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  • Second robots being used for higher levels

    Just a note that the rule in Game Manual 1, T 7 c. seems unenforceable. A few teams mention on social media that they build second robots to use at higher qualifiers and higher tournaments. I don't know if they are aware of that rule, but it should be included on the Inspection Forms that the robot they are bringing is the only one being used at all tournaments, otherwise what's the point. Just my 2 cents. A few teams are using that tactic going to world's from what I've seen.

  • #2
    That's not what that rule says.
    c. It is against this rule to register and attend concurrent tournaments with a second Robot

    concurrent - existing, happening, or done at the same time.

    You cannot go to two tournaments happening at the same time.

    A better argument would be T7 itself -

    Each registered Team may enter only one Robot (a Robot built to play the current season challenge) into the FIRST Tech Challenge competition.
    It is expected that Teams will make changes to their Robot throughout the season and at competitions.


    But then you could argue any piece transferred from the original robot to the second makes the second actually a modification of the originally entered robot.
    Last edited by 3805Mentor; 02-01-2019, 10:06 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 3805Mentor View Post
      That's not what that rule says.
      c. It is against this rule to register and attend concurrent tournaments with a second Robot

      concurrent - existing, happening, or done at the same time.

      You cannot go to two tournaments happening at the same time.

      A better argument would be T7 itself -

      Each registered Team may enter only one Robot (a Robot built to play the current season challenge) into the FIRST Tech Challenge competition.
      It is expected that Teams will make changes to their Robot throughout the season and at competitions.


      But then you could argue any piece transferred from the original robot to the second makes the second actually a modification of the originally entered robot.
      The whole concept is confusing, but now I think we understand. Thanks for elaborating. It should be a little more detailed in the game manual for newbies, other parents on my team were also confused.
      Last edited by FTC6041; 02-04-2019, 10:34 PM.

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      • #4
        This might be a good question to post to the official Game Q&A forum.

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        • #5
          As a clear newbie, and a coach still looking forward to our first competition next year, I'd like to ask what is the purpose of this rule in the first place? If a team goes to a competition, decides that their robot design is complete foo, and redesigns it and rebuilds it from the wheels up before their next competition, where is the harm? I feel like I would want to congratulate the team, especially if they do better.

          FLL doesn't have a comparable rule, if that matters.

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          • #6
            From our experience (in FTC at least) the thinking on this rule (while not official) seems to be related to advancement. As an example... If you win your regional and advance to worlds, the same robot you advance with should be the robot you compete with at the next level, with some understandable iteration along the way. Showing up at the next level of competition with a totally different robot begs the question if the "new" robot would have advanced in the first place. Just our two cents, certainly a game forum question if you need official clarification.
            Michael P Clark
            Founding Mentor, FTC 9958
            http://www.redfishrobotics.com
            "We're Hooked on FIRST"

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            • #7
              I think you are reading too much into the rule. I think it is OK to build a whole new robot during the season. I think you can build a new one even if you qualified with another one. Read the 4 specifically prohibited actions. None of them say you cannot take a different robot to a different tournament. It is logistically possible to attend two tournaments on the same day, but prohibited by this rule. If you can split into 2 teams with 2 robots, then register both teams. But everything in this part of the forum is just some peon's opinion.

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              • #8
                There is no rule that says teams may not build more than one robot in a season. If there were such a rule, it would be unenforceable. Teams may build as many robots as the team desires during the season. Teams may build multiple robots concurrently subject to the <T7> restrictions. A team can enter any one of their robots into any given tournament.

                Further, teams may bring to a tournament replacements of major components or assemblies on their robot such that if those major components or assemblies on the robot break down during the tournament, they can be replaced between matches. However, per <T7> a team cannot replace the entire robot with an exact replica during a tournament.
                Last edited by Alec; 02-06-2019, 12:24 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JoAnn View Post
                  This might be a good question to post to the official Game Q&A forum.
                  I did, will post the reply. I don't think it can be enforced to only have one robot, but that's how some of the parents on my team and I first interpreted that rule, was only one could be used, even if teams had other practice robots. FLL allows multiple robots to be used in different rounds. The FTC reply from the game committee surprised me, I don't believe it can be enforced at all except for the day of the event. And trying to define a robot is too easy to find loopholes. The rule is confusing, and was just giving feedback.

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                  • #10
                    Here is the Answer from the Game Committee in official Q & A

                    Originally posted by FTC6041

                    Subject: Competing with Two Robots

                    Q: In Game Manual 1, rule T7 c says a second robot cannot be used at concurrent tournaments, however we've seen teams discussing online using second robots at their next level events and at world's. Is this the correct reading of that rule, that teams cannot build a second robot that improves on the one they use at earlier competition events? That is my team's understanding.


                    A:
                    Your interpretation of the rule is correct. Teams should use one robot during the season and make changes to the robot during the season as needed/appropriate.

                    This is Post #10. (copy and past the link)
                    https://ftcforum.usfirst.org/forum/tech-challenge-rover-ruckus-presented-by-qualcomm/tournament-rules-ab/answers-tournament-rules-ab/65362-tournament-rules-answers



                    My feedback is this rule is confusing, should be elaborated on with examples, or gotten rid of. And it should be expected that teams will have multiple robots if their budget and time allows, and maybe only allowing the one per event day is reasonable. Teams are already using multiple robots at different qualifiers and tournaments, so it will only stop others from trying, might as well level the playing field as much as possible and allow teams that freedom. Otherwise make teams sign on the Inspection Form that's their only official competition robot and if they lie, then that's on them and anti-GP.
                    Last edited by FTC6041; 02-07-2019, 03:20 PM.

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                    • #11
                      teams cannot build a second robot that improves on the one they use at earlier competition events


                      The ruling prohibiting building multiple robots for use at different tournaments is really disconcerting. As mentioned, it seems nearly impossible to enforce, but also seems rather pointless. Is there a significant difference between building a second robot and simply iterating on - or radically changing - a first? I know that last year my team had multiple robots throughout the season for different levels of competition, and we used previous robots to demonstrate tangible visualization of our season's progression. It was nice to show judges how and why our design evolved, and using an actual robot instead of pictures or simply words was a good way to convey what our old design was like and why it ended up being altered. Could we have just fundamentally changed our first robot to embrace a new design? Probably. However, doing so begs the question about how significant a change is considered to be a whole new robot. If one mechanism is removed, is that fine? Two? There is no obvious place to draw the line, and there doesn't seem to be a substantial difference between building a second robot and altering only one. Having multiple robots also allows teams to bring the old design to outreach events, whereas only having one for the duration of the season means it is constantly being modified and that it is not necessarily in a usable state. What about creating just a drivetrain with which programmers can practice while the actual robot is being built? I'm also concerned that this change is being made far into the competition season when many teams have already made a second robot. This interpretation of T7 seems an incredibly impactful and fundamental change to the rules that could easily have tremendous impace.

                      Also, rule T7 looks unfinished. It ends with "Violations of this rule will immediately be considered egregious and a deliberate violation of the rule." There is no description of the result of deliberately violating the rule, which seems important considering the new interpretation used by the GDC means that many teams are likely to do so or have already inadvertently done so.
                      Lead programmer for team 6287, Vertigo

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                      • #12
                        As a coach, I agree with all of the above concerns.
                        I interpret, as I believe most do, the spirit of rule T7 to prevent a team from trying to do two things at once, e.g. compete twice on the same day, or have a "backup" robot so that if one fails during Match 1 they can swap it for another during Match 2, and so on.
                        However not allowing multiple robots over a season is plain crazy, and in many ways is in direct opposition to the way engineering often works. People build a prototype and test it. If it fails - you redesign and build another. And in many cases you KEEP the old one to put on display to show your progression, or more importantly to teach others of their failures.

                        As mentioned above, we as a team keep our prior robots around as long as possible SPECIFICALLY to use for outreach demos and such... sometimes which overlap wit ha run to States and such.
                        Forcing us to keep only 1 physical robot literally means cutting out those events. We also keep the failures to show incoming students what the progression was, and how iterative the engineering process can be.

                        And, the question of what constitutes a second robot, vs an iteration of the first, is subjective at best. For those of us who are hobbyist car buffs, this reminds me of cases of a complete teardown restoration where 90% of an old rustbucket car is replaced because as you go through it, you find more and more parts needing replacement... is it a new car when the frame is replaced? The firewall? Every state DMV has a different take on this.
                        So if after comp 1, the students realize the whole design is bad, and they literally disassemble everything and reassemble differently - are they in violation?
                        My feedback is that the GDC should spend some time considering exactly what the spirit of this rule is, explain it fully, and adjust the ruling accordingly.

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                        • #13
                          I would like to add that everyone please consider that the teams very badly want to Do The Right Thing. If it is decided that this rule is important and that it needs to stay, teams will follow the rule. In which case it will be extremely important that the rule be clearly explained using tangible and measurable criteria. Such as "a robot can have two rev expansion hubs and up to four motors", a rule like this needs to say "The rev expansion hub serial number(s) shall be recorded in the engineering notebook and physically stamped on all structural pieces over 10cm" and "screws under 5cm may be transferred to/from the robot throughout the season without penalty". I hope this makes it clear how hard it will be write a rule like this. Also, the rule needs to address what the penalty will be for teams that inadvertently (or on purpose for that matter) break the rule. If a team shows up, and the robot identification volunteer decides that the robot has changed too much and is no longer considered the same robot, will they be prevented from competing?

                          I think RatLabGuy is spot on. The GDC needs to verbalize the spirit and intent of this rule. Explain why the rule is needed and I'll bet we can even help you write the rule to cover it.

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                          • #14
                            Another thing to consider is some teams don't use tetrix or actobotics and they rather machine parts, so modifying their robot can require completely changing their base since everything is integrated into their base. The rule needs to be readjusted to fit all possibilities of robots, not just actobotics, tetrix and REV robots.

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                            • #15
                              GDC: Teams should use one robot during the season and make changes to the robot during the season as needed/appropriate.

                              What this GDC ruling means essentially is that teams are prohibited to start work on a new robot unless and until they have completely dismantled the current robot and deleted all the CAD files of the current robot. Then and only then can a team begin prototyping, CADing, and/or assembling a new robot. Violating this rule is considered egregious.

                              Should a team decide that one of their older robots is better than their current robot, it is perfectly legal for the team to go back to an older robot provided their current robot is completely dismantled before work begins on reconstituting an older robot.

                              It seems to me that the only tournament officials that are in a position to enforce this rule are officials that have access to teams' engineering notebooks, namely the judges. Teams that are participating in tournaments this weekend need to be aware that judges will be combing through your engineering notebooks in search of violations of this rule. Judges will be assessing <T1> egregious behavior penalties for each violation of the rule.
                              Last edited by Alec; 02-09-2019, 12:00 AM.

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