Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby aubrey048 on Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:25 pm

How do states get neat trial events like this?? (Robot arm looks awesome) I ask because my state (Alabama) never seems to get any . . .
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby robotman on Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:57 pm

Most times I think they just decide to run it based off if they have a proctor willing to do it and if they want to run extra events*


*This info is my opinion and not based off of true facts but inferences and observations
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby kjhsscioly on Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:29 pm

Does anyone else's state run robot ramble instead of sumo bots?
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby twototwenty on Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:18 am

Apparently, robot arm is tentatively replaceing mission possible, and fermi questions are replacing sumo bots :?: :?: :?: I got this from the mission possible forum, 2011-2012 topic.
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby Flavorflav on Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:26 am

robotman09 wrote:Most times I think they just decide to run it based off if they have a proctor willing to do it and if they want to run extra events*


*This info is my opinion and not based off of true facts but inferences and observations

I believe that state directors are sometimes asked to run specific trial events by nationals, when national is considering adoption. I also believe that sometimes it works the other way - states propose an event and are asked to demonstrate its feasibility by running it as a trial.
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby chalker on Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:02 am

Flavorflav wrote:I believe that state directors are sometimes asked to run specific trial events by nationals, when national is considering adoption. I also believe that sometimes it works the other way - states propose an event and are asked to demonstrate its feasibility by running it as a trial.


That pretty accurately describes the process.
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby kcanvan on Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:44 am

Is there any way to do this event on a tight budget? Our school literally has no budget for Science Olympiad, and we weren't able to do Sumo this year because of it..
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby Primate on Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:58 am

kcanvan wrote:Is there any way to do this event on a tight budget? Our school literally has no budget for Science Olympiad, and we weren't able to do Sumo this year because of it..

Mr. Chalker found a pretty nifty solution. You'll have to scrape together the $40, however; I highly doubt you'll be able to do this event for any less.
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby Flavorflav on Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:28 am

I am moving the below to this thread, as it seems more appropriate.
chalker wrote:
Flavorflav wrote:I have to disagree with this comment, since I doubt that any stock arm I am aware of would be competitive with a custom-build. I suspect that most of them are both too short and too slow to accomplish much of the task and usually costs a lot more than $40.


Competitive is a very relative term. I've interacted with teams that consistently medal at nationals, and treat SO as a year round, varsity level sports, as well as teams at the other end of the spectrum that can't pull together 15 competitors and start looking seriously at the rules just a few weeks prior to the regional competition.

While a stock arm won't be competitive at the national level, for the majority of the regional tournaments and teams it would be more than sufficient to allow them to compete at a reasonable level.

The one I was referring to on Amazon.com (search for "OWI Robotic Arm Edge") costs $37.43 with free shipping. It has a reach of 12.6 inches (~32cm) and lifting capacity of 100g. By my calculations, the arm only needs to reach ~30cm to get to the front edge of the east and west goals. I can't speak to how fast it moves, but the bottom line is that out of the box it would be capable of getting more than half the points in the event, which in my opinion could be considered a competitive, cost effective option for the majority of the something like 6000 teams that compete each year in SO.

If 32 cm is measured from the center of the device's base, I do not think this is long enough for the court described in the trial rules. By my calculations the edge of the field at the midline is about 47 cm away from the center of the robot square, so allowing about 12 cm for the goal that is 35 cm to the nearest point. If the base of the robot is small you could maybe move it a little closer, but only towards the midline - if you move it towards one goal you move it away from the other, and the north goal and bonus box would be completely out of reach. One partial solution would be to allow the arm to travel within the robot box, instead of requiring a stationary base. This would allow teams to mount their arm on a very simple chassis (which could be a cheap RC car for another $10) and at least be able to hit the two near goals.
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby chalker on Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:39 pm

Flavorflav wrote:If 32 cm is measured from the center of the device's base, I do not think this is long enough for the court described in the trial rules. By my calculations the edge of the field at the midline is about 47 cm away from the center of the robot square, so allowing about 12 cm for the goal that is 35 cm to the nearest point. If the base of the robot is small you could maybe move it a little closer, but only towards the midline - if you move it towards one goal you move it away from the other, and the north goal and bonus box would be completely out of reach. One partial solution would be to allow the arm to travel within the robot box, instead of requiring a stationary base. This would allow teams to mount their arm on a very simple chassis (which could be a cheap RC car for another $10) and at least be able to hit the two near goals.


I think you are missing the forest for the trees here. The original claims were that this event is too complicated and/or expensive. In a brief search online, I found a robot arm this is cheap and able to compete in the event. Sure it might require some minor modifications to make it reach further (it does come as a kit to build), or some creative handling of picking up the objects at one end and then just barely getting the other end into the goals. Or there might be other cheap toy robot arms available with further reach.

The bottom line is that this event IS generally affordable and accessible to the majority of teams who only compete at a regional level.
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby Flavorflav on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:00 am

What do you think about the idea of letting the arm move within the box? I think that it opens up more low-end solutions to the problem without violating the spirit.
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby jander14indoor on Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:17 pm

Has anyone seen an actual contest. Have feedback on participating in the event? I've seen one, but as you'll see from my description below, learning was minimal!

Was held in region 8 here in Michigan last weekend, 3 teams showed.

One had a device made of construx, no power, no movement, contolled by wish power. Got the 15 points for not knocking over the goal boxes, maxed the first tie breaker with no motors (less motors wins), yelled stop at 1.5 seconds or so for the second tiebreaker.

Second team had a shoe with a magazine rolled up in it, a calculator and a I-pod earbud. Again no motor, the caluclator met the battery limit and controlled by wish. Again maxed the first tie breaker with no motors, didn't recognize the second on time so they didn't say stop till 20 seconds or so.

Third team had a working robot, started with the Vex system I think, pick up was an electromagnet. Met all other requirements. Not very controllable, tended to be jerky, bad. Had trouble turning the electromagnet on and off. Knocked over one goal box, and accidentally sent a number of items in the north zone. Then knocked some out of play. Ended up with 6 items in the north zone and two upright goal boxes for 16 points and the win. For the last minute I was praying they wouldn't knock anything else out because they'd lose the tiebreaker with three motors!! I hated to see the only active attempt lose!

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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby chalker7 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:50 pm

Jeff, Very interesting. I wonder if there will be more participation at the State and National competitions. How does Robot Arm compare to other trial events ran in the same regional in years past? Have teams participated more with simpler building events or test/lab events?
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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby rjm on Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:18 pm

Robot Arm was run at Grand Valley in B Division last Saturday. There were three or four entires, but I didn't get to see any of them; I working in Towers all day. The folks in Region 12 should have some information.

We considered buying the OWI kit and trying it, but when I layed out the field to scale in AutoCAD and checked the reach to each goal, we realized that the OWI kit couldn't reach much of anything, so we dropped the idea. I found some arm kits online for which were fairly expensive which could reach better. It's hard to justify spending much money on the trial events.

I ran a trial event called "Catch It!" at the Towers venue, we got 16 teams to participate (out of 75). It is a wood structure event based on impact loading which is low cost and has lots of room for innovation. Teams seem okay with trials which are quick and cheap to try.

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Re: Robot Arm B/C [Trial]

Postby illusionist on Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:51 pm

When it becomes an event, as a student, I think Robot Arm will receive similar responses as seen in Sumo Bots; possible better. But, even though I was on the team each year, I still liked to do some trial events every year. I'll find some really interesting, like Out and Back in 2009, and I'll do it if I have an open time slot. So I agree that quick, cheap, fun trial events will receive a strong following.
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