7682 Toss Up Programming skills

Here’s the 7682 robot’s programming skills run from NZ Nationals 2014.
It’s fully autonomous (no repositioning)!

Unfortunately, it missed the last large ball, otherwise it would have been 68 points.

Also, here are the finals matches 1 & 2. Final 1 7682E + 7682. Final 2 7682 + 2919M

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these guys blow me away. I have never been a programmer, to turn text into a physical action by the robot is complete wizardry to me. For that reason I cannot begin to comprehend how much time was put into programming this routine. Well done for probably the best programming skills I have seen for a few years. I’ll see you guys at Worlds.

I’m sure we will see even greater things from both of you in the future.

You really did an amazing job programming your autonomous in the skills runs :slight_smile: I was also blown away with your match autonomous runs. Glad I was able to compete with you at the nationals, it was a wonderful competition!


That is one of the fastest X-Drives I have ever seen, and that programming skills…:eek:

That is a great run! Keep up the awesome work and hope to meet you at Worlds!

That is absolutely incredible. Using the bump to align is ingenious.

Picking up buckles off the bump with a holonomic drive is impressive! I never would have thought of that:)

That is supremely impressive! I love that X drive and unconventional stashing method. The fact that there was no repositioning done makes the programming that much more excellent, and I love the bump straddle/align/ pick up maneuver… Awesome job guys!!

That drive is physically Jesus. I can’t wait to see you guys at Worlds.

Well done, looking forward in seeing you at worlds! =)

What I especially like is the benefits of the arm system. true, it becomes a bit harder to de-score the 6th bucky ball, but it opens up opportunities to create a 2-3 bucky ball de-scorer, speed up bucky ball scoring, and speed up large ball dumping

but geez, a fast X drive that could even push other robots

if the intake was spinning, it may increase the chances of knocking that last large ball

Thanks for all the kind words everyone. @DracoTheDragon You’ve spotted exactly where this unconventional lift was heading - descore. We figured it wasn’t required for NZ Nationals and we also removed the hanging latch (pneumatic) because we had other strategies to counter a 20pt swing.

Sadly 7682 although qualified via programming skills will not be at worlds. I was pretty disappointed to miss on every single technical award at NZ Nationals and to be honest technical achievement is why I do this in the first place.

My younger brother Ethan 7682E, who outranked me again, is going to St Louis for FLL at the FIRST Championship. Ironically he also qualified (out ranking me yet again) for an FTC slot so we might just have Wingus & Dingus a little further East this time.

Looking forward to seeing next season’s VEX game!

Hi Shaun

You did miss out on the technical awards, but they are someones opinion and they should not be the measure you use for technical achievement. What you have learned, how you have applied this and how well you and Ethan conducted yourselves was clearly demonstrated to your peers at Nationals and is evident to those that follow the VEX forum. For this you have earned great respect and this is worth more than a trophy gathering dust on a shelf. :slight_smile:


I second this. It was a great programming skills run and I enjoyed your online challenge entry about motors and how to stop PTCs tripping. Ask me to name some top teams in VEX and you would definitely be amongst them.

I would advise you not to take a lack of awards at Nationals too hard. The judges are very important people to Kiwibots, but most of them aren’t people who are intimately familiar with individual teams or with VRC. Many of them are sponsors without whom Kiwibots couldn’t hold these sorts of events, and many are experts or leaders in their fields, so they share the STEM education values that Kiwibots holds and they can bring an industry perspective. They’ve all done a lot to deserve our respect.

However, judges only see the teams for a day or so before they decide. You know from judging FLL Nationals how little information judges sometimes have to work with when making decisions. It’s inevitable that sometimes mistakes will be made. The error rate could be reduced by putting people on the judging panel who know the competition and have seen the teams compete throughout the season, but no awards process is perfect. Awards will never be a perfect indication of reality or of the opinion of Kiwibots.

On top of that, Kiwibots have been open about their idiosyncrasies when considering judged awards. One is that they value teamwork very highly. In their view the bare minimum a team must do to exhibit teamwork is to have more than one student per robot. Another is that when awarding the excellence award, they place extremely high value on the work a team does to expand the VEX program in their community. This is a departure from the way Appendix D suggests Excellence be awarded, but the RECF doesn’t require event partners to follow procedure when giving out awards in the same way they’re required to follow procedure when running matches. Personally I think awards should be standardised across all events so that teams have stationary targets to aim for, but that’s not the decision RECF has made.

You have a lot to be proud of. There’s less variance in picks than there is in qualification rankings, and your position as 1st pick on alliance #2 puts you somewhere between the second and fourth individual team in the competition. You set a programming skills score that wasn’t just globally competitive, it came close to being the world record. You had (in my personal opinion) the best match autonomous at the event. All of this against strong opposition, in your second season.

It’s a pity the community won’t have the pleasure of seeing you compete at Worlds, but it’s understandable that there are only so many international robotics trips one family can make. Good luck next season, and good luck with FTC if you compete.

IMO having a more diverse range of experts, some with intimate knowledge about the platform and a holistic view of the season, would benefit both teams and the judging panel. Locking all the ex-VEX competitors / university students out of the judging process is a mistake. We’re well in tune with judging processes as you know! Having to submit an engineering notebook 2 weeks beforehand was pretty odd since a lot happens over that short period of panic driven activity. I don’t know if teams I mentor will bother with the Design Award if that’s something KiwiBots plan to continue. Design notebooks are important of course.

Personally I find it hard to believe a World Championship “gateway” event isn’t required to follow standardized judging processes. In both FLL and FTC at this “gateway” level adherence to standards is required. Without an Excellence/Design award at another event you are automatically ineligible at the World Championship, and I can understand why from a logistics perspective, however that too is a little odd especially since award distribution at “gateway” events may have other motivations. Maybe I’ll compose an official Q&A about this next season.
I did explain to the boys their chances being in award contention would probably be reduced if they split into 2 teams but Ethan was adamant he wanted to drive and ultimately I believe giving him that opportunity was more important than some pieces of metal. It was quite amusing watching a 10 year old win matches against senior students with facial hair (no disrespect of course!) and outrank his older brother with the prototype robot.

I think the biggest disappointment here is VEX WC and FTC WC occurring at the same time. It’s a real killer for both teams and volunteers, without whom the events don’t exist. Last year I talked with some volunteers who were at both VEX and FIRST events. Obviously there’s more to it behind the scenes and us mere mortals will just trust those in charge really are doing the right things.

Confirming there will be a Wingus & Dingus FTC team (7440) in St Louis next month. The build is more FRC like given it’s ended up being 6 weeks duration but a little time pressure never hurt anyone.


I have no idea how you can consider a judging panel made up of a University professor (who started VEX in New Zealand) a university lecturer who now leads the Massey VEX program, a Technology teacher and a University Head of Engineering are not a " diverse range of experts, some with intimate knowledge about the platform and a holistic view of the season" How can you say that we were “locking all the ex-VEX competitors / university students out of the judging process is a mistake”. By having expert judges we are avoiding any chance of favouritism and possible accusations of bias.

I certainaly hope you will persuade you son that the Design Award is worth persuing in the future.

The judging process for the Design award was very well advertised to all of the teams in New Zealand by blog and, in addition, by private email to you. We very carefully pointed out to all of the NZ teams that the design notebook that comes with the welcome packs was an excellent example of what we considered to be a great starting point and gave examples how real engineers kept design diaries/notebooks.

As you well know we asked for the design notebooks two weeks before the nationals in order to be able to carefully read each and every one of them and discuss them. We believe that it is only right to give them the consideration they deserve as the students have put a whole season’s effort into them. We stated that we are interested in the design process not the design panic so the last two weeks were not relevant no matter how much last minute work was put in.

You say that " Personally I find it hard to believe a World Championship “gateway” event isn’t required to follow standardized judging processes. In both FLL and FTC at this “gateway” level adherence to standards is required." well in NZ we like to exceed that standard and lead the way. I am personally glad we are not FLL or FTC.

I have no idea what you mean by ‘other motivations’?

I know I should not say it but the team that won the design award stood head and shoulders above the other design award entries and we will be publishing their design notebook after the World Championships. I am sure you will then agree that we got it right when you see it.

The biggest disappointment from my perspective is that your son whoi would almost certainly have won the Programming Skills Challenge at the World Championships is not going to be there. His programming skills are legendary and, in case you did not know it, certainly got the attention of New Zealand’s biggest software company.

Great work! Was there anything special that you did to your x drive to get such great performance? what sensors did you use to center on the bump or was it just done by hitting the bump and going a specific distance from there?


The engineering work done to get the x drive to do what it did was/is impressive. Perhaps they will publish their design to the community if we beg enough :slight_smile:

Make no mistake I am not questioning the level of expertise here, I just think you’d be best served having people more directly involved with VEX throughout the season partner up with some of these experts during judging. Sometimes there might be a direct link but conflict of interest declarations and abstention during deliberations isn’t uncommon. Think of it as mentoring the mentors.

Your motivations are understood Chris. What isn’t clear is how NZ can be different from the rest of the world, and in fact the VRC World Championship event itself. One week before the NZ Nationals event was the first time we’d heard of the 8min presentation requirement, which to be honest was near impossible to find time for in amongst school work and other preparations for the event itself. Although it would be nice to think robotics is a year round activity the reality is students don’t work on it all the time and often there are compressed work periods including the last 2 weeks.

Absolutely I agree the 2013 and 2014 design awards went to the most deserving team and from the verbal description given at the event this year it’s obvious why. In no way am I questioning this and wish the team luck in Anaheim because it does sound like world class work.

Read emails and blogs esp 3rd Dec interviews have always been notified as has time.