Judging FIRST

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar George Turner says:

    My friend produces robot battle kits for schools, where the students build the weapons on top of a sturdy, powerful frame. One of his goals is to have the robots controlled via the Internet so students can take part from classrooms across the US.

    His current bots use skid steering like a wheeled tank, but there’s a very cute dual-differential gearing that can converts a two-motor drive system into forward-back/steering (link). Given the size and mass of our bots, we’d probably have to go with large RC car differentials or just machine our own. Forward-back and steering is easier to operate and a better match to most RC transmitters that have a ratcheted joystick on the left for throttle and a spring return joystick on the right for steering.Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    Reading this post made me long for the old tv show, name not remembered, where remote control robots would fight in an arena. Battle Bots maybe? The current “robot games” are just bogus.Report

  3. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    “what else should teams do besides build a robot and drive it? They should create a comprehensive business plan. They should create a marketing theme for the team and work that branding into the whole team, including the robot. ”

    About 60% of what I do as an engineer is communicate. I need to talk to the scientists to understand what it is we’re trying to do, and what performance numbers absolutely-positively-MUST be exact, and which ones can be off by .010″, .100″, 1.000″, and so on. Then I need to talk to the shop guys and say “okay, this number has to be exactly matched, this one can float a bit, this one can just be whatever” and we work out what of those is achievable and how hard it’s going to be. Then I talk to the requirements guys and we figure out how to write all this up in a way that’s testable and measurable, so that we can know that it will work *before* we launch it into space.

    Note that, so far, none of this requires math, and all of it requires talking. The most complicated math I’ve done in a long time is trigonometry, and that was just to figure out a triangular shape.

    That’s not to say that those engineering classes weren’t useful! Anyone can follow a cookbook formula to design something, but when the scientists want something that’s not in the cookbook, you need to understand why that cookbook formula exists, which tells you what parts of it you can violate.Report

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