Dallas BEST competition Oct 30,2011 report

Dallas BEST BUGS competition was held at University of Texas at Dallas Gym on Oct 30, 2011.
Competition highlights:

  • About 26 teams competed on week 6. 2 dropped out since demo-day week 5.
  • No systematic connection issues. (College venue, previously checked, previous Vexnet Competitions)
  • About half the robots failed to score any points.
  • Only one team ever opened the door to get cockroaches, and never successfully score them. However, that team was promoted to regionals through the BESTdisplay with the winning engineering notebook, so they have 3 weeks to improve.
    – ie, some private schools tied with title-1 schools.
  • Notebook wildcard round (all non-scoring robots) was won by first team to open the shed door to earn the tiebreaker.
  • Cumulative 8 round qualification high score was about 900.
  • Qual round winner came in second in finals, as lower robots fixed their reliability issues and gained driving practice, and learned to prevent lead team from sniping their flys.
  • Winning robot strategy was to grab flys, use extending arm to drop them in high/medium bins, and add food.
  • 2nd place robot strategy was to score flys into the hard bin, by driving in the narrow slots provided; (looks like they had lots of driving practice!) The robot had laminated wood bat-wings which also served as a counter weight; and a nice paint job.

I was running checkin in, and pit repair debug help station.
Check-in highlights:

  • low weight was 11 pounds, (max limit is 24 pounds)
  • two high weight robots in 21+ pound range, including one of winners
  • Many (6+) robots had lots of trouble fixing themselves to fit into the Crystal Cube of Compliance (cube of shame), including one of the winners. I pointed out that the regional sizing judges are more strict that we are…
  • About 2/3 of teams used EasyC, 1/3 used Robot C.
  • I pointed out programming issues in at least two teams RobotC code.
  • I didn’t find anyone using Simulink. Maybe we should have a Certificate prize or something for “best simulink program”.

Pit-repair details:

  • 2 motors swapped out; one for loose gearbox, one for unknown
  • 2 servos swapped out; (much better than last year)
  • At least 3 Vexnet key pairs swapped out (including demo day)
  • 2 cortex swapped out, failure to reflash, at least one needs new ID number from vex
  • 2+ joysticks swapped out, including demo day
  • At least one robot was demanding way too much from a servo in a gripper application. The resistor wire got hot, but the servo did not burn out. (good!)
  • As usual, I did not get to see much of the finals, since I was busy checking in kits from teams that were not advancing to regionals, and didn’t want to leave a deposit to hold onto their Rkits for promotional purposes.

TEXAS BEST regional competition is at the Garland Event Center in three weeks.