Mechanical Resonance

Posted: January 6, 2013 in Fridge Note

More important things than footerballs:

Stop Work Day is Febba 19th.  Wisconsin Regional competitions are March 21-23.

There’s a lot to do.

  1. Yay! There’s nothing so satisfying as seeing games played by your robot slaves.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© says:

    NOW they are.

  3. Also, trash-talking aside, I am serious about that first line. Money aside, footer is a game. The kids building these robots are the geniuses to come.

  4. All readers of this blog should try to come up for the Wisconsin Regionals. I AM SERIOUSPANTS ABOUT THIS. It’s a ton of fun.

  5. mikey says:

    In light of the title of this post, I firmly expect you to name your robot “Little Suzi”…

  6. oakdilettante says:

    hola dood

  7. Dangit, I was going to watch the whole URGH tonight.

    However, I was referring to the Bastard “sexy robot” lonk.

  8. If I was paying attention to this blog, I would yell at OBS for blogwhoring. Because, of course, I have NEVER done such, nope nope nope.

  9. mikey says:

    One of the sillier and more pointless suggestions that comes up now and then in gun control discussions is to ban the .50 BMG rifles that are fairly popular among well heeled long range shooters and military snipers. It’s silly because these are VERY expensive rifles that are five feet long and weigh thirty pounds that fire a round that costs five bucks each. Nobody outside a war zone has ever been killed with one.

    But the point here is that .50 BMG is technically an anti-materiel round. If we’re going to get armed drones and robots and autonomous vehicles and intelligent machines I think I’m going to want to get something that can kill them. I don’t want to end up going against an armored hunter killer with a shovel…

  10. mikey says:

    Holy crap. The whole deal this weekend might come down to who’s got the crappiest kicker.

    That’s just stupid…

  11. mikey says:

    All week the sports talk mouth breathers (you know, the ones who refer to the home team as “we” as if they’re ever anywhere closer to the field than Pizza Hut) have argued for keeping David Akers because he was so good LAST YEAR.

    Jeezus. We’re talking about a playoff game where six points could make the difference between going home or advancing. What “we” need is a kicker who can be counted on within forty yards. Anything else is just stupidity…

  12. Chuckles says:

    I’ve heard from my ladyfriend that the points value of the three levels of the pyramids are worth 10, 20, and 30 points in this year’s competition. Like the minibots and inflatable ring/triangle/square game, I think FIRST has managed to break their game with these point assignments. To be an effective player in the competition two years ago, all you had to do was ignore the rings and get your minibot up the pole. It was worth so many points that you could not beat it with the rings.

    This year, climbing the pyramid is worth so many points that it would be almost impossible to beat someone that climbed it by shooting the frisbees. You would have to nail the smallest goal more than 6 times to beat a good climbing bot. Given the rules about defensive play, there are going to be sturdy robots that aim only to disrupt accurate bots on the other team. If you had a team of one sturdy rambot, one mediocre or worse shootybot, and one excellent climbing bot, you will probably win by preventing the other bots from shooting, and then ascending the tower.

    I have tried to impress upon the coach that the climbing should be the highest priority. Let the teams with more resources work out shootybots.

    • Our analysis of the potential points shows different. We have conceptualized a shooting robot that can score 30 points in autonomous mode alone. A few more points during gameplay, and a simple, stupid climbing mode that gets it a mere 4 inches off the ground, and the robot might rack up 70 points on its own.

      The prior years, the minibots were important and could tip a game; but what was seen in competition was that quick, accurate scoring could rack up so many points during normal play that the endgame points weren’t always the deciding factor.

      And dedicating a robot toward climbing takes it out of gameplay. No frisbees, no defense. Scoring 30 points will not be easy on that either, the entire robot has to be able to be above the 60″ bar.

      So, I disagree Chuckles. Our team initially thought the same thing, though, but as we continued to play out game scenarios, the frisbee scoring became more dominant.

  13. mikey says:

    I think it ought to be like ice dancing, or rhythmic gymnastics (stay with me here). You build the most amazingly capable robot you can and have 10 minutes to perform. Maybe, like in figure skating, you have some compulsories just to keep everybody honest. Then the judges just score the performance. That way you could get some genuine breakthrough capabilities instead of everybody trying to improve on the same set of skills.

    Of course, no French judges would be allowed to participate…

    • Well, sure, except that’s not at all what Kamen wants to do with FIRST:

      “To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”

      Dean Kamen, Founder


      Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

      The robots are the bait, to get kids excited about STEM and the process teaches real-world problem solving and collaborative skills. The framework of a team sport enables it to be modeled after sports activities, with the crowd participation and noise and sensory assault; and the Alliance Team arrangements demonstrate to kids how they can compete while also conforming to the collaborative ideals of “Gracious Professionalism”.

      Dean Kamen will tell you himself, in fact he generally does in every appearance, that the LAST thing he is concerned with is the robots.

      • mikey says:

        Well, as much as that might make sense, I am concerned with them. People, with their soft flesh and skeleton on the INSIDE are dangerous enough…

  14. Chuckles says:

    The catch about only being allowed to hold four frisbees at a time kind of holds the shooty bots back a little, but it does prevent teams from grabbing a ton of frisbees and then camping. You could hold a hopper full and then wait until the last second to rapid fire a dozen or so discs.

    Yo do make some very good points. I will swing by the lab tomorrow to talk tactics. I’m curious about their progress. The guys and gals are aiming to work out both shooting and climbing.

    • I agree about the holding frisbees rule. But that is similar to the rules about basketballs from last year, so it isn’t really much of a change. It makes it more urgent to be able to pick up ‘bees.

      Camping is really not a viable strategy in the last few years. I think the game designers do an awesome job of making that an unattractive option.

      What team is your “LadyFriend” working with? We are working with 2830, which is a later team. this is the teams fifth year, but the third with me on the team (i am sure it is entirely coincidental that the years I have participated, are the most successful and constructive years for the team) And then, the next question is why are you not being a Mentor for that team? The Robo-Stache.

    • Also, our analysis is dependent on what our kids want to do. It’s not universal, or invariable, or even right. It’s what our kids, have decided is the best way to do. As mentors, we try to guide their decisions, but also allow them to make the final determinations as much as we can. Right now, they want to do an awesome shooter so that is what we are pursuing.

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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