pasted to back of the boiler room door, but were worried about leaks.

From the boiler or the students?