Copied YouTube robots

I am a coach of a middle school IQ team. This weekend we had our regional tournament and world qualifier. I was shocked to see the number of teams that came out of nowhere with a copied YouTube robot. If you are one of these teams, you might as well have had an adult design it for you or ordered it off of Amazon. You are missing the entire point of the robotics program. You may have won a trophy but that’s all you got out of it.


I’m a fan of ppl copying robots as long as they put their own spin on it. I don’t really see the problem you have with it, they are just trying to improve their robot.


i get what your saying here. You really didnt do anything, just basically copy and pasted. i will make an exception though, for the people who get ideas from robots and implement them on to their own. i feel as if like you have a bot that can contain 2 to 3 goals and you got the idea off of youtube but you modified it to have a X drive and a hook on the back that you came with yourself (this is all hypothetical) i feel as its ok. you didnt just copy, you modified.


btw we didnt do this. our bot looks like no other bot ( or at least i havent seen one like ours :laughing:)

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There is a reason it is called a “meta.” I copied the idea of using a four bar for tipping point but put my own spin on it. In the end they are just trying to have fun and learn new things. I mean isn’t that what robotics is about?


I understand your concerns tho


and for new teams, you dont have any expirience building, nor did you have a previous robot to go off of. i mean, where else can you get your ideas. They are kinda smart, tbh because they go on youtube to look at bots that work. the ones actually winning competitions.


I bet people would be less upset if you helped ref an event and got ideas from there. I heard there was a rule against searching in YouTube, but haven’t seen anything similar since.

I’m not making any point about the current topic, but the only official source for all rules pertaining to the game would be found in the game manual, supplemented by the official Q&A. If you are going to cite a rule, please cite the game manual or official Q&A, otherwise, it’s just hearsay and not helpful to the discussion.


Our sister teams basically copied us and another one of our sister teams. One had a ring bot that I thought had serious potential but instead of improving on it, they just scrapped it and made a lighter version of ours. That’s what I don’t like about vex, how people are ok with just doing what other people do.


Coping is very common, here in Georgia many teams had influence from us. Our design was really good and our influence was from Ben Lipper. We did some mods after that but that is our design now, You can copy. Nothing is wrong with it, just make sure you have your own mods on the robot.


see i your case, you had a sister team, who im guessing didnt have as much exprience as you, but since you have more exprience, they could ask you for help. people who are new and dont have a more exprienced sister team, they dont have really any place but VEX forum robot showcases and youtube to go off of ( and the 1 bot vex releases the instructions to each year)

There’s a saying that goes “steal from the best, work out the rest” now if it’s just a step by step copy then that’s just kinda lazy but the teams copy other teams because it’s a smart design and it works well.


Actually… we were fairly inexperienced too. I’m a “first year” (I was kinda an intern for half of last year), my teammate is a first year, and then the other two have been in robotics for two and three years respectively. Wouldve been one and two at the time of the game really. The other group had one who’s had three years, then two with two years (at least), then one first year.

And “If I have been able to see farther than others, it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” from Issac Newton

I send teams out to look at Youtube, the Lipperverse, past HeroBots, etc. to get ideas. I don’t want to see exact copies, I want to see their spin on what they saw and incorporated in their design. Much as I want to see changes in the basic Fling robot (reminder we are in an IQ forum) .

Just want to make sure that we are on the same page. What do you think the point of the program is?

The guidance around copies is to stop the clone army where all the robots from one club are clones. I’ve seen this in action where the only difference is the color of the rubber bands.

On the other hand, what is the reaction to a field full of Fling robots? Designed by an adult engineer.


Vex is for teaching kids engineering. When they grow up and if they try to become engineers, they will have learned that copying others ideas are fair game. If they cannot use their own logic and think and build by themselves, vex is useless as a teaching tool. Why teach people plagarism? The patent office exists when people come into real life.

Learn that plagarism is the solution to all of their problems?

Normally with robot reveals, the teams don’t make it easy for the students to copy the designs. The kids will make a video of the robot will typically show as much of the functionality with as little of the magic as possible. For example, they will show that it can high hang, but do so from a weird angle so you can’t exactly see how it is done. This is pretty typical of robot reveals.

This year we had high preforming bots come out very early in the year that were posted to YouTube by non competitors, or “adults” as far as the manual goes. These videos had close up shots of all parts of the robot at high definition. These was no attempt to hide any of the magic, and in fact there were shots of the bottom of the robot as well.

Given what have seen this season, it’s clear that these adults have influenced a lot of student designs.

For those of you that have only done VRC and not VEX IQ, copying existing designs in IQ is MUCH easier because there is essentially no modification of parts. You can’t make slip gears, there’s no non-shattering plastics… It’s just want comes in the kits. Count some holes and you have a bot.


But i have a question. is it plagarism if you use your own words (make your own modifications on a base you copied the idea of?

Oh, let me tell you about the world of programming. 100’s of libraries to choose from that let you snap entire systems together like my grand munchkin does Legos. Even VEX does this, there are dozens of black box code that manages things. Did teams use the drivebase code? There is lots of behind the scenes things that goes on around the width and length (wheel base & track distance) computations to get the turns to work. Should teams stop doing that?

I’ll let someone else delve into StackOverflow.

Electronic Chip design is a very limited art. It’s cheaper / faster / easier to stuff a microprocessor into a product and just program it. You would be impressed with the shear number of microprocessors in pretty mundane products.

But if you are up for making your own chip, Program Logic Arrays are a pretty easy way to go, but again there are dozens of library components to slap in. Um CPU here, UART there, USB device over here and an LED driver and I’m done.

But the design is a small part. All of the testing, communications, documentation, etc still needs to happen. So there is still learning that goes on that is valuable. Even the design part of what microprocessor to pick and what libraries to use is a valuable skill.