Robot Tour C [TRIAL]

User avatar
lindsmaurer
Member
Member
Posts: 48
Joined: May 16th, 2018, 11:57 am
Division: C
State: OH
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Robot Tour C [TRIAL]

Post by lindsmaurer » December 26th, 2020, 7:51 am

My earlier point on cannot getting tiered was a response to SP1's note on what it takes to get participation points. It is more than possible, though difficult and time consuming, to build a competitive device for far less than the minimum entry estimate. Honestly, if I was doing this event, I would not start out with what I described, but my point was not that it was the fastest path, simply a way to build a device on the minimum budget.
This being said, I find it VERY intriguing that far, far, far more of these smaller rural school are participating in events like Digitals Structures over events like Robot Tour. In my opinion this speaks volumes over what the Science Olympiad community as a whole thinks.
This could say one of two things to me. It could very well mean that most schools simply cannot afford the cost of competing in robotics events, which is plausible. I have so far been reading it, though, as Digital Structure being the official replacement for Boomilever at many invitationals, and not requiring a build. It's not a waste of time and materials like Robot Tour is currently many teams.
See Nationals 2006, where 39 teams participated in Balloon Launched Glider, a trial event. Or, see Wisconsin States 2019, where 20 teams participated in Aerial Scramble.
I repeat, "for an invitational". Wisconsin has a different event structure, and that was states, and Nationals routinely has high participation in trial events.
My problem with this event is that larger and more funded teams have a much higher POTENTIAL to do well, over events like Digital Structures and Mechatronics. The buy in cost is inherently high, and building a custom robot gets very pricey unless you know EXACTLY what you need.
This will always be the issue with any build, not just robotics. What I think makes this event different is (as the trend has been with events like detector building, which in my opinion wasn't entirely successful in this) the focus shifts from the build itself to coding and competitive strategy, but it's far less subjective than something like vehicle design. I would honestly like to see this event somehow run in one of a few ways:

Each team comes in with their own modifiable code to run a preset vehicle that is made with a <$50 kit on an arduino. This would shift the focus entirely to competitive strategy, and make it affordable to run and practice for any team. It may, however, make it too easy.

A much more restrictive materials list. Lots of robotics competitions are run this way, but instead of restricting the materials to high-end, expensive products, restricting the materials to a range of affordable (still reliable) components, and requiring the inclusion of more detailed parts lists on logs would make the components for devices much more accessible (this was somewhat attempted with detector last year, but it got far too restrictive and didn't strike a balance between allowing build creativity and allowing accessibility)

I'm wasn't trying to imply that this event is perfect as is (it's not, and I understand that my earlier post minimizes that), but I feel that it's much less pay-to-win than many past build events. There are still changes that need to be made, but I feel that robotics events still deserve a place in SO, as long as the National Office can figure out a way to include less advantaged teams, and remove the variable of money as much as possible.

EDIT: note (as you probably have already lol) that these ideas are coming from someone on a team that is very fortunate, and so I'm not necessarily the resource for ideas on how to help less privileged teams. These are just what I've come up with from other events and other competitions.
Last edited by lindsmaurer on December 26th, 2020, 7:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
Solon HS Junior Captain
DMAH
Sassy #137
1-3 placements: 40
Medals + ribbons: 72
 Circuits (4), Code, Detector (1), GLM, Gravity (8), Sounds
Would’ve done first four at states ;-;
 Circuits, Code, Detector, GLM, Dynamic, Machines? Sounds? Gravity?

User avatar
BennyTheJett
Exalted Member
Exalted Member
Posts: 392
Joined: February 21st, 2019, 2:05 pm
Division: C
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Has thanked: 83 times
Been thanked: 172 times

Re: Robot Tour C [TRIAL]

Post by BennyTheJett » December 26th, 2020, 8:19 am

lindsmaurer wrote:
December 26th, 2020, 7:51 am
My earlier point on cannot getting tiered was a response to SP1's note on what it takes to get participation points. It is more than possible, though difficult and time consuming, to build a competitive device for far less than the minimum entry estimate. Honestly, if I was doing this event, I would not start out with what I described, but my point was not that it was the fastest path, simply a way to build a device on the minimum budget.
This being said, I find it VERY intriguing that far, far, far more of these smaller rural school are participating in events like Digitals Structures over events like Robot Tour. In my opinion this speaks volumes over what the Science Olympiad community as a whole thinks.
This could say one of two things to me. It could very well mean that most schools simply cannot afford the cost of competing in robotics events, which is plausible. I have so far been reading it, though, as Digital Structure being the official replacement for Boomilever at many invitationals, and not requiring a build. It's not a waste of time and materials like Robot Tour is currently many teams.
See Nationals 2006, where 39 teams participated in Balloon Launched Glider, a trial event. Or, see Wisconsin States 2019, where 20 teams participated in Aerial Scramble.
I repeat, "for an invitational". Wisconsin has a different event structure, and that was states, and Nationals routinely has high participation in trial events.
My problem with this event is that larger and more funded teams have a much higher POTENTIAL to do well, over events like Digital Structures and Mechatronics. The buy in cost is inherently high, and building a custom robot gets very pricey unless you know EXACTLY what you need.
This will always be the issue with any build, not just robotics. What I think makes this event different is (as the trend has been with events like detector building, which in my opinion wasn't entirely successful in this) the focus shifts from the build itself to coding and competitive strategy, but it's far less subjective than something like vehicle design. I would honestly like to see this event somehow run in one of a few ways:

Each team comes in with their own modifiable code to run a preset vehicle that is made with a <$50 kit on an arduino. This would shift the focus entirely to competitive strategy, and make it affordable to run and practice for any team. It may, however, make it too easy.

A much more restrictive materials list. Lots of robotics competitions are run this way, but instead of restricting the materials to high-end, expensive products, restricting the materials to a range of affordable (still reliable) components, and requiring the inclusion of more detailed parts lists on logs would make the components for devices much more accessible (this was somewhat attempted with detector last year, but it got far too restrictive and didn't strike a balance between allowing build creativity and allowing accessibility)

I'm wasn't trying to imply that this event is perfect as is (it's not, and I understand that my earlier post minimizes that), but I feel that it's much less pay-to-win than many past build events. There are still changes that need to be made, but I feel that robotics events still deserve a place in SO, as long as the National Office can figure out a way to include less advantaged teams, and remove the variable of money as much as possible.

EDIT: note (as you probably have already lol) that these ideas are coming from someone on a team that is very fortunate, and so I'm not necessarily the resource for ideas on how to help less privileged teams. These are just what I've come up with from other events and other competitions.

To counter your first point, Robot Tour is being run as a competitive event at the Wisconsin state tournament. So far, there has been 1 single team from our state to have a successful run. It's not that it's a stand alone at an invitational. Digital Structures is also being run at our state tournament, and there were far far far more in state teams signed up. I highly doubt this is just coincidence. Overall the event in its current iteration is completely unfeasible to me and other rural, poor, underfunded, small schools. This can be seen in which single Wisconsin team got a scoreable run. This school was Marquette University, a private all boys school, from what is likely the upper class citizens of Milwaukee. If this event should be rotated in, why does 1 team have a scoreable run from our state, when this event is being counted for a team score at state? There were more teams with a scoreable run in robocross from our state at Boyceville last year (an event viewed as both pay to play and pat to win). My point I'm trying to make is that this event should absolutely not be rotated in nationally as it currently sits. This is due to a lack of interest in competing and high costs to get a non-negative run. This has been and always will be a problem Scioly. I do think it's possible to make a competitive robot for less than 50 dollars, however ONLY IF YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO BUY. Most teams will do trial and error and likely buy more stuff to get a better and more competitive robot, raising the costs. It will also raise it a lot if (like Nick said) teams have to buy in bulk to get parts they need. If this event counts for Wisconsin, why aren't more Wisconsin teams doing it? The answer is obvious, in that it's too expensive for many Wisconsin teams.
These users thanked the author BennyTheJett for the post (total 7):
builderguy135 (December 26th, 2020, 8:57 am) • CPScienceDude (December 26th, 2020, 9:11 am) • sciolyperson1 (December 26th, 2020, 9:39 am) • HugoTroop (December 26th, 2020, 3:43 pm) • Nydauron (December 26th, 2020, 5:27 pm) • lindsmaurer (December 28th, 2020, 6:55 pm) • SilverBreeze (January 4th, 2021, 3:07 pm)
2021 Events:
Dynamic Planet, Fossils, Geocaching, Geologic Mapping, Water Quality,

Event Volunteering:
- Rickards Fossils C Writer/ES
- SOLVI Dynamic Planet C Cowriter/ES
- Socorro Dynamic Planet B Cowriter/ES
- River Hill Dynamic Planet C Writer/ES
- Menomonie Dynamic Plant B Writer/Grader

Rossyspsce
Member
Member
Posts: 209
Joined: June 3rd, 2018, 5:32 pm
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Robot Tour C [TRIAL]

Post by Rossyspsce » December 26th, 2020, 12:12 pm

lindsmaurer wrote:
December 26th, 2020, 7:51 am
I feel that it's much less pay-to-win than many past build events
Compared to what? Past robotics events? Because making the blanket statement "many past build events" is simply not true.

User avatar
EastStroudsburg13
Admin Emeritus
Admin Emeritus
Posts: 3183
Joined: January 17th, 2009, 7:32 am
Division: Grad
State: MD
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Has thanked: 38 times
Been thanked: 173 times
Contact:

Re: Robot Tour C [TRIAL]

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » December 26th, 2020, 12:44 pm

lindsmaurer wrote:
December 26th, 2020, 7:51 am
There are still changes that need to be made, but I feel that robotics events still deserve a place in SO, as long as the National Office can figure out a way to include less advantaged teams, and remove the variable of money as much as possible.
DISCLAIMER: The following represents my personal viewpoint, not necessarily the viewpoint of the site itself. Maybe I don't need to say that now that I'm emeritus, but I feel like I do just in case

I wanted to zero in on this specific point, because I think it gets to the core of the issue. It is fine that SO wants to try to implement robotics events, but robotics events by their very nature tend to be inequitable. Purchasing parts and going through the trial and error of what works and what doesn't adds up much more when you're trying to fit together the mechanical parts of a robot, unless you know exactly what you're doing, which in the case of these rural schools that don't already have a robotics team, is unlikely. From a standalone event standpoint, it is and will remain tremendously difficult to implement a robotics event in almost any traditional sense.

The only way to truly address this is to go deeper. As has been brought up in this thread a couple of times, the higher levels of Science Olympiad are dominated by schools that originate in affluent areas. This is not necessarily a problem per se, but it does represent an obstacle to smaller and low-income teams. As long as events remain affordable, then these schools can still get something out of the competition, striving for states qualification and individual event medals, but if an event gets more expensive, there will be teams that ask themselves: is it really worth it to spend this money only to get beaten in the long run? The answer may start to be no. And what it really comes down to is this: Science Olympiad* groups together every school, regardless of resources, into the same pot to compete. And the only way to really, truly make Science Olympiad more equitable, and to make events more equitable by proxy, is to have a nationwide A/AA split where schools with small sizes and/or low-income populations can compete against more similarly-situated schools. Aside from that, everything else is window dressing.

Now, are there challenges to implementing such a thing? You betcha. And given how decentralized NSO is, with pretty much all of the power given to the state orgs, there is very little chance anything like this can come to fruition anytime soon. But unless NSO is willing to really look internally at how the competition is set up and who sets the overall rules/regs of competition, their control over equitability is very limited. And, unfortunately, that means a traditional robotics event that is fair to students from all backgrounds is effectively impossible.

*Yes, I know some states already do an A/AA or other small school split. But while I commend these efforts, there's only so far it can go when only implemented in a few states here and there.
Last edited by EastStroudsburg13 on December 26th, 2020, 12:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
These users thanked the author EastStroudsburg13 for the post (total 14):
builderguy135 (December 26th, 2020, 12:54 pm) • BennyTheJett (December 26th, 2020, 1:00 pm) • sciolyperson1 (December 26th, 2020, 1:11 pm) • jaspattack (December 26th, 2020, 1:12 pm) • Umaroth (December 26th, 2020, 1:16 pm) • lumosityfan (December 26th, 2020, 1:39 pm) • CPScienceDude (December 26th, 2020, 2:19 pm) • HugoTroop (December 26th, 2020, 3:43 pm) • Name (December 26th, 2020, 4:23 pm) • Nydauron (December 26th, 2020, 5:27 pm) and 4 more users
East Stroudsburg South Class of 2012, Alumnus of JT Lambert, Drexel University Class of 2017

Helpful Links
Wiki
Wiki Pages that Need Work
FAQ and SciOly FAQ Wiki
Chat (See IRC Wiki for more info)
BBCode Wiki


So long, and thanks for all the Future Dictator titles!

Post Reply

Return to “Build Events”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest