It seems that every SINGLE time I bring up our robotics competitions and what we do, regardless of who I’m talking too (students, adults, teachers), no joke 9 out of 10 people ask if we can put saws on our robots and then proceed to talk about how cool that would be. Then I try to explain what a bad idea that would be because you could only compete one match after 6 weeks of building and $2000 of parts. Its really quite amusing.
I’m curious as to how many other people hear the same thing from “non-firsters.”
haha, then after you say you are not allowed to do that because it is specifically in the rules, they always seem disappointed. One of my teachers then asked if we could put an EMP on the bot and I told him is actually says “no EMPS” in the manual.
I think it is because those types of contests made it into the mainstream culture and have stayed there as the frame of reference. Because people are familiar with that and enjoy those contests, it takes a while for them to understand FRC and get the bigger picture. That’s why elevator speeches are so important and why team outreach makes a difference. And that is because - we are hoping to make an impact on careers, industries, mindsets, communities - regarding that bigger picture. The robots are a great way to open doors to the opportunities and possibilities available, but the team members have to prepared to open those doors in front of them.
I always say something similar to what you said. And, yeah, I get it all the time. The worst is when I say “I don’t want something I spent x amount of time and x amount of money on to be destroyed in three minutes” and they think for a second and say “Then build it better than everyone else’s”.
I always try to explain what it’s about and if they really don’t get it, I give them a link (if I’m talking online through a chat) or show them a picture of our robot. And Yes, I do carry pictures of our robot around
We just had a fund raiser today. And we were, once again, asked if we were like battle bots. There seems to be a strange connection between irrational violence and robot interest. It doesn’t help that, as part of a class in middle school, kids build machines to do different tasks then get to destroy them in various ways in an almost demolition derby. They’re not robots, but I think a lot of kids still like the concept of dropping bricks and chucking basketballs on things.
Many of the people who ask this are high school kids who don’t really care about things like FIRST’s vision; they just like to dream up cool things like battle bot robots. It’s often impossible to tell them much more about what we really do, unless they’re someone like an adult that actually has interest.
I was filling a person in at our regional this weekend and they said, “So when does this program relate to the robots you would see on TV that would tear each other apart.” And I just groaned and said “Battlebots?”
I think next time I’m asked I’ll respond with something like this:
“Well, let’s look at evolution. First cavemen hit each other with clubs, and now we’re building technology. In Battlebots, we’re cavemen. In FIRST, we managed to go through 2000 years of history into the new age of using technology to help others.”