Too Much Design Collaboration

There’s a difference between straight up copying a robot and receiving inspiration from another team’s idea. For those of you guys complaining about how robot reveals basically “give the answers” to other teams, I don’t know how you first got involved in competitive robotics, or what your first exposure to engineering was. But I can tell you that for kids and people (and college students who have no prior experience), robot reveals empower people brand-new to robotics and gives them a starting point to jump-start their ideas. For experienced competitors, reveal videos are like a benchmark, always raising the bar on the competition, fueling ideas to improve efficiency

You guys want a copy bot? Just go back to VEX Clean Sweep when 254’s bot got copied part for part, sensor for sensor. THAT is straight up copying.

On the other end of the thought process…a couple of our college-student mentors quick-built a nice impulse shooter from VEX IQ parts one evening for bank shot…and one of our middle-school VEX EDR teams liked the idea, but was afraid that by building the same thing (an impulse shooter) for NBN he would be penalized for copying another persons idea. We assured him that adapting ideas and concepts would be fine…

It’s not really feasible to penalise a team for copying, because it’s not able to be proven. You can never know where a team has copied from or if they just had the same ideas as another team.

But we all know who the teams are who are being copied. If we are serious about stopping copying then these teams need to be punished!

This might seem unfair to some people, but fairness is an imperfect heuristic that doesn’t always lead to the best outcome (or as some would say, “life’s not fair”). Punishing teams for being copied would force teams not to share their ideas which would end copying by cutting off the supply of copiable information.

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Not sure if I am getting this right… you are talking about punishing teams that were being copied? And not the teams that are copying? wow…

I’m assuming this is sarcasm.

Its one of the classic problems of people copying tests. For the people copying it’s difficult to make the punishment reasonable enough while still making the cost benefit work out to be negative for them. The chance of being caught is relatively low and the gain can be quite high. The people who were copied have an easier cost benefit to mess with. Roughly any punishment is enough to make people not want to be copied. You just have to remember that punishments are designed to stop an action not truly to right some cosmic wrong with another.

Not sure if this approach is a good in this scenario but it would do a lot towards stopping future wide spread copying. I just don’t want to stop copying.

It is just not workable.
So does that means that every time I go for a competition, I will need to change to another robot (coz there will be teams that have copied the previous robot)?

And how are you going to stop people from copying your robot? Especially once it has appear in a competition? It is not your fault for showing the robot in the competition… but you are penalise because someone else has copied your design… really doesn’t sound right at all.

And how is this penalty going to be carried out? In the next competition? If team A has their robot copied by others after Competition #1, then team A will be punished in Competition #2 ??

So this whole idea is not right and it is not feasible as well.

You know what, I change my mind. I think it doesn’t really matter if you take an original idea. Think of this. A steamboat did not exist until someone took a steam engine off a train (an original idea) , and took a normal boat (another original idea). Put three things together and you’ve got something new. And you can not copyright your robot…

Tbh I think intentional “design collaboration” has enough punishment inherently to whatever conscience the team may have, as well as the “collaborating” team’s chances of getting qualitative awards such as design, judges’, excellence, etc.

That said, there is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from the designs of parts of another, perhaps more experienced, team. Outright, blatant copying is sketchy territory - but it should not be penalized.

I saw a reveal about a robot with a flywheel. I build a flywheel launcher. Used a mech drive. Spinning wheel intake. NONE of these ideas are original. Still, did I do anything wrong? No, unless it is a DIRECT COPY, then I think that nothing wrong is happening

It’s like the original flywheels, which were inspired by baseball and football training devices. Teams took those concepts and implemented them in their robots. The only difference now is that teams are taking concepts from other robots rather than another source. My stance on design convergence is that while directly copying other robots is not okay, other robots are a source of inspiration; using ideas and concepts borrowed from another team is fine, so long as the robot is not directly copied.

The way I see it, without design convergence the level of competition will never be as high as if teams from all over the world share their ideas with each other and build off of them. I believe the point of reveals is so other teams can see novel ideas and not only incorporate them onto their robot, but also to improve upon them. Once they share the improved design, the original robot can also improve upon it. The cycle continues…

Of course, there is a difference between design convergence and complete copying, as many other posts have mentioned. It always upsets a team to see another team use their ideas almost exactly and claim it as their own design.

Just a funny note: even if you copy another robot screw for screw it probably won’t work the same. I’ve seen it happen on multiple occasions. Whether it’s the code or the programming or just the tuning, the robot will never work as well as the original.

I guess what upsets the thread starter is that teams are copying parts by parts.
eg. the exact gear ratio and the construction of the gear box and flywheel, etc (which was very evident in the 8059A thread).

Our original intention and also our stance has always been the same - use our gear ratio or specs as a guide, and then fine tune it or make it better on your own.

Yes… there is always that 5% that the copier didnt realise :stuck_out_tongue:

What’s the fuss? I’ve seen teams who can’t even copy their own design properly!

Anyway, when it comes to the copy question, I tend to think of kids as being in two groups: those who do Vex and those who don’t. The way I see it, whether the kids copy or not, they are getting their nose into these devices and getting their hands on something in the material world (for a change!). Even the “mindless” process of rote copying can help kids learn far, far more than the kids who never do Vex (or anything like Vex). As has been mentioned already, the mere process of copying isn’t easy, nor does it always result in an optimal machine.

One of my builder kids has told me that his “life’s ambition” in Vex is to someday come up with an original design that everyone else will copy and go viral. I think maybe some of the social friction with copying might be relieved if teams would merely acknowledge where they got some of their basic ideas. And judges need to be informed that such stealing/acknowledgement is perfectly fine in Vex. In fact, if judges see that a local team is being copied by a number of local lesser teams, that fact could be factored into decisions like the Design award, etc. I tell my kids to acknowledge where they get their ideas and unashamedly list those teams in their notebook, but I know the kids have also told me that some of the judges scowl when they see the kids took ideas from things on the internet, etc. But training for judges is another topic.

My team still gets a laugh out of our first season. The judges came over to talk to the team and asked where they came up with the design idea. One of the team members blurted out “we stole if from the Chinese!”

After a little coaching, we came up with a better response: We did “research” by looking at youtube videos. One of the Chinese robots looked like a good idea, so we used the concept.

I’ve deleted one post from this thread for being pointless.

Let me guess you didn’t win any design award from my me of your members saying that. :stuck_out_tongue: