With the threat of a Texas ice storm looming, the Robowranglers feel grateful our Day 10 meeting went on as planned. After a quick "Huddle Up" we split into sub-teams and pressed onwards. Our focus is prototyping, design, and foundational work: the usual trifecta for this part in the season.
Two surprises on Day 10... One related to some testing we did. The other related to some very impressive robots which were unveiled:
Late in the meeting we were running some old drivetrains back and forth doing simulations of match cycles (doing some time trials for scoring analysis estimates). We had a revelation during this process which may dramatically alter the drivetrain design direction and by result may alter the direction of the entire robot.
"Totally change the direction of the robot design you say? No big deal I guess..."
I try not to get worked up about "hey, this thing we learned tonight may make us totally rethink everything" moments. For one thing, we're getting pretty good at totally changing direction. For another thing, 90% of the time these "game changing revelations" don't seem so important after a good night's sleep and some additional analysis & discussion. We'll see which way this one evolves...
The "scabbed together from old batman parts and scrap wood" intake prototype continues to teach us some great lessons. It's mounted to a robot cart from 2012, and the student "driving" the intake-motor rides on the cart while other students push the cart around to simulate a robot picking up cubes. It's pretty funny to watch.
The intake prototype which was CADed on Day 9 is going together great. It wasn't quite complete when the meeting ended. We intend to mount it onto one of our practice robots from last year so we can do "real" on field testing. Maybe this will happen tomorrow? Otherwise the kiddos can do it during robotics class time this week and we'll test it Friday. (Depending on how the ice-storm plays out).
Drivetrain CAD is progressing (assuming the above mentioned revelation doesn't totally torpedo everything). We keep waffling about "how much scraping the corner" is acceptable vs. how much ground-clearance we'd like our drive to have.
My opinion on drivetrain clearance is very straightforward: "Do you know how stupid we're going to look if we get stuck on that corner after I publicly posted about how teams should watch-out for the corner! I'll be soooo grumpy. I mean... grumpier than normal."
These two robots are FANTASTIC!
Kudos to everyone who was involved with either of these projects!
Random Thoughts on the Everybot & WCP MCC:
I hope every team 148 plays with this season could perform like the WCP MCC or Everybot.
Everyone can build the Everybot, right? It's made from $1000 of stuff. It's amazing! Anyone can do it! I hope everyone does it!
- "If only saying it, would make it so..."
- If a team did nothing but copy the Everybot, I predict they'd get picked for an elimination alliance at Championship and be in good position for an Einstein run. Especially if they do 5-weeks of testing and iterative improvement. Especially if they find the resources to build 2 of them and practice like crazy!
- Karthik says...
- So if those are the Simbot Golden Rules... JVN summarizes them as: "Don't design the best robot for this game, design the best robot for this game YOUR TEAM CAN BUILD!"
- Skip the tough tasks. Build an amazing robot at the simple tasks. Do simple things exceptionally well. You WILL be rewarded for it!
- Does this successful robot match your resources? Start here and build on it. Use this as a foundation for your iterations.
- Will this raise the "floor" of the competition? Is there any reason for a team to NOT perform on the field as well as the Everybot or WCP MCC?
- That thing could seed in the top 8 with a little luck. (And don't we all need a little luck? I'd rather be lucky than good, any day).
- They could definitely out-seed the Robowranglers if we're stuck on the bump in most of our matches.
The fact that the Everybot even exists caused the Robowranglers to adjust some of our strategic discussions. We really enjoyed watching the videos Spectrum 3847 posted from an in-season scrimmage that Texas Torque hosted (MCCC, or as we called it on 148: "the MCCCCCCCC"). The Everybot was there, and looks really impressive. Imagine if every alliance had 2 of those, it totally changes the way this game plays.