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  • Judge Knowledge

    How much knowledge do the judges typically have about engineering and programming concepts? For both the judging presentation and the engineering notebook, should we assume that the judges have never heard of things like a rack and pinion system, the Vuforia software, the Expansion Hub, and linear slides and spend time introducing them to these concepts? Should we assume that the judges have a basic understanding of engineering, but are not familiar with more FTC specific things like Vuforia, the Expansion Hub, or Anderson Power Poles? Or should we assume that the judges are knowledgable about these things and not waste time in the presentation and space in the notebook explaining them?

  • #2
    Our opinion (YMMV) is to approach the engineering notebook and presentation as if our audience (the judges) are "cold readers" and may not have a lot of FIRST experience, especially in the areas of FIRST specific jargon.

    In our experience, we've had judges who were FIRST alumni and could write books on FIRST robotics (one did), to Aerospace Engineers at NASA, to middle school English Teachers. At your local events you may know (or at least recognize) the judges and adjust accordingly, however, as you progress to regionals and/or worlds, you're much more likely to see a team of judges you don't know, and as such not want to risk talking over their heads.

    That's just our experience, others may likely have more specific examples and/or varying advice.
    Michael P Clark
    Founding Mentor, FTC 9958
    http://www.redfishrobotics.com
    "We're Hooked on FIRST"

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    • #3
      It could be good to explain a little bit about the mechanics and why they are advantageous to your teams' strategy and design. If it interests the judges, they will ask questions about those things. Redfish Robotics seems to have summed up very well our experience, too. We've also had a few young judges (college students) who didn't know anything about FIRST, but usually they are teamed up with a veteran judge.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Noah View Post
        How much knowledge do the judges typically have about engineering and programming concepts? For both the judging presentation and the engineering notebook, should we assume that the judges have never heard of things like a rack and pinion system, the Vuforia software, the Expansion Hub, and linear slides and spend time introducing them to these concepts? Should we assume that the judges have a basic understanding of engineering, but are not familiar with more FTC specific things like Vuforia, the Expansion Hub, or Anderson Power Poles? Or should we assume that the judges are knowledgable about these things and not waste time in the presentation and space in the notebook explaining them?


        Hi Noah,

        While the FIRST Tech Challenge Engineering Notebook isn't exactly the same as what someone in the industry might use, you still should probably consider that the real world purpose for a notebook is to provide a map to your design, so another person can follow your documentation and arrive at the same solution that your team has arrived at. I'd avoid jargon, if you can, and don't assume that the Judges are engineers. You'll meet professionals from many other fields in the Judging room as well. Write for them, too.

        JoAnn

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