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 Future of Battlebots in Our Area

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jtm94
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PostSubject: Future of Battlebots in Our Area   Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:45 am

Figured I'd add in a bump to the old team thread, though I'm the only team member left with an account, except Brandon wherever he lurks.
I'm not a fan of what goes on around here in the robotics world. It seems as though any progress that a team may manage in a year or two is usually lost or just purely forsaken. I hope some people can ignite a spark in the hobby, but I don't think I could foresee this happening. Inevitably, even the good teams will fall from grace. This saddens me to realize that the only reason this "thing" persists, is to facilitate the advertising of engineering/machinist careers, instead of also serving to advance battlebots as a whole.

I know my school only has one more student with actual interest left and after next year I predict that robotics here will either flop or drag out painstakingly.

I think one of the main problems is that botsiq doesn't market itself. It is affiliated with education, but that doesn't mean they couldn't charge admission for those who attend the only two fights a year we have in order to fund real arenas and the materials to make them better. I think we should have more than two competitions a year, maybe have up to 4 with cumulative scoring systems to evaluate a winner. 2 competitions a year seems so anti-climactic and such a waste for all of the money to be put into these robots in order to fight, and then spend all of this time not fighting, specifically at the beginning of the year and the end of the year.

I see nothing wrong with even having 2 tournaments, 4 comps at the beginning of the year for robots that survived the previous year, and 4 comps for robots solely created/re-created that year.

After the prelims and fighting only once I get so fired up to do everything, then finals comes and I'm ready to innovate all these new ideas, and it just stagnates and goes to waste.

I envy the teams in areas where they can participate in multiple events, because here we have nothing short of traveling and booking a hotel.

I also note that I do not have any knowledge of how funding for BotsIQ comes about or most anything that I talk about, but I do know that I love to build and fight robots, not just build robots, and I don't want that passion to die out.

Mr. P, I know you're reading this...
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rdubard
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PostSubject: Re: Future of Battlebots in Our Area   Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:45 am

Part of a rant I made on the "Robotics Community" Facebook group not long ago:

"No one needs to explain to a parent or spectator who wins and who loses in a Battlebot match--something you simply cannot say about FIRST or VEX. The challenges in Battlebots are not contrived, not manipulated by someones idea about what you should and should not experience, but as genuine, as authentic, as real-world as it gets. The student designs it, from the ground up. The student builds it. The student competes it. The student repairs it. Eliminate the 'destructive' nature of it, and it becomes fake, boring, and less educational. And that's the way I see it."

I agree that FIRST and VEX have, in many ways, more learning opportunities. I also know that people find them boring (once they've seen a battlebot match). I also know that the money issues still come up in VEX and FIRST, and that the degree of adult influence on the robots is MUCH greater in those two than Battlebots.

None of which changes the problems in BotsIQ, etc.
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jtm94
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PostSubject: Re: Future of Battlebots in Our Area   Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:35 pm

I agree with Alex that there are many other programs that do seem like they would have taught me a lot more, but they would have been a hell of a lot more boring.
We could barely get our rag tag group at my school for battlebots! Make it building robots that aren't made to destroy and no one is interested.

If you try, you can take a lot from battlebot building, if no knowledge is gained, then experience is at least. The only time the program is flawed is when neither knowledge or experience is gained and the loss of interest is increased, as is occurring with BotsIQ.

I also agree that BotsIQ has gone about things the wrong way. In order to force education they tried to implement the "binder" and stress its importance by placing a lump sum of points on it. It not only failed as only 3 to 4 schools did a worthy binder, but in my opinion drove people away. Now, instead of building a robot and making a binder, teams send a robot sketch out, have people build it for them, and make a binder based on a robot they don't have any hands-on experience with.

Our first year we made several mock-ups and designed it, then had it sent out and welded. We knew why we did what we did. now I see people send out rough ideas and the robot takes the shape of the machine shop's dream, not the kids. If that's what this should be about then the competitions should be held between separate shops, not schools.

The biggest issue is that we need to aggregate interest in the sport/hobby to keep it alive. the potential is there, it just isn't being harvested.

Another agreement that I can make is that BotsIQ made it's rules as if NO OTHER COMPETITIONS ALREADY EXISTED. 15lb?? No lipo?? Maybe they didn't want already built robots fighting in our comp? The reasoning is so skewed.
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rdubard
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PostSubject: Re: Future of Battlebots in Our Area   Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:21 pm

No LiPo is a North East thing. Here in the sunny south we set them batteries afire!!! What I mean is that the BotsIQ 'National' competition has allowed LiPos for at least the past two years.

I do think the 15lb/12lb disparity it just plain odd. I like 15, but if 12 was pre-existing, I don't see the point.
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jtm94
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PostSubject: Re: Future of Battlebots in Our Area   Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:50 pm

I like 15lb just because it is what we are accustomed to, and 12lb now seems so much lighter that I don't know if I could do it.
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Cody
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PostSubject: Re: Future of Battlebots in Our Area   Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:15 pm

I just skimmed through cause it's sunny and there's a glare on my phone so I can't really see
The resources are out there for these boys but knowledge is very limited. BotsIQ sets every team up with an industry advisor which is great for the machine aspect but knowing how to design a bot is another story not to mention the electronics.
They send many teams in blindly to have there bots blown up basically.
The sad part I that I've voluteered several tines to go an talk to these teams but botsIQ never pulled through on there end. I was even offered an internship from penn state new ken to help with botsIQ but never got te support from bots iq even after an enthusiastic response at first
IMO there are plenty of things they could change or do but they seem to like the way things are going. Now that plum/Alex is out the competition might be a little more fair who knows I've shyer away know

Sorry for spelling mistakes I can barely see what my screen say haha
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jtm94
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PostSubject: Re: Future of Battlebots in Our Area   Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:26 pm

That's the worst.
I've been thinking about going through similar things. I really like talking to new teams and helping them along, but clearly BotsIQ doesn't want that to happen.
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