Robot Arm C

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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by illusionist » February 29th, 2012, 2:59 pm

OldSpice wrote:
FueL wrote:Could anyone clarify on the meaning of "quality of technical documents" (the second tiebreak)? Assuming everything listed on the rules is included, are there any specific areas in the documents that would give a team an edge if they were particularly excellent?
I wouldn't really worry about that unless you're getting perfect scores with your arm.
That's not true. Suppose you get points for just bringing in an arm and having documentation. Another team also brings in a nonfunctional arm and documentation. You're both tied for points.

I would look for scale, detail, descriptions, overall amount of time spent on it, and finally accuracy,
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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by chalker7 » February 29th, 2012, 4:35 pm

illusionist wrote: I would look for scale, detail, descriptions, overall amount of time spent on it, and finally accuracy,
This is not an official clarification but illusionist sounds about right to me...
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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by chalker » February 29th, 2012, 7:19 pm

Ron_Swanson wrote: For what its worth, a robot that simply had a large plate on the front with a linear actuator (pneumatic, solenoid or motor w/ gear rack) that just pushed the nails and batteries into the north zone and did nothing else would score 24 points (9 items in north zone and 15 for the boxes not being knocked over) with only 1 motor. This score would have placed 6th in our region. Again, there were 15 teams who competed in this event.

Sometimes it pays not to overcomplicate things...
I'm glad you pointed this out, since I haven't seen it publicly mentioned before. We discussed exactly this concept when we created the rules and deliberately allowed for it, particularly since a lot of people were complaining that to compete at all in this event required far too much time, cost and expertise.

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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by chalker » February 29th, 2012, 7:22 pm

FueL wrote:Could anyone clarify on the meaning of "quality of technical documents" (the second tiebreak)? Assuming everything listed on the rules is included, are there any specific areas in the documents that would give a team an edge if they were particularly excellent?

I think we were deliberately vague on this in order to give the individual event supervisors some leeway to break ties... my recommendation is to treat this like it's going to be provided to some random person off the street. The more descriptive / easier it is to understand / visualize, the better the 'quality' in my mind. Keep in mind though that TOO much info can also be a bad thing.

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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by Ron_Swanson » March 1st, 2012, 11:34 am

OldSpice wrote:
FueL wrote:Could anyone clarify on the meaning of "quality of technical documents" (the second tiebreak)? Assuming everything listed on the rules is included, are there any specific areas in the documents that would give a team an edge if they were particularly excellent?
I wouldn't really worry about that unless you're getting perfect scores with your arm.
Actually we had to use the technical documents to settle 3 ties at our regional. Two teams had 19 points and 5 motors and 4 teams had zero points (2 with 4 motors and 2 with 5). Generally, it was easy to determine whose documents where better since in all cases one of the teams submitted handwritten documents that were clearly done on the bus ride, while the other had more professional looking documents made using CAD and Excel. Also, it seemed odd to apply the # of motors tiebreaker to teams that scored zero points. I would think that it would be more appropriate to go directly to the documents tiebreaker unless the teams scored at least one point. It seems weird to reward the team that used fewer motors when neither design actually did anything. Granted, this would probably have little effect on the overall standings and would only effect the rankings of teams that were out of medal contention anyway.

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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by chalker7 » March 1st, 2012, 1:33 pm

Ron_Swanson wrote:
OldSpice wrote:
FueL wrote:Could anyone clarify on the meaning of "quality of technical documents" (the second tiebreak)? Assuming everything listed on the rules is included, are there any specific areas in the documents that would give a team an edge if they were particularly excellent?
I wouldn't really worry about that unless you're getting perfect scores with your arm.
Actually we had to use the technical documents to settle 3 ties at our regional. Two teams had 19 points and 5 motors and 4 teams had zero points (2 with 4 motors and 2 with 5). Generally, it was easy to determine whose documents where better since in all cases one of the teams submitted handwritten documents that were clearly done on the bus ride, while the other had more professional looking documents made using CAD and Excel. Also, it seemed odd to apply the # of motors tiebreaker to teams that scored zero points. I would think that it would be more appropriate to go directly to the documents tiebreaker unless the teams scored at least one point. It seems weird to reward the team that used fewer motors when neither design actually did anything. Granted, this would probably have little effect on the overall standings and would only effect the rankings of teams that were out of medal contention anyway.
Out of curiosity, what was the situation with the 4 teams scoring 0 points? Were their robots broken, poorly designed, poorly constructed, poor strategy or did something else go wrong? I may be assuming too much, but if they went to the trouble of physically building the robot and putting documentation together, I would guess they would be at least able to push an object or two into the north zone.
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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by jander14indoor » March 1st, 2012, 6:37 pm

All they have to do is have a power or control failure and nothing would happen. I saw a lot of those last year at regionals. They still get participation points as a minimum. They may get higher team points that way too. Better than tiered!

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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by chalker7 » March 1st, 2012, 9:00 pm

jander14indoor wrote:All they have to do is have a power or control failure and nothing would happen. I saw a lot of those last year at regionals. They still get participation points as a minimum. They may get higher team points that way too. Better than tiered!

Jeff Anderson
Livonia, MI
I definitely agree, I'm not trying to judge them remotely or anything. In fact, I'm just putting myself in their shoes and feel really bad for them by assuming they put a lot of time and work into the devices without scoring any points.

A few questions not just for Jeff or Ron_Swanson (obviously a great name), but everyone who has participated (either as a judge or competitor) in Robot Arm at a regional competition (also feel free to share this info after your state tournaments). I know they are kind of dense, but they will help us edit things for next year a lot. We'll ask for this feedback again in other formats, so don't be too stressed about answering now. Also feel free to send them as a PM to me if you don't feel comfortable posting it as a public message.

Approximately how many teams participated in the event (in particular, as a percentage of the overall number of teams at the tournament)?
What was the maximum/winning score?
What were the approximate (or exact) median and mean scores?
How many teams had devices that did not score any points? What were the reasons for these teams not scoring points?
Was the documentation generally good or did a lot of it appear to be made on the bus ride that morning? Did many teams simply not have documentation?
In your opinion, is the event too difficult, the correct level of difficulty or too easy?
Based on the overall experience of all the teams at the tournament, is there anything that you would change in the rules? Put another way, are there any glaring issues in the rules that affect a large number of teams?
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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by harryk » March 1st, 2012, 9:19 pm

jander14indoor wrote:All they have to do is have a power or control failure and nothing would happen. I saw a lot of those last year at regionals. They still get participation points as a minimum. They may get higher team points that way too. Better than tiered!

Jeff Anderson
Livonia, MI
Yeah that's what happened to me at the first invitational. After practing my battery exploded 2 hours prior to competition :D
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Re: Robot Arm C

Post by ichaelm » March 2nd, 2012, 2:41 am

That reminds me. I used to recommend lithium polymer batteries, because they're getting cheaper and can supply enough current for almost anything. I don't recommend them anymore, if you're the kinda person who makes stupid mistakes like me. Because sometimes you forget to balance them. And then sometimes when you charge them one of the cells gets overcharged. And then the whole pack catches on fire so you have to run and throw it in the lake because you can't think of any other safe place to put it. And then the water quality people start looking at you disapprovingly. So, especially since weight isn't an issue this year, I'm gonna stick with NiMH or similar for the rest of the year, and I urge other careless people to do the same!

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