This year’s finalists for the Online challenges have been released, and I am disappointed at what chosen (and not just because they didn’t pick me). While some of the finalists (like the VEX Linear Actuator) are legitimately innovative and useful, many of them are very basic, not that useful, or copies of designs that have been entered before. Here are some examples:
The Customizable slip gear set (challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/94/entry/6156) was chosen despite being almost identical to the 6 other adjustable slip gears that have been submitted in the last 2 years.
(see challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/58/entry/3425 , challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/58/entry/3547 , challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/58/entry/3943 ,
and challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/94/entry/6510 )
The Universal Ratchet and Pawl Mechanism (challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/94/entry/5978) is very similar to the 11 other ratchet and pawl mechanisms that have been submitted to online challenges.
(see challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/94/entry/6227 ,
challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/94/entry/6317 , challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/94/entry/6325 ,
and challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/48/entry/2709 ,
The VEX 90-degree C-channel Coupler submitted this year:
is almost the same as this part that was submitted in 2017:
The Vex Snap-In License Plate Holder (challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/94/entry/5919)
seems to be a slightly upgraded version of the VEX licence Plate Holster (challenges.robotevents.com/challenge/58/entry/4010) that won 3rd place in 2017.
The way finalists have been selected seems wrong. Many of the entries that were chosen were not that special or creative, and some of the best ones got left out. Some teams (including mine) spent many hours coming up with the kind of original inventions the challenge is trying to encourage, only to lose to someone who made a small change to a design that won last time. The contest is meant to encourage students to learn about CAD software in order to invent something, but some of the top contenders were made with relatively little CAD skill, or just unoriginal. To clarify, I am not not trying to bash any of the entrants, but I am frustrated with the Judges’ decisions.