Too Much Design Collaboration

Agreed, even new ideas are though of by others. I mean, nothing is original, there must be inspiration somewhere

Even true inspiration might be person A getting into person B’s head and having person B put the idea into their own head ;p -inception

if you can take someone’s idea and make it better, I don’t see a single problem with it. When you get to worlds, all the robots are gonna look the same basically, so it really isn’t copying, it’s being smart.

Look at toss up worlds.

what about it? don’t understand ur grammer lolol

At tossup worlds, almost all of the successful robots had the same design.
There were some variations, like scissor lifts instead of 6 bars.

The only really good alternate design that I can think of of the top of my head was 400X’s.

I thought that it would be like that at the start of this season, but it doesn’t seem to be that way at the higher levels.

If well built and executed, all designs seem to be able to do well in NBN.

Forum is funny.

People are dying for a 10 bps reveal video, yet complain about design convergence.

There actually seems to be less design convergence in NbN than Skyrise, which was my first season. With Skyrise, there were 2 jobs, each robot was specialized for one of them, and by Worlds, there were 2 types of lifts; scissor and DR4B. Also, the drives were mostly the same as well. I don’t recall many holonomic drives at Worlds, only 4" omni wheel tank drives This year, we have 4 main types of launchers (single & double flywheel, puncher, and catapult), a few different lift designs (as well as no lift), holonomic and non-holonomic drives, and less specialization.

Honestly, I am not quite sure of the purpose of this thread.
Is it to lament about design convergence or is it about we should not be doing robot reveal?

Like it or not, design convergence will happen. In fact, as pointed out by various people, this is one of those years that we will get to see designs being converged to a few designs (single flywheel, double flywheel, catapult, puncher and hybrid) instead of the usual 1 or 2 common designs.

This issue of design (over)convergence only started during Gateway, whereby the term - efficiency bots becomes the catchphrase.
Back then, NZ showcased their 6-bar lift, and it fascinated the world. Almost every teams started to build their own version of 6-bar.

And since that season, there have been a focus on 2 main approaches in design - efficiency bot (I mean, who wouldn’t want a robot that will guaranteed a minimum level of performance?) or robot that choked the competition (eg, wallbot, descorer, etc).

So this season is definitely an improvement as compared to previous seasons.

As for showing the design to the world so early and taking the step of designing and prototyping out for the inexperienced teams, well… I have 2 things to say…
Firstly, how much do we honestly expect a brand new, w/o prior robotics knowledge team to design or prototype?
There is a thread on parents or coaches being too hands on when come to designing of robots, and now are we also talking about not giving these teams any info or basic knowledge? And expect them to design something out of vacuum?

Secondly… I am sure all those teams who had “copied” or try copying 8059A design will agree - it is one thing to see it on the forum or youtube, it is totally another thing when comes to building a good flywheel on your own. How to reduce friction, how to get the right ratio, how to get the right amount of compression, etc.
And I am not even going into how the intake speed and ball transfer will affect the accuracy as well.

My point is this - there are still so much things you will need to work on and learn, even if you have “copied” 8059A.

As for the question on how are we going to get an edge over teams that have similar design as ours - I can’t answer for the rest, but at least for 8059 (which I had mentioned in another thread), we have never appear in World with the same design as in Singapore Vex. So yes, we deal with this issue by designing and building a even better robot.

PS… On the same token, we deal with the issue of mentors or professional building robots for teams by trying to build a better robot than them.

I gets uncomfortable when I see this coming from you.
I mean, are you the same guy that had been asking questions and being appreciative (on one of the threads) about how that particular thread had helped you and your team?
Or did I mistaken you for someone else? I am confused…

I’m a little divided on this, but i’m going to throw out what I think.

I think it’s okay to share your robot design. I agree with a lot of mengs points here. There is a lot more to a robot then some pictures and some info about its design. I think the problem comes when teams use this info as a step by step building guide for their “efficiency bot”. Which looking at type of questions asked in threads like the 8059 Singapore Vex thread, seems to happen a lot. What does that provide to a new team? Sure building it from scratch and prototyping and designing may not render such an amazing bot. But it teaches everything that copying an online design does not.

On the other hand, I think collaboration on robot designs is of massive benefit to the community. If you see a robot design and I like it, then you draw it up and design it and build it with the ideas in mind, all the more power to you. You are learning things and using the amazing work of others to be inspiration for your robot designs. Maybe your robot might look similar, but its not 8059a, its your design with inspiration from 8059a.

I think I can relate this back to sharing code. Although the analogy is not perfect. If I share my code on the forums and then someone comes along and copy and pastes it into their code changing a few variable names before using it then they have learnt very little. But if they take the time to use the concepts in my code and come to understand them and then write them into their code, even if that written code is very similar, they have learnt much more then copying would have taught them.

I think the other thing we have to realise is that come worlds, anyone with a perfect copy of 8059a is going to get destroyed by another decent team. As meng said, the teams that are releasing these designs are usually the ones who are innovating and building new ideas and concepts for use on their robot. By the time a million 8059a clones are out, they already have a robot that destroys the original robot in every way.

I honestly feel that design convergence is going to happen. It’s basically the evolution of robots: a more effective design is more prevalent. I’m tempted to reveal my robot (knowing it’s not the most effective) but just to spur some ideas besides 8059A’s robot. My robot is the farthest from any flywheel I have seen besides one other robot in my area, and theirs (IMO) is inefficient and sketchy (the parents definitely helped build it). But then again, I’m also worried I will see more of my robot after I reveal. This has already happened in Virginia: There are multiple exact 8059A clones down even to the motor placement and spacing of the axles for the flywheel. I know this though: I don’t usually worry about a clone because they are missing something crucial which was not revealed, and that usually holds true, as most don’t have the code or build quality that the original robot does. And some of the robots just happen to have the same design by dumb luck. 1575A and 929W had almost identical robots (similar to 2Z, but different sizes than the original) at the USPTO competition in Alexandria, but some very different designs ultimately were champions. 177x and 8086A are both single flywheels, one with a front intake, and another with an onmi-directional intake, but both are very optimized. However, the abilities of those robots is very below that of 1575A and 929W in one area, but much higher in another. This is how the evolution of robots works. Better robots make it to worlds (As 1575A did with their Excellence award at that competition). I actually enjoy much of the Design convergence, because the truly innovative people and robots stick out, and I can know the abilities of a clone just by taking a good look at it for strategizing in actual matches versus them in competitions.

Deign convergence is a non issue to me unless in the case of a copy bot. I find it somewhat annoying when sister teams simply build the exact same robot. I don’t see a problem with taking ideas that you see and making them your own though.
Gateway was the year I remember extreme design convergence. especially at US open. It was almost hard and not fun to watch because every match was the same.

From a mentoring standpoint, I’m not so worried about the kids doing well in competitions and getting to Worlds, etc. My focus is exposing them to as many engineering/scientific experiences as possible, and since they have very little experience with machines, etc., I encourage them to observe and steal as many ideas as possible. While working and fretting over all the different things they see on the internet, they are (I hope) creating mental libraries of different gadgetry and applications of physics, etc. that might someday help them build things like medical devices, satellites, etc.

Last year they went through many different designs but in the end, they decided to copy a high performing robot they had seen on YouTube. In their effort to copy that robot, they made mistakes, which forced them to improvise and steal other ideas, which they incorporated into their design to salvage it. When they got to Worlds and examined the robot they had copied (or thought they had copied), they found it actually had some major differences which were not visible on the YouTube video. The whole thing was somewhat comical.

I’m pretty sure that no one looked at 62 or 118 or 2915 last year and said, “hey I want to build something that works poorly.”

Sharing designs is inspirational, and especially for motivated rookie teams, it helps them learn how to do things correctly and think through game strategy better. Convergence is a rather small price to pay for how much students learn from others triumphs and mistakes.

As a mentor of an IQ team, I agree with FullMetalMentor 110%.

I agree with this fully. Especially when it is one of our new teams basically trying to take the easy way out and copy one of our veteran teams… Our school has been known not to show up with the same robots, as our veteran teams have very different ideas

I agree with this conclusion as well. Design convergence is just another way of saying inspiration because when someone sees something cool they want to try it out then why shouldn’t they. Most forum reveals are really just a way of sharing what other people have learned and sharing is caring. My lead mentor once said “Creativity doesn’t mater if you can’t execute your Ideas” which I think shows that no matter where the idea came from what makes teams really good is the way in which they execute their design and build processes.

+50 I cant agree more.

My first year (Toss Up, I was on 323X), I watched Aftershock every meeting and learned a ton. By worlds, we had a fairly similar robot (minus hanging), and I had learned a ton. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to learn so much from an experienced team, I doubt I would still be doing robotics. It is invaluable to have access to mentors who can help you work through tough problems and encourage you along the way.

I deleted one message from this thread for being pointless and rude, and another for having quoted said message.