The future of "clone" bots

Now that most of the excitement of the new elimination process has closed I want to talk about the rules around “single robot”.


I’m in favor of this change. I’ve always felt a little sad to see/compete against clone groups. While they are always strong designs, I’ve felt that there may have been some builders/designers that got ignored in the process.

I’m still in favor of sharing designs, iterating on those designs to improve them, never been a fan of roboteers that build a direct copy.

It does create a problem for me with starting new roboteers. I’ve found it’s easier to build a clawbot (or “stretch” in IQ land) to show good build techniques. Most of the time in VRC, the roboteers make huge changes to the clawbot so the design changes. (In IQ they become attached to their robot and the changes are minor. )

But in general I think that this is a really good change.

How does this rule “clarification” help that. They are saying single robot, not single robot design?

I’m sure we all remember picture of ~25 NBN clone bots lined up :slight_smile:

@TriDragon is correct. The first step is to try to be as clear as possible about one organization sharing a robot (not robot design) not being legal.

Some day we will be able to effectively regulate “clone armies”, but right now we are not actually addressing that with the current rule update.

I’d like to see this

probably this thread, scroll down.

I’m not sure if you ever really can w/out over-regulating the teams that use it as a legitimate form of teaching. I like some of the past proposals and what they implemented at Worlds for IQ programming. Giving a quick test to the upper end of the students to prove it was their work. Or at least that they learned it. After all, that’s what we are shooting for as mentors, to have the kids learn.

Jus thoughts

There’s no adequate way of enforcing this rule. Lets say team A from organization foo builds a robot and goes to a competition. Team A then builds a new robot and gives the old one to team B, team B goes to the competition, the inspector suspects that it’s the same robot that he inspected a few weeks ago as team A, but how does he know it’s not a clone? Let me take it a bit further, let’s say the inspector is from organization foo, knows everything going on and is completely fair and unbiased. Now lets say team B swaps out subsystem 1 or 2 with identical parts, by the letter of the rule they are in compliance, but the inspector with some thought decides that they are violating the spirit of rule and uses G1 in conjunction with R1 as reason to not pass them. Now what if team B completely disassembles the robot and using the same parts rebuilds it and brings it to the competition. The inspector thinks that if clones are allowed then perhaps the effort put into building the robot is enough to comply with the spirit of the rule whether or not they comply with the letter of the rule, the inspector isn’t sure but hesitantly decides to pass then. I think this is the point where it starts to break down, applying G1 a different reff/inspector with the same knowledge could have easily come to the conclusion that team B was not in compliance. Two more possible scenarios, let’s say team B takes the robot and decides to modify it some, how much modification does it take to be a different robot? Let’s say they completely tear down, rebuilds using the same parts a nut for nut identical, then make modifications, in the eyes of the GDC is this any different? refs and inspectors need a better way is determining R1 violators than G1, because using G1 two people can come to two different opinions. The lines are blurred between compliance and non-compliance. I am a concrete thinker and believe if I can’t go all the way up to a clear crisp well defined line of a rule, and or have to worry about not being within the spirit of the rule so long as I don’t step pass the line that defines compliance to the letter of the rule, then it’s not a good rule. And these blurred lines don’t even matter if you can’t get pass the issue of not knowing what’s going on behind closed doors

I think the push is towards having the roboteers iterate designs and make things better. I can see your points, and people can always push the line. Paul and I come from a group where “It’s not about the robot” It’s about all the stuff that goes into making and competing the robot. All that science, engineering, math, communications, strategy, iterations, teamwork, etc skills…

Most of my work this year was with IQ teams. As a starter all 40 teams built “Stretch” (the IQ equivalent of the clawobot for this years game). Then we started iterations. Teams would make the wheelbase longer (giving better stability), change out the front two wheels for omni, change out all the wheels for omni, add a motor and an omni to make it an H drive, extend the 4 bar linkage two holes to make it long enough to score on the top horizontal goals, etc. These are all small iteration you can make on the classic “Stretch”. So if I plunk a Stretch down and your robot next to it, I can tell pretty quickly is there any changes. So for our judged events we taught the judges what a standard stretch looked like so they could see the changes.

You can always make improvements to robots. Even the army of clones can all become some mutated version. Remember, build iterations end two hours after worlds end…

Robot inspection could include a photo of the robot taken by the inspector and uploaded to robot events as a part of the tournament database. Many of the issues outlined by @BottomNotch would of course persist, but there would be a record to assess in cases of dispute.